I want to apologize for not posting this sooner, but somehow it slipped off my radar. It wasn't until Ti at Book Chatter mentioned it on her post Friday Finds, that I realize I had never published this review to my blog. Well, better late than never. This has appeared in other publications and social networking sites, just not here. That's a first for me. I guess that shows you what can happen when your off your game. Last year was such a physical roller coaster for me with illness. Anyway, here is my review for Shandi Mitchell's wonderful book. I was lucky to have received this as part of the Barnes and Noble First Look Book Club.
UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY
Harper Collins, September 2009
It is the spring of 1938 and Theodore arrives at his home after completing a two year sentence for stealing grain. He and his wife Maria have five children and they live in a small shack with Theodore’s sister Anna and her two children. Theodore still harbors bitterness from his imprisonment and works from dawn to late at night determined to build a new home. He has worked a deal with his sister to buy the land in her name, and pay it off in the next year. Being an ex-con he is unable to hold property in his own right. He and his son Ivan work tirelessly to build their home and farm the land. Unfortunately, Anna’s abusive, carousing and lazy ass husband Stefan returns home after a long sojourn with ideas of his own.
Under This Unbroken Sky is the story of two Ukrainian families who escaped the ruthless rule of Stalin to start over in Canada. The author has created a story of family relationships, greed and hardship. Mitchell’s characters are so memorable they could walk into your life, as if you always knew them. They are more than black on white descriptions on the page as their personalities live.
Theodore is a proud man and intends to protect and provide for his family at all costs. Their new home is spacious and they use the old shack as a grain bin. Anna and Maria both become pregnant, but he is most concerned with how his sister and children will survive having a deadbeat husband as a provider.
Theo is disgusted with his sister’s lack of ambition and when she turns against him her fate is sealed. All he can see is what he sees. He has no vision or capability to imagine what lies beneath the surface. Maria and Anna are women caught in a time when a husband was a person to obey without questions.
Mitchell’s writing is edgy and disturbing as the tension of the two families heads toward a collision of unconscionable results. The suspense is dramatic and Mitchell ensures your heart will resonate with compassion with this rare unforgettable ending. Under This Unbroken Sky is a significant sensitive novel that you will not want to miss.
Disclosure:I received this review copy from Barnes and Noble as part of their First Look Book Club.