BOOK BLURB – Heartbreak and redemption in the beauty of a Ukrainian village
For seven-year old Angela, happiness is exploring the lush countryside around her home in western Ukraine. Her wild imagination takes her into birds and flowers, and into the waters of the river. All that changes when, one morning, she sees her mother crying. As she tries to find out why, she is drawn on an extraordinary journey into the secrets of her family, and her mother’s fateful choices.
Can Angela lead her mother back to happiness before her innocence is destroyed by the shadows of a dark past?
REVIEW – As I read this book a couple of things kept running through my head. First, the lyrics of a song by Adler & Hearne “River Wide River Deep.” The song is a story that connects to this one, speaking of a woman who enters the river to get away from the darkness in her heart, and both stories make a strong emotional connection.
Then I thought about a truth that a friend once shared with me that the woman is the heart of the home and the heart of the family. When the heart is heavy with sadness and despair, the home is dark and unhappy.
This is a truth that is also shared in this wonderful book.
Trying to help Angela understand what is happening with her mother, who has an incredible sadness inside, Grandmother tells the girl, “When your mother is in her darkness, she thinks she is alone. But where ever she goes, she carries us with her.”
Then Grandmother explains about the connection that women have from generation to generation, “The rope contains all our memories, Angela. All our emotions. The feelings we had when we made our choices. It holds us to the single path, so that all the other possibilities are closed.”
And a bit later in the narrative Grandmother says, “This is the rope with which we validate our womanhood. The rope we use as a guide to measure out our journeys. The cord that we wind around our bodies, binding our hearts inside and our choices outside, lashing them to the faults of our generations.”
Ultimately, this is a story about choices and how those choices affect our lives. There is even a hint of “It’s A Wonderful Life” as Angela’s mother, Lyuda, is given a glimpse of what her life could be had she made a different choice as a young woman. But that is where the similarity ends. The Woman Behind the Waterfall, is much more magical and mystical, written with beautiful poetic words and flights of fancy.
I have to admit that there were times I got lost in the transitions from real time to the mystical, especially in the beginning. However, I loved the whimsical introduction to Angela in the very beginning, and as the story progressed, the transitions were easier to follow. And Lyuda is a woman that we can all understand and to whom we can connect.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Leonora Meriel grew up in London and studied literature at the University of Edinburgh and Queen’s University, Ontario. She worked at the United Nations in New York, and then for a law firm. In 2003 she moved to Kyiv, where she founded and managed Ukraine’s largest Internet company. She studied at Kyiv Mohyla Business School and earned an MBA. During her years in Ukraine, she learned to speak Ukrainian and Russian, witnessed two revolutions and got to know an extraordinary country at a key period of its development. In 2008, she returned to her dream of being a writer and completed The Woman Behind the Waterfall, set in a village in western Ukraine. Her second book, The Unity Game will be released in May 2017.
You can see more about Leonora on her WEBSITE
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Do come back on Wednesday, when Leonora will be my guest. She will be sharing an interview with Lyuda, and it will be great to find out more about this fascinating character.
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See the book at Goodreads
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Has the review peaked your interest? Do you like to read mainstream literature that has a mystical element?