Child of the River, by Irma Joubert, is not at all what I expected. I anticipated a more pronounced WWII setting—like many of the books I read. I can’t say it’s a bad thing, but this is not a typical WWII story.
I have to mention, because I’m a cover lover and a title lover, that I love both. The title captured my attention immediately, and the cover art is detailed and beautiful. I’m also grateful for the glossary in the beginning of the book. It is very helpful in describing words of that place and era.
Persomi knew exactly who she was: the child of a bywoner, a sharecropper on Mr. Fourie’s farm, the fourth and middle child of Lewies and Jemima Pieterse. ~excerpt
The story is long, and it starts out kind of slow, as it didn’t catch my interest straightaway. With that said, the writing is smooth and the pacing eventually picks up.
I like Persomi, and I rather enjoyed learning a bit about the history and landscape of an area I knew little about (South Africa.) The story is full-bodied, revolving around history, family ties, loss, racial strife, and coming of age struggles.
An interesting, edifying, and thought provoking read.
Thank you BookLook for my complimentary copy of this book.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
First Line(s): One winter’s morning when Persomi was eleven, her brother Gerbrand said out of the blue, “Ma, I’m going to Joburg. To find a job in the mines.”