The Game of Love and Death – Martha Brockenbrough


Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now… Henry and Flora.

For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.

Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?

Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured—a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.

The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Achingly romantic and brilliantly imagined, The Game of Love and Deathis a love story you will never forget.


This was a heavy one. It felt weighty and meaningful, and the prose was gorgeous.

For whatever reason, I never really got into it. I felt oddly detached, like a spectator in a sport (a rather fitting analogy, in this case). The personification of love and death was fascinating. For that, and a multitude of other reasons, this story was unique. Setting this story to the 1930’s—when everything was shrouded in despair and social divides swallowed these people whole—felt resolutely correct. There’s nothing quite like finding love in a hopeless place (thanks Rihanna).

I don’t know if this love story measured up to that of Helen and Paris, Romeo and Juliet, or Cleopatra and Antony. Perhaps this story tries to show the beauty in ordinary, everyday love that defies all odds. How “someday” is both a whisper and a promise. Maybe this story wants you to see the good within the worst, most despised, and inevitable part of life.

This story is a journey, that’s for sure. My one qualm? WHAT became of Ethan?! Please tell us that he got a chance to see the world today.

Related Reading

  • The History of Love – Nicole Krauss
  • The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Rating: 2/5 (This one wasn’t for me, but maybe it fits you like a glove)


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