Not Knowing by Donna Dechen Birdwell #BookReview #RBRT @donnadechen

Cover: Not Knowing
by Donna Dechen Birdwell

The author sent me an ARC of this book (mobi format) in exchange for an honest review (member of Rosie’s Book Review Team).

My rating:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (4 stars)

(by Goodreads)

When Meg was a little girl, Abuela María predicted she would travel to the moon.

Now she’s an archaeologist digging up Mayan ruins in Belize while trying to keep her own past buried beneath hard work and professional responsibility. It isn’t working. The summer of 2022 seems destined to push all of Meg’s buttons—her deep-seated aversion to marijuana and guns and the unwanted presence of a boy who reminds her of a certain horrific summer in Mexico. Digging deeper only unearths more questions. And then her husband buys a lottery ticket for the first tourist flight to the moon. What Meg doesn’t want to know may yet be her redemption.

Genre(s): > Contemporary Women’s Fiction
> Contemporary Women Fiction
> Contemporary Literature & Fiction
Series: n.a.
Length: 327 pages
Release date: 2019-07-20


I drifted easily to sleep. It was good sleep but somewhere near morning, I began to dream. At first it was just one of those dreams of childhood, being in the old home place, catching the aromas from the kitchen – bread baking, chicken frying – and then playing hide-and-seek with my big brother among the bins and bushes of our neighborhood without fences. But then it shifted.

My Opinion

This book focuses on archaeologist Meg Fitzellen, spending her summer at ‘her’ Mayan ruin site in Belize; for her, digging in ancient history is more pleasant than reminders of her own past. Insights and Belizean events still have an influence on her after returning home to Texas.

With “Not Knowing”, Donna Dechen Birdwell has created a nicely developing and intense story about Meg Fitzellen. The story comprises a variety of characters with sufficient depth, interesting turns, archaelogical knowledge, and has a good flow. I was drawn into the story right away, close to Meg and Seth; captivated by what their story had to offer. I had a good time reading “Not Knowing” – also a great source of food for thought.

“Not Knowing” may be categorised ‘Contemporary Women’s Fiction’ – it offers a lot more. I enjoyed the human touch, the dreams, as well as the little mysteries; a story not easily forgotten.

This is for you if you like female protagonists, stories that let you follow along and inspire your own train of thoughts, as well as books you would like to read again.


In brief:

Cover ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (4 stars)
Writing ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (4 stars)
Plot ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (4 stars)
Characters ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (4 stars)
Mood Suspenseful
Pace Steady
POV Mainly: First person – past tense
In dreams: first person – present tense
Ending – present tense
Language :mrgreen:  (few mild swearwords)
Violence :mrgreen: – 😳  (some violence in retrospective)
Sexual content :mrgreen:  (some mentions without details)


About the author

Donna Dechen Birdwell is creator of a haunting dystopian 22nd-century world in her RECALL CHRONICLES, which began with Way of the Serpent in 2015. Her writing is informed by a lifetime as a student of humanity and her travels to many countries, several of which (Belize, Ireland, Nepal) have become her “homes away from home”.  Donna is convinced that storytelling is one of our most powerful social mechanisms, imagination our most precious human trait.

Before anthropology, Donna was a journalist, and beyond anthropology she became an artist and photographer. As an artist, she is largely self-taught and her work has been primarily in acrylics on handmade Nepali lokta paper. She maintained an art studio in East Austin for a number of years, participating in EAST Austin Studio Tours from 2011 through 2014. Her primary photographic interest is in Miksang comtemplative photography.

Donna’s paintings and photographs have been displayed at ASmith photographic gallery in Johnson City, Austin Bergstrom International Airport (February 15 – May 20, 2014), Glovinsky Gallery in Denver, CO, Dragonfly Gallery (Austin), Gallery Black Lagoon (Austin), The Art Studio Inc. (Beaumont), and Frederick Gallery (Fredericksburg, VA). Her work was included in St. Louis Women’s Caucus for Art catalog of “Contemporary Women Artists XVI: Longevity.”

Donna holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Southern Methodist University and previously taught at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.

Connect with the author:

Amazon:  Donna Dechen Birdwell
Buy links:

Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading.  Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you?  What did you think about “Not Knowing”?  Or – if you did not yet read “Not Knowing” – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂







4 thoughts on “Not Knowing by Donna Dechen Birdwell #BookReview #RBRT @donnadechen

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