Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Book Review - The Crooked Path by Irma Joubert

Book Synopsis
Lettie has always felt different from and overshadowed by the women around her– this friend is richer, that friend is more beautiful, those friends are closer. Still, she doesn’t let this hold her back. She works hard to apply her mind, trying to compensate for her perceived lack of beauty with diligent academic work and a successful career as a doctor. She learns to treasure her friendships, but she still wonders if any man will ever return her interest.

Marco’s experiences in the second world war have robbed him of love and health. When winters in his native Italy prove dangerous to his health even after the war has ended, he moves to South Africa to be with his brother, husband to one of Lettie’s best friends. Marco is Lettie’s first patient, and their relationship grows as she aids him on the road back to restored health.

In the company of beloved characters from The Child of the River, Marco and Lettie find a happiness that neither of them thought possible. With that joy comes pain and loss, but Lettie learns that life—while perhaps a crooked path—is always a journey worth taking.

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My Review
The Crooked Path begins in 1938.  This historical fiction novel tells the story of Lettie, who grows up in South Africa.  As a young woman she feels insecure about her looks and spends her time and energy pursuing a medical degree.  

Marco grows up a world away in Italy.  As World War II threatens his village, he goes to live in a mountain cave with the young Jewish girl he loves and her family.  After the tragic events of the war, he ends up moving to South Africa for his health and to be near his brother.  Lettie and Marco's paths cross and their story begins.

This is such a beautifully told story, a saga of friends and love and family that spans decades, from the 1930's onward.  I sometimes find that dual storyline novels have a slower pace and momentum, but that was not the case in The Crooked Path.   I could not put this book down and read eagerly to see what would happen with these characters.

And the characters!  They are beautifully told.  I especially liked Lettie, who was so strong and brave.  I really wanted her to find and keep happiness.

I love the motif of "the crooked path" that runs through this book.  For instance:

"Years ago my mom told me life sometimes leads you along a strange crooked path, but in the end it will always take you where you're supposed to be" (p. 224).


"Even a crooked path has a starting point" (p. 290).

This novel was published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian publisher.  I like the way faith was handled subtly, as part of Lettie and Marco's daily life and strength.

I believe this is the first novel I have ever read set in South Africa, and I found it utterly fascinating.  I loved the details of life and times gone by presented in this book.

I highly recommend The Crooked Path for anyone who enjoys historical fiction.   It is a beautifully told and richly rewarding book.

Author Bio
International bestselling author Irma Joubert was a history teacher for 35 years before she began writing. Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and rich historical detail. She’s 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.

Connect with Irma on Facebook.

I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours.