AUTHOR: Janice L. Dick
PUBLISHER: Tansy & Thistle Press
Against the backdrop of a Russian nation in transition from Tsarist autocracy to communism, the Mennonite people who are settled in villages and colonies in western Siberia hope to remain unnoticed. The Siberian Mennonites wish for nothing more than relative freedom to live out their faith in peace, even if food is scarce.
Luise Letkemann yearns for freedom, security, and marriage to her lifelong love, Daniel Martens. She has heard of the war, famine and disease that have befallen her people in South Russia during the revolutions, wars and famines. She is also aware of the mass emigration of thousands of Mennonites from South Russia, now known as Ukraine, to the Americas. But until recently, her people have lived without significant governmental intrusion in Siberia.
The older I get, the more I appreciate history, and while The Other Side of the River is fiction, it is based on fact. Facts that drew and repulsed me, inspired and horrified. Because the story behind this story actually happened, the struggles of Luise and her beloved Daniel broke my heart even as their faith and love inspired mine. Author Janice Dick’s descriptions put me right into each scene. I felt the cold, saw the forests and plains and experienced the fear.
My husband’s background is Mennonite, and we recently learned that some came from Russia, making this tale very personal. Well-written and haunting in its realism, The Other Side of the River earns five stars. Highly recommended.