G970 Book Review of The Soldier's Return by Laura Libricz
Author: Laura Libricz
Publisher: Blue Heron Book Works, LLC
Part of a Series:Heaven's Pond Series
Type of book: 1626, war, survival, psychology, drugs, addictions, friendships, relationships, enemies, Protestant vs Catholics, witches, raping, pillaging, horrors of war
Year it was published: 2017
The year is 1626. A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But religion only plays a minor role in this lucrative business of war.
The young dutchman, Pieter van Diemen, returns to Amsterdam in chains after a period of imprisonment in the Spice Islands. He manages to escape but must leave Amsterdam in a hurry. Soldiers are in demand in Germany and he decides to travel with a regiment until he can desert. His hope of survival is to reach Sichardtshof, the farm in Franconia, Germany; the farm he left ten years ago. His desire to seek refuge with them lies in his fond memories of the maid Katarina and her master, the humanist patrician Herr Tucher. But ten years is a long time and the farm has changed. Franconia is not only torn by war but falling victim to a church-driven witch hunt. The Jesuit priest, Ralf, has his sights set on Sichardtshof as well. Ralf believes that ridding the area of evil will be his saving grace. Can Pieter, Katarina and Herr Tucher unite to fight against a senseless war out of control?
The Soldier’s Return is the second book in the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy.
Main characters include Katarina, Ralf, Pieter van Diermen. With some characters I couldn't tell if they were main or secondary, but I think those three are main characters. Katarina is a maid as well as a lover to Sebald Tucher. She seems to be in charge of everything and is more of a mistress. She also wants to take all the burdens on herself at the cost of friendships and relationships. Katarina is intelligent, resourceful but she tends to keep her heart guarded up, especially towards her surrogate daughter Isabeau. Ralf is the villain of the book who seems to be delusional and who sees evil everywhere. He is also a Catholic priest who feels faith is more important than anything else. (He also literally sees women who use herbs as witches because they don't trust in god!) Pieter van Diermen is a difficult character for me to describe aside from the fact he has little to no taste in warfare and just wants to leave the soldier's life. Despite his personal feelings, he has already been damaged by the war and the things he had to see and participate in.
There is no glamour and glory in war
The story is in third person narrative from multiple points of view; namely from Pieter van Diemen's, Katarina's, Isabeau's and Ralf's points of view. There is definitely a psychological aspect to the novel because its not desensitized and constant ugly things happen to characters. The author, I feel, seems to ask how much can the characters handle before they reach a breaking point? I know that reading and witnessing horror in the story that's rarely unremitting but continuous can drive any reader to exhaustion and weariness.
About the Author
Laura Libricz was born and raised in Bethlehem PA and moved to Upstate New York when she was 22. After working a few years building Steinberger guitars, she received a scholarship to go to college. She tried to ‘do the right thing’ and study something useful, but spent all her time reading German literature.
She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY in 1991 and moved to Germany, where she resides today. When she isn’t writing she can be found sifting through city archives, picking through castle ruins or aiding the steady flood of musical instruments into the world market.
Her first novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy. The Soldier’s Returnand Ash and Rubble are the second and third books in the series.
For more information, please visit Laura Libricz’s website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.
First of all, reading the first book in the series is a must because the reader will get lost with what's going on as well as the characters and how they all know one another. Second of all, the book doesn't glamorize fighting or wars at all, but instead its richly detailed about the travails that war has on men, women and children in 17th century. There is some plot in the story, but most of it is day to day situation that survivors have to go through such as securing food, hiding from rowdy soldiers, and trying to move on from horrors seen and inflicted, which I actually enjoyed a lot. If you are looking for realistic fiction, I would highly recommend the book.
This is for HFVBT
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, January 30
Interview at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, January 31
Review at Cup of Sensibility
Thursday, February 1
Excerpt at WS Momma Readers Nook
Friday, February 2
Guest Post at Reading the Past
Monday, February 5
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Tuesday, February 6
Feature at A Bookaholic Swede
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Review at Locks, Hooks and Books
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Feature at Clarissa Reads It All
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Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Monday, February 12
Review at Back Porchervations
Wednesday, February 14
Review at Rachel’s Ramblings
Thursday, February 15
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Friday, February 16
Review at Donna’s Book Blog
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)