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5 stars for Through Forests and Mountains by Margaret Walker #historicalfiction #WWII #bookreview

Title: Through Forests and Mountains

Author: Margaret Walker

Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Blurb:

Yugoslavia 1942.

Anton Marković didn’t believe in a girl with a gun.

How could the Partisans win this war with only farmers, labourers and women for soldiers? The experiment was ridiculous. He should have stuck to the ships he knew and not be in a forest in Bosnia with a rifle in his hands, and a bullet in his head, and a woman by his side cackling like a throttled fowl in some dazzling display of hormonal triumph.

Tito had allowed the girls from the villages to serve in combat roles, and Mara was all in favour of anything innovative for women. She had just shot her first fascist, and her face beneath Anton’s was exuberant, breathless and beautiful.

He was at war, and clearly on more fronts than he anticipated.

But could he save Mara from that brilliant and psychotic fascist she could not shoot?

From the forests and mountains of Bosnia to the White Cliffs of Dover, the Nazis and the Ustasha battle the most successful resistance movement in Occupied Europe.

My Review:

It’s 1942 and fascism is sweeping through Europe like the plague. Many strong men have gone off to war, leaving farmers and women to fend for themselves. Mara is one of those women and she is thrilled when she is allowed to fight back, with a weapon no less. When she meets Anton, she’s not sure what to make of his scowl. He’s got a bullet wound in the head but maybe it is more than that. As they travel through the forests and mountains in Yugoslavia, one thing is certain: death to fascism by any means necessary.

Through Forests and Mountains is a riveting tale of World War II not often told. The Germans were unstoppable until Tito in Yugoslavia came up with a brilliant plan. Margaret Walker takes us inside one of the most successful resistance groups who thwarted the Nazis at every turn. While this is historical fiction, Through Forests and Mountains reads like a World War II memoir. Everything from the setting to the beautiful descriptive narration to the characters adds immense enjoyment to the story. The stark contrast between Anton and Mara sets the tone for the book. The plot moves at a good pace. Margaret Walker must have done a lot of research and it shines in Through Forests and Mountains. I learned quite a bit from reading and look forward to reading more from Margaret Walker. If you’re a historical fiction reader, you’ll quite enjoy Through Forests and Mountains. If you’re looking for a fresh viewpoint on World War II, pick up Through Forests and Mountains. Highly recommend!

My Rating: 5 stars

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Author Biography:

Margaret Walker is a teacher. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Sydney and a Diploma in Education. Between 1999 and 2001, she had six short stories published in Australia and the UK, and plunged head first into novel writing. His Most Italian City is her fifth novel but the first to be published, as she had a troubling tendency with the first four to give up after three rejections and start another one.

Her epiphany came in 2016 when she graduated with a Diploma in Professional Communication and actually learned a few things about editing and publishing. An understanding of the industry dispelled much of its mystique, and becoming a published author no longer seemed like the impossible dream. Margaret likes history, research and day dreaming. She has her husband to thank for developing an interest in modern languages. She is presently translating a book of Partisan poetry, bought in a second-hand book store in Croatia, for her next novel about the Yugoslav Partisans. It is true that you should be careful what you wish for. Margaret’s adoption papers read: Nationality of mother, Yugoslavian. After forty years of research punctuated by adoption reunions (yes, there were several) she discovered that her mother came from Istria where the novel is set. She spoke Venetian, German, Italian and English but flew on a Yugoslav passport and, even today, opinions as to whether she was Yugoslavian or Italian divide the family.

Claims have been made for the pro-Italian towns in Istria that ‘we were gentle people between the wars. There was not crime then as we know it today.’ However, we know from the Slovenian writer Boris Pahor that the fascists were burning and destroying Slavic culture from Trieste to Split at this time. It was to investigate this apparent dichotomy that His Most Italian City was written.

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Reviewed by: Mrs. N


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