Reading Recommendations: The Red Scarf, a novel, Kate Furnivall.
Davinsky Labor Camp, Siberia, 1933: They worked her like a slave, and almost starved her to death. Only two things in this wretched place kept Sofia alive: the prospect of one day walking free again, and the stories told by her friend Anna of a charmed childhood in Petrograd filled with parties and pearls, and of her fervent young love for a passionate revolutionary, Vasily.
After a perilous escape, Sofia endures months of hardship, and the echo of her footsteps her only companion. But, clinging to a promise she made to Anna, she sets out to track down Vasily. In a remote village where she's nursed to health by a Gypsy family, she finds more than refuge, she also finds Mikhail Pashin, who, she is certain, is Vasily in disguise. She cannot stop herself from falling in love with him, but he belongs to Anna.
After coming this far, Sofia is tantalizingly close to freedom, family, even a future. All that stands in her way is the secret past that could endanger everything she has come to hold dear.
A real page turner! A great piece of historical fiction!
And, The Drifter's Wheel, A Fever Devilin Novel, Phillip DePoy.
Fever Devilin, a folklorist both by trade and inclination spent years mired in that pit of despair known as "academia". Now, finally unable to bear it anymore (and frankly, the college was getting a bit tired of him as well), Fever has returned to his hometown in the Georgia Appalachians seeking peace of mind and a bit of quiet. But oddness follows Fever wherever he goes, and the town of Blue Mountain is no different.
One day, a seemingly young man shows up at fever's house, claiming to be more than a hundred years old and perhaps equally as disquieting, waving a gun while making his claims. Then, before the sheriff arrives, he disappears again, leaving no real sign of his passing. Early the following morning, a corpse fitting the description of the vagrant is found by the side of the road, apparently shot to death. But while the clothes worn by the corpse are the same clothes the mysterious stranger was wearing the previous day, the corpse is of a different, equally unknown person. Now Blue Mountain is plaqued with one corpse, two mysterious figures, a murderer on the loose, and a most perplexing conundrum that Fever must unravel before death comes to his own doorstep.
And, A Country Called Home, Kim Barnes.
It is 1960 when Thomas Deracotte and his pregnant wife, Helen, abandon a guaranteed future in uppercrust Connecticut and take off for a utopian adventure in the Idaho wilderness. They buy a farm sight unseen and find the buildings collapsed, the fields in ruins. But they have a tent, a river full of fish, and acres overgrown and edible berries and dandelion greens. Helen learns to make coffee over a fire as they set about rebuilding the house. Though Thomas discovers he can't wield a hammer or an ax, there is a local boy, Manny, a sweet soul of eighteen without a family of his own, who agrees to manage the fields in exchange for room and board. Their optimism and desire carry them through the early days.
But the sudden, frightening birth of Thomas and Helen's daughter, Elise, changes something deep inside their marriage. And then, in the aftermath of a tragic accident in which only Manny bears witness, suspicion, anger, and regret come to haunt this shattered family. It is a legacy Elise will inherit and struggle with, until she ultimately finds a hope of her own.
In this extraordinary novel, Kim Barnes reminds us of what it means to be young and in love, to what lengths people will go to to escape loneliness, and the redemption found in family.
See you at Rylander!