I have just received a review of my book Cobbled Life by the US Review of Books Services and would like to share it with you.
by HM Flath
reviewed by Diane Elliott
“He placed his music and the flute on the bench… the pent up passion, flowing like electricity from one to another, created a bond that would last for life.”
From family stories and historical research HM Flath has assembled a fine fictional narrative that covers three generations and two continents. Ultimately Flath, a retired humanities teacher, introduces us to a part of history not readily known. He takes us on an honest course of travel through the joy and heartbreak of illicit love, the unvarnished reality of war, and the hardscrabble life of an immigrant living in Saskatchewan.
On the 12th of September, 1909 Otto Flath, son of Martin and Paulina Flath of Moszczenca, Poland, received his orders to report for basic training in Tsar Nicholas II’s Russian Army. In basic camp, he engages in a fight and ends up in Provonik Constantine Vasiletvitch Zaharoh’s office. When Constantine discovers that Otto can speak three languages, as well as ride a horse, he enlists Otto into service as his personal valet. Once in St. Petersburg Otto becomes as one of the family, joining the children studying music and learning to play the flute. He and Anya, a daughter of the upper class, fall in love. Anya’s mother, however, insists she marry a man suitable to her station in life.
When Flath writes of Otto’s love of Anya, he will set your heart to pounding. When he writes of war, he has Constantine tell his valet, “…the Tzar wants to prevent Franz-Joseph of Austria from ruling this pathetic piece of ground? Of course not! This is sheer madness… I have been in battles and I know what is coming.” When he writes of Saskatchewan the reader will smell the wheat and oats as they are harvested, feel the hot sun and become weary with the day’s load of work. This is a work about the heroism innate in all of us.
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