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 experience 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.
I have read every book written by Irma Joubert that has been translated into English. I am a big fan. My thoughts regarding this book:
What I liked:
Relatable heroines. Joubert always manages to write wonderful heroines. They are strong and smart and from the first page you will find yourself invested in their story. Lettie is no different. Having read other books by the author I had come across Lettie before and it was nice to be in her head. She has real insecurities that are completely relatable and yet she works so hard to be successful. She is kind and smart and thoughtful and easy to root for.
History. This book takes place during WW2 (and just after) in Europe and in South Africa. While I have some familiarity with Europe during WW2, I don’t have as much with South Africa. Knowing so little about South Africa, I found everything about it fascinating.
Secondary characters. It’s probably because I’ve read other books with these characters, but I found myself so curious about everyone and the different relationships between them. I rejoiced when they rejoiced and cried when they cried.
Romance. Joubert writes romances that heartfelt and deep and have such a way of sneaking up on you.
Spiritually, I will admit the characters have a tendency to come off as religious, but they do pray and attend church.
What I didn’t Like
Pacing. The pacing in this book felt a bit off. It was slow when I thought it should have been fast and fast when I wanted to tell it to slow down. This book scanned decades. I had no problem with that I just was so confused by some of the decades she chose to focus on and the ones she chose to speed through.
Romantic Scale: 8
Overall, while this wasn’t my favorite book by Joubert (that would be The Girl From the Train), I was glad to read it and will continue to read anything she writes (that’s translated to English!).
** I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**