Tag Archives: Irma Joubert

September Book Club Selections

1 Sep

Big news this month!

First, By The Book is celebrating its 15th Anniversary! Woo hoo! We will be reading a novel by South African author, Irma Joubert, titled Child of The River. I read and loved The Girl from The Train and am excited to dig into this book.

Second, Page Turners is combining Bible study and book club for the next three months in what we are calling The Faith And Fiction Study. In September we are studying the story of Samson and Delilah from Judges 13-16 and reading Delilah: Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt. I am very much looking forward to this combo of my two favorite things — fiction and the Bible.

Check out both of our selections!

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.

 

Life is not easy in Philistia, especially not for a woman and child alone. When beautiful, wounded Delilah finds herself begging for food to survive, she resolves that she will find a way to defeat all the men who have taken advantage of her. She will overcome the roadblocks life has set before her, and she will find riches and victory for herself.

When she meets a legendary man called Samson, she senses that in him lies the means for her victory. By winning, seducing, and betraying the hero of the Hebrews, she will attain a position of national prominence. After all, she is beautiful, she is charming, and she is smart. No man, not even a supernaturally gifted strongman, can best her in a war of wits.

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TOP 10 Tuesday — Around The World in Books!

19 Jul

This week the folks at The Broke And The Bookish are focusing on Books Set Outside The United States. To find out all the great books bloggers are recommending, click HERE.

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I’m not much of a traveler, but I have loved the places I visited in books! Because there are so many great books set outside of the US, I have included many more than 10, 25 in fact. Divided by geographic location, my list includes books set within the last 100 years so that you can easily see where you are visiting! Have fun exploring the world!

Around The World in Books

The Americas

CanadaThe Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan.

MexicoMore Than Conquerors by Kathi Macias 

NicaraguaWater from My Heart by Charles Martin

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Europe

EnglandThe Inheritance by Michael Phillips

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

Secrets of A Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

FranceDefy The Night by Heather Munn and Lydia Munn

Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot

GreeceThe Patmos Deception by Davis Bunn

Netherlands Snow on The Tulips by Liz Tolsma

Ukraine Beyond The Rapids by Evelyn Puerto

Like A River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart

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Africa

AlgeriaTwo Destinies by Elizabeth Musser

South AfricaThe Girl from The Train by Irma Joubert

No Greater Love by Kathi Macias

SudanSide by Side by Jana Kelley

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The Middle East 

AfghanistanFarewell, Four Waters by Kate McCord

Saudia Arabia People of The Book by Kathi Macias

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Asia

ChinaCity of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell

Red Ink by Kathi Macias 

Indonesia (Dutch East Indies)Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer

North KoreaBeloved Daughter by Alana Terry

The PhilippinesRemember The Lilies by Liz Tolsma

VietnamYesterday’s Tomorrow by Catherine West

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Australia 

Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman

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Where do you want to travel?

 

Book Review: The Girl from The Train

31 Dec

51yc7VAt3eL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Aushwitz. Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks.

As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They intend to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her in. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.

irma-joubertIrma Joubert was a history teacher for 35 years. This experience has stood her in good stead when it comes to doing extensive research for her historical novels. She writes with empathy and a deep insight into personal relationships. She and her husband live in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

 

My Impressions:

It is funny that the best book of 2015, is the last book that I completed this year. Irma Joubert’s novel, The Girl from The Train (not to be confused with any of the other girl/train books), is the only one of her books to be translated into English from her native Afrikaans. I am hoping that it will not be the last because this book has it all — a beautiful writing style, characters that capture the heart and descriptions that put the reader in the midst of the story. From war torn Poland to the wilds of the South African bushvelt, Joubert takes the reader on a tour through the emotional aftermath of trauma and the hope of new life. Along the way, the characters struggle to retain their identity in their quest to survive.

I didn’t make a lot of notes as I read The Girl from The Train. I was too immersed in the story to pull myself away. I also found myself bleary eyed from extensive reading periods. You will find it hard to put down. I often find that the books that affect me the most are the hardest to review. Words fail me. Let me just say that this book is a must read and perfect for book discussion groups. It also gets a Very Highly Recommended designation from me, something that only a handful of books merit.

So, did you get some book money for Christmas? Then make sure you include The Girl from The Train in your purchases.

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

Great for Book Clubs.

To purchase this book, click HERE. The Kindle version is currently $1.99!!

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)