Book Review - Far to Go by Alison Pick

I knew as soon as I read the blurb about this book that I had to try and be part of the TLC Book Tour for Far to Go: A Novel because there is an intrinsic link to my own history within its pages. My Opa wasn't Jewish, but he was a socialist in a fascist world and actually escaped from Germany through the Sudetenland (Czecheslovakia) to Canada in the early 1930's.  He returned to Europe as a translator for the Canadian Armed Forces and met my Oma, bringing her to Canada as a war bride in the late forties.  Any novel that has ties to that area is on my must read list... no matter how heart wrenching I know it is going to be... 

I am very glad to be kicking off Alison Pick's tour on the day her book is released.  You can check out the rest of her scheduled stops here.

From the publisher:

When Czechoslovakia relinquishes the Sudetenland to Hitler, the powerful influence of Nazi propaganda sweeps through towns and villages like a sinister vanguard of the Reich's advancing army. A fiercely patriotic secular Jew, Pavel Bauer is helpless to prevent his world from unraveling as first his government, then his business partners, then his neighbors turn their back on his affluent, once-beloved family. Only the Bauers' adoring governess, Marta, sticks by Pavel, his wife, Anneliese, and their little son, Pepik, bound by her deep affection for her employers and friends. But when Marta learns of their impending betrayal at the hands of her lover, Ernst, Pavel's best friend, she is paralyzed by her own fear of discovery—even as the endangered family for whom she cares so deeply struggles with the most difficult decision of their lives.

Interwoven with a present-day narrative that gradually reveals the fate of the Bauer family during and after the war, Far to Go is a riveting family epic, love story, and psychological drama.

My Review:
As I started to read, I have to say that I was put off at first by the interruption of what I thought was a great story by the odd bits of present-day narrative that seemed to be randomly added at the end of each chapter, but by the end it made complete sense...

Told from the perspective of Pepik's nanny, the story paints a picture of just how unbelievable and unexpected to individuals the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia was, until it was actually upon them, and too late.  It was a world where you had no idea who to trust and how to make your way, and the author, Alison Pick, is able to capture that feeling of uncertainty and heartache.  At the same time, she is able to capture the innocence and wonder felt by a five year old boy, watching trains and his nanny, who loves him as much as she would her own child.

You know from the outset that history has already dictated most of the ending to this book, but there are still surprises in store for the reader and as sad as the book is, there is also joy and gladness present.  This book will move you in many ways and it will shed light on a period in history that needs a spotlight.  For me this was a very quick read and I absolutely could not put it down (except to reach for the Kleenex box) If you read historical fiction, you will want to read this!

About the Author:

Alison Pick is the author of two acclaimed volumes of poetry and one previous novel, The Sweet Edge, aGlobe and Mail Top 100 Book that was optioned for film. She is also the winner of Canada’s prestigious Bronwen Wallace Award. Currently on the faculty at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Pick lives in Toronto.
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Disclaimer: I received this book at no cost to me through the TLC Book Tour program.  All opinions are my own.