Author: Irma Joubert
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
Another fantastic, yet emotionally gripping story set in South Africa during World War II and beyond.
Lettie Louw is the daughter of one of the town’s only physicians. As such, she was also friends with the daughter of one of the only lawyers in town as well. Sure she had other friends too, but as they grow older, she realizes that she doesn’t have their hair or their figures. Even so, she has always had a crush on her friend Klara’s brother De Wet. However, one night she says another friend Annabel and De Wet kissing and resolves that she will not succumb to her emotions and throws herself into her studies. Upon graduating with a medical degree like her father’s, she returns home to join his practice and live her life her way.
Marco Romanelli is the a scholar who has no interest in politics, until he meets Rachael Rosenweiz. Italy in the late 1930s has suddenly become a fearful place for all Jews, including Rachael and her family. As Hitler spreads his hatred across Europe, Mussolini is right behind him. Marco realizes that he must find a safe place for Rachael and her family, but all the borders to safety are closing, so they must head into the mountains. But winters in Northern Italy can be just as severe as a concentration camp and Marco endures much more than he can handle or bear. Eventually his health becomes severe and he decides to relocate to South Africa where his brother Antonio has gone. While there, he meets a young doctor that begins to change his perspective on life.
As always, this book in an incredible excerpt of historical fiction from a time period that I love in an area that I’m beginning to feel like I understand more with each Joubert novel that I have read. What made this even more enjoyable were the intertwining characters between this book and Child of the River. It was such a treat getting to see the other side of conversations that happened in the other book with a fresh perspective to give even more life to several of the characters, both good and bad. I also enjoyed that part of the book actually continued the story of Child of the River as it played out even further.
I must warn you, this book is very emotionally taxing. If dealing with lost loves wasn’t enough, now she has brought childhood polio into the mix, making it even more difficult. Even so, I would read this book another twenty times because it is just that good. The way she balances historical advances and events with the characters is simply wonderful. I cannot get enough of her writing. My synopsis are pretty generic, but once you’ve read it, I’m sure you will see why I wanted you to read this book in the first place.
Highly recommended for historical fiction lovers and to those who just love a good book!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.