In Search of Staszewski
This is a fascinating look in to the struggles and suffering that took place in Poland before, during, and after WWII. It begins with the author’s desire to find out more of his family’s history following the death of his father. He begins his search by visiting family members in Poland, where he gradually uncovers a brutal history of invasion (by both Germany and Russia), imprisonment, starvation, torture, and, for many, death. It becomes clear why his father was so reluctant to talk about his early life.
Along the way, the author discovers family members he didn’t even know he had, and he make some wonderful new friends. Though this book is non-fiction, it reads like fiction. It is written in such a compelling way, it draws you in to this family’s life and struggles. I enjoyed following Mr. Fedzin on his journeys in to the past.
The only thing I didn’t like about the book is that he gets in to a lot of the historical details of the war itself – military strategies, government manipulations, etc. I much prefer to read the personal stories of any war, rather than strategic details. For a war/history buff, though, there is much information that would be of interest.
All in all, it is a powerfully moving story about the plight of Poland at the hands of the Germans and Russians, and a wonderful history of one family’s struggle to survive and overcome adversity. Well done!
A Whisper Of Smoke by Angela Hoke, CreateSpace Publishing, 2013
This is absolutely one of the best books I’ve ever read, which is why I’ve chosen it to be my first book review.
This coming of age story takes place in 1960s Kentucky, where young Susannah is learning how to balance the burdens of her unconventional family, school, puberty, and her newly recognized feelings for Calvin, the boy next door.
While the story does have some humorous moments, it is a deeply moving story of friendship, love, and loss of innocence. It is the story of two families intertwined and two young people experiencing the unforgettable exhilaration of first love. Their little corner of the world seems untouched by events taking place around them, until Calvin is sent of to fight in the Vietnam war.
Loyalties are questioned, love is tested, and familial bonds are stretched to the limits. This emotional and heart-stirring novel reminds us of the complexities that come with any relationship, whether it involves family, friendship, or romantic love. There is always a price to pay.
Angela is a wonderful writer who paints vivid word pictures in every scene. Her characters are wonderfully poetic portraits with many layers. A Whisper of Smoke is her first published novel. I, for one, look forward to more from her.
The Kindle copy of A Whisper of Smoke is on sale now at Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/A-Whisper-Smoke-Angela-Hoke/dp/149210969X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1391732559&sr=8-1anghokaut-20
Also available in print form. You can get a signed copy and find out more information on the author’s web page here: http://www.angelahokeauthor.com/about-a-whisper-of-smoke.html