Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Review: Child Of The River by Irma Joubert

Publishers Description

Child Of The River is riveting!
A compelling coming of age story with an unlikely and utterly memorable heroine, Child of the River is a timeless tale of heartbreak and triumph set in South Africa at the dawn of apartheid.

Persomi is young, white, and poor, born the middle child of illiterate sharecroppers on the prosperous Fourie farm in the South African Bushveld. Persomi’s world is extraordinarily small. She has never been to the local village and spends her days absorbed in the rhythms of the natural world around her, escaping the brutality and squalor of her family home through the newspapers and books passed down to her from the main house and through her walks in the nearby mountains.

Persomi’s close relationship with her older brother Gerbrand and her fragile friendship with Boelie Fourie—heir to the Fourie farm and fortune—are her lifeline and her only connection to the outside world. When Gerbrand leaves the farm to fight on the side of the Anglos in WWII and Boelie joins an underground network of Boer nationalists, Persomi’s isolated world is blown wide open. But as her very small world falls apart, bigger dreams become open to her—dreams of an education, a profession, a native country that values justice and equality, and of love. As Persomi navigates the changing world around her—the tragedies of war and the devastating racial strife of her homeland—she finally discovers who she truly is, where she belongs, and why her life—and every life—matters.

The English language publication of Child of the River solidifies Irma Joubert as a unique and powerful voice in historical fiction.

International bestselling author IRMA JOUBERT was a history teacher for 35 years before she began writing fiction. Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and rich historical detail. She is the author of eight novels and a regular fixture on bestseller lists in The Netherlands and in her native South Africa. She is the winner of the 2010 ATKV Prize for Romance Novels.


My Personal Review

Child Of The River by Irma Joubert and published by Thomas Nelson (HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc) is a wonderful story of perseverance and hope. The author, Irma Joubert has published eight novels to date, one of which I have read (The Girl From The Train) and thoroughly enjoyed. The author's writing is extremely detailed and historically accurate as she uses events from the past to create a canvas for intriguing storylines and endearing characters.

Child Of The River is laid out in an easy to follow format complete with a very helpful glossary of African terms in the beginning and ending with discussion questions at the conclusion of the book. The main character, Persomi's narration is flawless as the reader travels with her throughout three decades of her life. She is raised in a very rundown South African home located in the bushveld. Persomi is surrounded by poverty, dysfunctional family relationships, and conflict. Despite these uncontrollable circumstances, and in fact probably because of them, she manages to become an intelligent, empathetic woman with a strong conviction of the sanctity of life. Her personality draws the reader into her heart of emotions and intelligent logic. Found within the pages of this work are beautiful descriptions of the natural beauty of Persomi's homeland. 

I was not only entertained by this novel, but as with any good historical fiction book, I learned from it. I had no prior knowledge of the post World War II time period as it related to the political climate in South Africa. My eyes were certainly opened to a country in civil unrest and cultural division that was brought about by the segregation of non-European and nonwhite people. Several of the legislative acts that were used to advance this social system, that is referred to as the Apartheid, are seamlessly woven into the action of the story. 

Child Of The River is a riveting book that stirs a compassion and understanding for the delicate balance of the human heart and demands attention to the uniqueness of each life. It draws attention to a time, not so very long ago, when racial tension led to decisions that had devastating consequences. This book has much to offer in terms of educating the reader about the past, present and future. It is definitely a book that I would highly recommend to all readers, but especially those with a special interest in history and sociology. 

Thank you to Thomas Nelson (HarperCollins Christian Publishing Inc.) for this review copy of Child Of The River by Irma Joubert. I was not required to write a favorable review, but to simply give an honest opinion of the book.  

 

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