Some novels are unevenly written. While the story may be compelling, the background reads like a text book. Or the setting and background are riveting and the characters are not well developed. The Elephant of Belfast is one such book. The history is informative and well done, the flow of the story not so much. You may have surmised by now, that I love to read historical fiction. As debate rages about what is appropriate historical material to teach in the classroom, this genre can provide a wide open window to slices of history that may be new to you. To badly paraphrase a quote from author Pam Jenoff (The Orphan Tale, The Lost Girls of Paris, Code Name: Sapphire): history is not a list of facts and dates, it is the choices people make when their lives are at risk. How true that is.