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(Review) Child of the River by Irma Joubert

Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Historical Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 395
Source: Self-purchase
Rating: Excellent

It has become rare for me to read Christian fiction books. I came across this book while browsing through the book display at Target. What caught my attention is the front cover. Most Christian fiction covers feature a beautiful young woman. No matter the time period, her hair will be sculpted to perfection, and she will have an airbrushed made face. Child of the River features a girl in a simple dress. Her hair is pulled back loosely. The emphasis is not on how lovely she looks, but on where she is walking-her environment. I recognized the publishing company, Thomas Nelson. I'm glad Target features their books.
Persomi is the main character. She is a young white girl living in the South African Bushveld. Her family is dirt poor. They are sharecroppers on the Fourie farm. Persomi is an intelligent girl who loves school, but she lives in a family that would prefer her to become employed so they will have a dependable paycheck. She has an older brother, Gerbrand. They have two brothers and two sisters. Their parents are a sad tragic couple. Boelie Fourie is a friend of Persomi and Gerbrand. He will inherit the farm. World War II begins and the men of South Africa are called to serve. There are opposing views on the war, not all South African people are in favor of fighting in the war.
Child of the River begins in 1938. The story ends in 1968. This time period will begin at pre-World War II.  It will cover the actions of the National Party: the Asiatic Land Treaty, Immorality Act, and other apartheid ideologies and actions. The main character, Persomi, has a role in the political operations of South Africa. The story will cover her personal life: schooling, and relationships.
I love this story and read the book cover to cover in a couple of days.
I was drawn into the world of Persomi out of the desperation of her life. She is a character who I felt an immediate investment in her welfare. She is intelligent and independent minded. I love her resilient nature. I love her tenacity.
South African history, in regards to politics, I knew almost nothing about. Through secondary characters I learned what life was like for people living in South Africa who were not white. I also learned about the men who fought in World War II. I did not know there were South African's who resented battling Hitler.
Persomi's character deals with grief. I can relate. Grief is a hard experience to endure.
Persomi's mother is probably one of the saddest characters I've read in a fiction book.
Irma Joubert is an expert of drawing me in with strong characters. Characters who are not necessarily battle ready, but they have scars to prove they have withstood life's battles.
Even though this is a Christian fiction story, it did not have Bible verses. I've heard the term preachy used for Christian fiction books. No preachiness in this story.