I've read several of Irma Joubert's books and I find each one to be exquisite in plot, character, and depth. Her writing ability is unsurpassed and she is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. She's not afraid to tackle hard subjects in her writing and her research bears out in all the historical details she includes in her novels.
I delayed reading Irma's newest book, Child of the River, because I knew it was going to be a heavy read full of depth and angst. I was right in that regard, but I was wrong to dread reading the book.
Persomi's story is one of coming of age in a time of strife and struggle. Beginning near the end of the Great Depression and moving through World War II and then into the turbulent fifties and sixties of South Africa's Apartheid days. Persomi is looked down on for being the daughter of illiterate sharecroppers, but she's the bright star of her class at school to the degree that she gets a scholarship to the high school and excels at sports as well as academics. Beyond high school, Persomi achieves her dreams in college and then in law school, finally ending up in the law firm of her choice working with one of her best friends. She struggles through wanting to protect her friends in town from the unfair laws that will make them move to a "separate" community four miles away.
Because Irma is from South Africa, she has a first-hand knowledge of how the "colored" people were treated. Only white people were considered "whole people," and there were even levels of wholeness among the whites. Persomi fought to overcome these labels and designations. While faith is part of the book, it's not shown as much as in other books by other authors. The understated way that faith is lived out in this book makes it all the more brilliant.
This is a five-star book, two thumbs up, and a scholarship to the university near you.
My thanks to Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book.