Friday, July 13, 2012

I fell in love with Jerome Peterson's Latest novel as I read...

English: Andrew Peterson Farmstead in Waconia,...
"Jonas failed in telling his deceased mother. He also failed in telling his sister about his dream of buying a farm in America. Weeks melted into spring. The day finally arrived. Jonas received his long-awaited letter. He knew it was the letter because at the end of the return address, printed in bold, brave letters, was USA. Jonas stared at the envelope as if it were divinely sent and he was the prophet who awaited prostrate before golden tablets that would toughen his feet and light his path. He kissed the envelope several times before bolting across the street to find Antoine, who was the only one he knew that could read English. Antoine was busy fine tuning a business suit for a rich Polish aristocrat. He was studying the garment closely when Jonas shoved the important envelope in his face...
"HA! That is it my friend! That letter you have read is the beginning of a dream come true. I can see me out in the fields plowing. I can hear the cows mooing and chickens cackling. Antoine, I can almost smell the dirt of America!" Jonas brought both of his hands to his nostrils and inhaled...
"Have you told Evelina?"
"The truth of the matter was that Jonas had nothing under control. He definitely wasn't looking forward to telling his sister..."

English: Andrew Peterson Farmstead in Waconia, Minnesota, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Leaving Family Behind




By Jerome Peterson






After reading The Haunting of Andrew Sharpai by Peterson, I didn't know what to expect when asked to review his latest. Indeed this historical literary novel was surprising even within the book itself as the story evolved! By the time I had finished, honestly, I did a search on the main female character's name to see if she really lived. That's how much she had become so real to me! But who knows, somewhere at some time, another young girl did exactly what Evelina did! If you enjoy historical novels, this one gets my highest recommendation... Let me tell you a little about it...

There was much that brought fond memories of my past to me...perhaps the same will be true for many readers...

The story begins in Lithuania where we meet the Violettskus family. For generations the family had been farmers, except for this one. Father had taken up furniture making and Jonas had been taught and worked with him. When Evelina was old enough, which was early teens, she was sent to apply for a job at a nearby home who hired servants.

The family life was hard, but was it because the father had become so withdrawn and cold? Evelina was grateful for the opportunity to walk to the house where she was to be hired and along the way, she enjoyed the sounds of the birds and other noises which routinely surrounds us. Soon she was singing, humming along and in her mind creating complementary songs!

The woman who owned the house in which she worked was a concert pianist. Evelina had never heard a piano so she was immediately drawn when she heard the sound for the first time...

Fortunately, Irena was a kind and good woman and soon she had made arrangements to start teaching Evelina--quickly discovering she was a prodigy!

Also, fortunately, Evelina's mother spoke up against her husband to ensure her daughter had this chance. Evelina was soon giving concerts and also was given a scholarship for college...

She was never able to go...

Her parents died; her brother finally told her of his own dream to go to America and return to the farming life of his family... She was 17 and underage. Everything she tried failed to allow her to follow her dreams while Jonas followed his to America. Nothing worked, especially because Jonas knew he needed her to go with him and was just as stubborn as their father when he wouldn't give in.

The next part is an event in itself--learning and seeing how most of our early immigrants paid $25 to board a ship, live on the bottom floor near the engine room, on cots, with inadequate ventilation, restrooms and other facilities. The detail of this voyage is dramatically presented and a young female stowaway adds a poignancy that highlights the plight of lone women...This was a special learning experience for me, realizing what it took to come to America, maybe only a few steps higher than conditions of those brought over as slaves...

Ahhhh, but once in America, I began to love Evelina as a sister or daughter...I was so proud of her. I will only say that when she finally was 18, she began playing music--as one of a group called the Black Diamonds. And the ending was perfect!

Needless to say, I highly recommend you consider Leaving Family Behind!


GABixlerReviews

Check my review of Peterson's first book...
http://gabixlerreviews-bookreadersheaven.blogspot.com/2010/05/review-haunting-of-andrew-sharpai.html#



Jerome Peterson is the author of Thumb Flagging and The Haunting of Andrew Sharpai. He lives in Sonora, California, with his wife, Carolyn, and is working on his next novel. For more information, visit the author’s website:www.jeromejohnpeterson.com.
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