After a few lackluster reads and putting down two books in a row, I really needed something good. I settled on Euphoria despite it not being something I would usually be interested in. Nell Stone and her husband Fen are anthropologists studying tribes in New Guinea. After they come back to civilization battered and failing to connect with their last tribe, they meet Andrew Bankson, a fellow anthropologist who instantly connects with them. This strong link between Nell, Fen, and Bankson both helps and hurts everyone involved.
It took me some time to get into this novel. That may be because I had such trouble with the things I had been reading lately. However, once I did get into the book, I had a hard time putting it down. The tribal New Guinea setting for a historical romance was an interesting choice, but I think it worked. There was a good mix of anthropological events and romance. I would not say I was blown away by the romantic connection between characters, but it was believable. If it were any more “sappy” I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much! I think I could have been a little more invested in the outcome of the love triangle if the characters were just a touch more fleshed out. Still, they were pretty realistic with many believable reactions and expansive lives that went beyond the plot of the novel.
This isn’t just a romance either. The parts centering on anthropology and society were interesting. The novel brought up some intricacies of human nature and relationships that I haven’t seen explored before, but I do not think it gets overly philosophical. The novel left me questioning if any of it was based on a true story. Were the tribes mentioned real? If not, Lily King did a great job of coming up with cultural elements for each tribe. I definitely plan on doing a little research on the inspiration behind Euphoria and I’d be interested to find other novels in a similar vein… just maybe not another romance. Four out of five stars!