And what goes better with a relaxing beach vacation than having a good book to read? I recently discovered a new author (to me!) that I absolutely fell in love with: Brigid Pasulka. Her debut novel A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True was recommended to me and I could NOT put it down. In this book we get two stories in one, both of which weave in and out and finally come together in a way that had me flipping back through the book to reread certain passages as new ‘ah ha’ moments came to life.
The story begins with the beautiful Anielica and a boy called the Pigeon as they get to know each other during the early stages of World War II in a small village in Poland. In the next chapter, we are brought forward almost fifty years later to Krakow, where we meet their granddaughter, Baba Yaga. We learn that she has left the village where she lived with her grandmother in order to start over in the big city. Each chapter alternates between the sweet and touching and at times tragic romance between Anielica and the Pigeon, and the introverted Baba Yaga, who is struggling to find her place in Krakow, and the world.
This is no light, breezy beach read, for all that I read it while lounging under the sun. It’s intense and heartbreaking, but it also left me feeling hopeful, and longing for a companion novel about some of the secondary characters, who were as fully crafted as the main characters. I also had no problem jumping back and forth between the alternating chapters because I was immediately and equally invested in both storylines and loved watching it all come together.
This book garnered some great reviews when it came out in 2009, all of which were deserved! I can’t wait for her next book to come out, The Sun and Other Stars, in 2014.
Do you have a favorite vacation read?
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