This is the story of Maria and Teodor Mykolayenko's journey to Canada as Ukrainian immigrants trying to start a new life away from the terrors of their home country. Upon their arrival, the beauty and magic of the land sweep them away...promising both riches and land for those willing to seek them. Setting up a homestead on an acquired piece of land, promise and hope were their constant companions....that is until the price to keep their living standards reasonable becomes too high and their dreams are ripped from under their feet. Told to vacant the land and all that it holds, the family would eventually starve, ceasing to see another sunrise. Teodor had no intention of sentencing his family to a slow death and so steals a load of the precious grain to aid in rebuilding their shattered dreams. Alas, theft is punishable in any society and he is sent off to prison for 2 years to pay for his crimes. Upon his return from this dark abyss, his family is waiting, hoping and praying for his safety as well as their own. Little do they know how much their prayers are needed.....
I found the story both beautiful and tragic all at the same time. You can honestly see that the characters love each other, but the ways in which it is expressed become twisted under the influence of others and material things. The land connects them all as it is their means of survival. Without it, they perish; with it, they squabble amongst themselves as they all try to claim more than their fair share. The story is believable; the characters created from both the heart's joy and utmost despair. The ending, sad enough to bring tears to your eyes.
With the praise and glory must come critical analysis as well....sorry but my blog IS about what I thought of the book, not just a cover story on the next big thing! The writing style itself is what irked me the most. This review is about a book. The book has not been released. It will be released this year. (Don't worry, I'm not having spasms nor is my blog being hacked...this is to prove a point.) The sentences are very short and choppy (like the last set). Also there is a little too much used in the way of describing things. For example, almost one page is dedicated to a gentleman picking up a spoon to sip soup. Far be it from me to tell anyone how to write, but I'm afraid not everyone has the attention span to last through a few sections within these pages.
Now, don't turn your back on this title entirely as just because it was not my own personal favorite cup of tea, does not mean it has no merit! I will definitely admit that when I started the book I was hard pressed to keep reading (look back at my critical analysis if you are wondering why), however, by the story's end I was glad that I stuck with it as the twists and turns hidden between the pages drew you in to the final conclusion. The release date (at the time of this post) is early September 2009. If you like stories of survival, or even novels historical in nature, look for this book's arrival in a store near you!
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Until next time....happy reading!