The Girl from the Mountains by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger is a haunting reminder how things can progress from idyllic to horrific in the blink of an eye. First off, the first few chapters flowed slowly but methodically, setting the stage for Magda’s transformation of enjoying her serene family life with her parents and brothers to the captivating rush of the last chapters and her full-on resistance against the Nazis. The beauty of any story is to recognize the author’s desire to demonstrate contrast. Christina does this with skill. I liken this story to the movie “A Hidden Life” contrasting love against hatred, morality against immorality, and innocence against guilt. To put this into visual terms, this book is a visual fire, a flame sparked in the beginning, slowly burning in the initial chapters as more and more fuel is added until, finally, the story bursts into a bonfire. Magda never believes she is a warrior, a hero, but she is; a woman who is relatable to women today as well as being true to the time period in which Chrystyna writes. My favourite lines from the book:
“….where Swastika stamped flags snapped salutes to the wind.” (Great alliteration and visual)
“Everything about love requires an act of courage. Absolutely everything. But loving yourself perhaps the most heroic act a person can perform.” (Great line!)
“We all understand the difference between right and wrong. But what if wrong is the law?” (Hmmm, makes you think, huh? Especially in our modern day!)
“I believe a soul can die a thousand times before the body does. That’s a good thing because it means you have the chance to recover. So, today, right now, we must choose to live.” (I have lived this so many times, after losing my kids in death, so this profound statement will stay with me a long time.)
“We are shaped by our circumstances, and marked by our choices.” (Simply put, yes!)
I give this book five stars and highly recommend. Well done, Chrystyna!!
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