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Child of the River ~ Review

Child of the River
By Irma Joubert

I finished reading Irma Joubert's The Crooked Path and decided I had to read the Child of the River to which is referenced as sharing the story of Persomi and Boelie. Well, what could I do but pick up this book and learn more about these characters? And I was not disappointed - reading the book in an afternoon.

This book is one that has several parts that focus on different stages of Persomi Pieterse's life. Her childhood which was a struggle to rise above the social station she found herself in while dealing with a less than ideal family life (talk major dysfunctional issues). Through hard work, Persomi managed to work her way through high learning while forming friendships that would be with her for life. Then her adult years are shared and her fight for what she feels is right while trying to determine whom she really is.

This short synopsis sounds boring right - but this story is anything but boring. Growing up in South Africa is anything but boring. And during this time the world finds itself in yet another world conflict. A conflict which South Africa should not be caught up in due the geographic location but Persomi's older brother Gerbrand has joined the military to fight with the Allies in the hopes of improving his situation in life. Her friend Boelie is determined to keep South Africa for those who are Afrikaner descent. But Persomi is of the opinion that war and discrimination are wrong. These feelings along with her childhood help her determine her chosen profession - a lawyer.

But standing up for right in the face of laws that try to keep people down based on their skin color or the country of their ancestry is a fight that seems impossible. But impossible has never stopped Persomi and she is determined to prove that everyone has an intrinsic worth.

In this volatile environment with its strict and unbending beliefs can she hope to find the love she seeks? Or will the secrets and scars of the past keep her separated from those whom she calls friend?

This book covers approximately 30 years from the late 1930s to the late 1960s. Unlike Irma Joubert's other two books The Girl From the Train and The Crooked Path, the story stays centered in South Africa. I found the story both moving and interesting. The historical aspects are interesting and the author's attention to detail is excellent. I highly recommend reading all three of these books you will not regret the time spent getting to know this land and the people who call it home.

About the Book:

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.

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