Monday, October 16, 2023

Anna's Promise

offered by Goddess Fish Promotions

In the spring of 1975, Ben Friedman will celebrate his rite of passage into adulthood. When his beloved grandfather suddenly dies and leaves him a mysterious inheritance, Ben begins to discover who he is and where he belongs. When he chooses a path his powerful father opposes, their relationship becomes volatile. Will Ben withstand the pressure?

In 1914, Dovid Weisman, Ben's great-grandfather, struggles to protect his family when Germany declares war on Russia and the brutal Cossacks occupy his village of Siedlce, Poland. He finds that love and opportunity are still possible. If they can escape with their lives.

Slipping between war-torn Poland and modern American life, one family’s story is woven together across three generations.

My review...

This was a good historical fiction novel, but that isn’t all it was to me. The look into Jewish life from the early 1900’s to the 1970’s was a history lesson for me. I knew a little about the Jewish faith, but this gives a very good picture and in much greater depth. Maybe a better way to describe it was that it taught me a little of what I’ll call the religious culture of Judaism, at least for the different time periods in very different circumstances. Reading about it from generation to generation made it even more interesting to me and filled me with the urge to learn more.

I did have a problem with the flow of the chapters. I don’t imagine it was a common occurrence to others but when this book begins, each chapter gives us the year about which we are reading. As it proceeds, all of a sudden, the chapters begin with headings with no dates. It was jarring to me. Silly thing, isn’t it? But it threw me, made me feel uncomfortable, as if I were seeing typos.

Whether this bothered me or not would never stop me from calling this an enjoyable book. It’s well-written and well-researched and a good read. 

read an excerpt...

The Cossacks flew in all directions overturning furniture and emptying closets and cupboards. “I want my daughter back,” Dovid repeated, pretending he was not the one who rescued her. “Are you a gambling man?” Aleksandrov smiled. “I’ll make you a wager,” Dovid sized up Aleksandrov. “We arm wrestle and if I win, you back off and I get my daughter back.” he stood resolute as though unaware that he was outnumbered and outgunned. “And if I win, what do I get?” Aleksandrov’s nostrils flared and he smiled with amusement. “My other daughter,” Dovid stood eyeball-to-eyeball with Aleksandrov. Neither

backed down. The dragoon gathered around the table, broken glass screeched beneath their boots. Aleksandrov removed his saber and his tunic. Hairy as a bear, he stepped close to the table with his right foot forward, and placed his elbow on the table. Dovid removed his wool coat and rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt. While physical strength mattered, he knew this was as much about positioning as strength. He placed his elbow on the table, tightened his core muscles, and opposed Aleksandrov. The two men gripped each other’s hand. The goal was to pin the other’s arm onto the surface of the table, the winner’s arm over the loser’s. Mikola slammed his palm on the table and the wrestling began. In an instant, merriment filled the room and the Cossacks began their howls of encouragement and support for their commander.

about D.G. Schulman...

D.G Schulman is a publishing executive who married the boy next door and lives in the Midwest, where she and her husband raised their two daughters. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and her Master of Arts in Communication from Eastern Michigan University. She's the recipient of an Avery and Jule Hopwood award in the novel category and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. When she's not in front of a keyboard, she enjoys making chocolate, growing herbs, cooking, reading, and playing with her growing brood of grandkids.







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  1. After reading the review I am very excited about buying this book...

  2. Sounds like a very interesting story!

  3. Thank you to Our Town Book Reviews for hosting me and for your thoughtful review of "Anna's Promise."

    1. Have enjoyed having you on Our Town Books. Best of luck with Anna's Promise

  4. I'm pleased to hear that you found the book to be not only a historical fiction novel but also an insightful window into Jewish life from the early 1900s to the 1970s. Your description of it providing a deeper understanding of the religious culture of Judaism during different time periods and circumstances warms my heart. It was my intention to offer readers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Jewish life and heritage, and I'm delighted that you felt this was achieved.

  5. I'd also like to thank you for your constructive feedback on how it could be jarring to transition from dated chapters to headings without dates. I thought the dates had become unnecessary and your input is appreciated. I will keep that in mind as I work through revisions on my next novel.

  6. Readers have asked many questions on the historical context of "Anna's Promise." One common question is, who were the cossacks and what were they doing in Siedlce, Poland?

  7. The Cossacks were a group of predominantly East Slavic people who lived in the northern regions of the Black and Caspian seas. They were independent and militant and were often used by the Russian Empire for territorial expansion and to suppress revolutionary movements in Russia. They were particularly notorious for the massacre of Jews during pogroms. One possible reason they were used to take control of cities like Siedlce, in 1915, is that they were loyal to the tsar and hostile to the Polish nationalists who wanted to restore their independence from Russia. The Cossacks had a reputation for being fierce and ruthless fighters who intimidated and terrorized the local population.

  8. "Schulman's thought-provoking novel ably considers the tension between assimilation and tradition. . . An entrancing, layered coming-of-age novel." -- Kirkus Reviews

  9. People often ask, how much, if any, of your own family history did you put into this novel?

  10. While the characters and events in Anna’s Promise are fictional, they are all things that could have happened. My grandfather was actually a kosher butcher in Siedlce who was trained in the art of ritual slaughter. And the Cossacks persistently pilfered his meat market and forced them to immigrate to America. Cossacks stormed into my grandparent’s home in Siedlce on Friday nights, ate their Sabbath feasts and stole my grandmother’s silver candlesticks. Thereafter, my grandmother dug wells in potatoes and used them as candlesticks.

  11. What is your favorite time of day to sit down and write?

  12. Good question! I'm very consistent and write between 10 PM and 2 AM six days a week.

  13. This looks like a great novel. Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

  14. What's your favorite childhood memory?

  15. Tough question - still thinking on this one!


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