Monday, July 27, 2009
Take A Chance Challenge - Book Cover
Here is my "Judge A Book By Its Cover" review for Jenners' Take A Chance Challenge over at Find Your Next Book Here. Jenners' guidelines for this challenge: "Pick out a book based SOLELY on the cover. First, write about what you expect the book to be about based on the cover art. Then read the book and write about how the book was different from and/or similar to what the cover art led you to expect."
I found the solitary figure on a lonely dusty trail to be intriguing on the cover of The German Bride by Joanna Hershon. Why was she alone, vulnerable and searching? The cover presents a shadowy female figure stopped on a desolate trail surrounded by a possibly unforgiving landscape. Based on the cover art, I wanted to know more about where this female character would lead me in her story.
MY EXPECTATIONS BASED ON THE COVER
Looking at the cover, these questions popped into my mind:
Has she been abandoned by an unruly husband? Did she run away from an abusive home? Is she searching for a lost family member? Is she anxiously waiting for a loved one's return? Is she venturing out on her own, wondering which path to take towards a new future?
Since the title is The German Bride, I could assume that she is standing somewhere in the German countryside. She also may be an immigrant in a foreign land, trying to adjust to a new life in difficult circumstances. My curiosity pushed me to open the book and start reading.
WHAT I LEARNED AFTER READING THE BOOK
The story begins for the reader as we meet Eva, a German girl of privilege in 1861. Eva and her sister Henriette live a very comfortable life in Berlin with their attentive father. Their mother is mostly absent from their lives as she stays at a "retreat" to help her with emotional issues. Henriette, the older sister, enjoys the attentions of many suitors, but Eva becomes focused on her portrait painter. Their clandestine romance leads to life changing tragedy for Eva, and ultimately she decides to leave Germany and escape her secrets.
As the story progresses, I discover that Eva is the solitary figure on the cover art who is trapped in a loveless, callous marriage to Abraham Shein. Wanting to escape her conscience and memories, Eva agrees to marry Abraham and live a self-imposed exile in the American West. The author, Joanna Hershon, paints a harsh picture of Eva's struggle to endure the long boat ride to America and the horrible, frightening journey on the Santa Fe Trail. Petite and fragile, Eva nervously follows her husband's lead through hostile Indian territory. Things don't get much better when she arrives at her new home. She quickly learns that her new chosen life will be a daily punishment and very far removed from the comforts of her Berlin childhood. Eva also will face dangers that she never expected.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Joanna Hershon's The German Bride . My questions about the plight of the mysterious figure on the cover are quickly answered in this fast moving, well-written novel. Eva Shein's humanity and resilience make for a very intriguing and sympathetic main character.
Happy Monday everyone!