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What I'm Reading Wednesday: The Crooked Path by Irma Joubert

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Today I finished reading The Crooked Path by Irma Joubert.  It's yet another World War II historical that I've read this year, but this one is very different because there are two settings: Italy and South Africa.  I can't recall ever having read one based in South Africa before, and I enjoyed it because of the unique setting and culture.

According to Goodreads:

As retired physician Lettie Louw looks back upon her life, she recounts her coming of age in WWII-era South Africa in this compelling story of delayed love, loss, and reconciliation.

Lettie Louw is the daughter of the town physician in their South African village. She spends her childhood in the warm African days playing with her friends and being adored by her doting parents. When she becomes a teenager, she experiences her first taste of unrequited romantic love in the form of her best friend’s older brother, De Wet Fourie. When De Wet pursues the beautiful and wealthy Annabelle, Lettie’s dreams are crushed, and she moves to Johannesburg to pursue her studies in medicine.

Life in Johannesburg feels strange to Lettie, and the world around her is in profound upheaval as the Second World War rages. Her feelings for De Wet never waver, and Lettie is heartbroken when he marries another of her childhood friends. Lettie soon meets Marco Romanelli, an Italian immigrant, and they marry and raise two daughters, as the racial and political tensions in South Africa swirl about them.

Lettie never forgets her first love, even as the ravages of time, war, and illness play upon her life and the lives of those she loves. In their later years, Lettie and De Wet are thrown into one another’s company again, and they are given another chance at a life together.

My Review:

Although this book is Lettie's story, a big chunk of it belongs to Marco.  Marco is a brilliant Italian who risks his life and ultimately sacrifices his health for Rachel, his Jewish girlfriend, and her family.  He hides them for years in the Italian Alps before they're found by Nazis and sent to a camp in Northern Italy and eventually to Poland.  Marco's work in the camp's factory damages his lungs, and he suffers from bouts with pneumonia annually.  He eventually leaves Northern Italy's harsh winters and immigrates to South Africa for the climate.  

There are several sections in this novel, and I enjoyed the sections featuring Marco and Lettie together.  Reading about the Afrikaans culture is very interesting, but there isn't as much politics in the book as I anticipated.  One thing that bothers me about the book is that Lettie and her friends seem vapid (even when they were older), focusing way to much on their looks rather than their intelligence (most of them are smart women).  However, Lettie is very brave, and no one's perfect.  I love the faith element in the book, and it's apparent that Irma Joubert is a former history teacher because she inserts a lot of history into not only the plot but the characters' dialogue as well.  She also includes a Cast of Characters, a glossary for words that can't be easily translated from Afrikaans to English, and a bibliography.  I highly recommend this novel if you're looking for WWII fiction with an interesting setting and historical accuracy.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of The Crooked Path from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Happy Thanksgiving, My Sweet Lovelies!  Come back early Friday morning for an important Black Friday shopping tip!

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. I'm always interested in WWII fiction.
    This one sounds like another one to add to my xmas list!

  2. A World War II story set in South Africa is very unusual! I love WWII historical fiction, sounds interesting~

  3. Don't you hate vapid female characters? Still, I love the period and never read one set in South Africa. Very interesting. Happy Thanksgiving.


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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