It's a good premise and teaser. The author then takes us back in time to two other storylines that eventually come together - Max's days as a medic on the front lines in France, and a woman named Johanna, who is a pilot and engineer working in the Luftwaffe developing war planes for Nazi Germany. She is a reluctant participant in the war and her family story, with their uncertainties and reservations, is well told.
How Johanna's and Max's stories come together is part of the developing plot, so no spoilers here. Jewish ancestry plays a role, so there's a hint. Suffice it to say that the author did a good job interweaving these three stories (one modern and two historical) into an effective and interesting narrative. Once you get used to the time jumps and point-of-view changes, it's easy and enjoyable reading. In addition, the historical elements were well placed and referenced.
Now, for action lovers, this book begins without much fanfare - no 'in medias res' thrills and suspense here. But the slow and gentle pacing served the rest of the novel well. This is a drama slash love story, but not necessarily of the heart-thumping kind; the telling here is not rushed. Overall, a good technique. However, I felt that some of the intense and urgent scenes could have had a bit more punch to them. Plus, there were a few 'hmm, not sure about that' coinkydink moments. Still, the story was compelling overall and refreshing. Sad at times, but with a satisfying ending, which I was hoping for.
If you enjoy women's fiction and historical novels set against the backdrop of war, this is a good one. It's feminist in perspective, but not annoyingly so. (In other words, I didn't sense an ax to grind or a chip on the author's shoulder.) A good choice for a book club discussion, I think. For me, 4.5 stars and a nice break from my usual fare of action thriller and suspense. (FYI, here's my review on Goodreads.)
Amazon Affiliate Link to Across the Winding River.
My 52 Week Challenge: Read and Review 52 Books in 2023 (Week 13)
(Books listed in reading order, not review order. And I'm behind, lol.)
1. Razored Land by Charles Gramlich - post-apocalypse (review TBD)
2. The Stroke of Winter by Wendy Webb - mystery (reviewed Jan 11)
3. Feast of Fools and Other Tales - S&S anthology (reviewed Jan 19)
4. Clovel Sword Saga (Vol 1&2) by Gordon Brewer - S&S (review TBD)
5. The Hike by Susi Holliday - mystery/thriller (reviewed March 7)
6. Valengetrix: Ghost of Aratania by J.R. Cason - sword & sorcery (reviewed Feb 25)
7. Swords & Heroes - Sword & Sorcery Anthology (edited by me! review TBD)
8. The Viking Gael Saga by J.T.T. Ryder - historical fiction (reviewed March 15)
9. Blackfoot Dawn by John Legg - a mountain man western (reviewed March 10)