Monday, July 18, 2011
In This Hospitable Land
This self-published novel, which I've mentioned elsewhere, deserves a full review. Here goes!
The Severin family are non-religious Belgian Jews who decide to flee Belgium for the greater safety of southern France. The land in an area with Hueuenot anscestory where the locals welcome and shelter them. The family, the two brothers, their wives, children and aged parents are hidden at a farm off the beaten track. One brother is a chemistry professor, the other a dealer in rare stamps, but both turn a willing hand to farming. Gradually the men become involved in the French Resistance. As the tide of the war turns and turns again, eventually the family is forced to separate to stay hidden.
The story, based on the author's in-laws, is very, very compelling--I truly wanted to learn their outcome. But, sadly, like many self-published books, this story cries out for a professional editor. Characters appear who are inadequately explained. Tone changes without warning. The dialogue is horrible. And the dialogue put into the mouths of the children is so awful I wanted to scream. The author claims to have children, but he must never have been home when they were little! All the children can worry or talk about is where to go to the bathroom! Ugh. He also writes with the emotion given to a mosquito bite, of the little girls being molested, then drops the subject. When it "somehow" happens again, late in the book, it receives no more emotion. This story line should either have been more appropriately developed or edited out entirely. It detracts tremendously from the courageous and inspiring tale of the family's survival.
My hope for this book is that a reputable publisher will pick it up and properly edit it. It definitely adds to the story of the survival of the Jews, to the history of the Resistance and to the history of the region of France.
In This Hospitable Land by Lynmar Brock, jr.
Note: This is one of the many interesting books I've found in the last year on www.goodreads.com. Check out this great reader's resource!