5 Star Review
This historical novel is written with such grace, compassion and attention to detail that it is like no other I have read before. The story is expressed from two viewpoints, Katherine II, Empress of Russia and Christian Kehler a young boy who departs Germany with his family for a better life in Russia.
Katherine II, Empress of Russia, offers free land and homes to those who come to Russia. She is a strong, complex woman who wishes to populate Russia's Eastern frontier. Her personal love exploits provide a glimpse into her frailties and insecurities.
Christian Kehler is the main character in this story as he comes of age throughout the course of the book. Christian travels from Germany across the Rhine River with his family and neighboring families full of hope and determination. His journey is long and arduous as he encounters obstacles beyond his imagination. He is a strong, insightful and intelligent boy whose contribution to the journey and the eventual settlement of the people is invaluable.
The additional characters are rich in description and extremely well defined. They play an integral part is this story and add to its complexity. Each one experiences their own personal tragedies and triumphs. Each character has a personal story of their own which is portrayed with clarity, compassion and resolve.
The descriptive writing of the journey itself and the landscapes that are encountered are vividly drawn in such a way that you will make the journey as well. This story is very fast paced and surprises you at every turn of the page. I felt a great sense of compassion and trepidation for the characters in this story which is a direct result of the tremendous writing in this book.
I highly recommend this book to all readers. It is not merely a book of historical fiction but a book of families, hardships, love and determination. It portrays the best and worst of human nature and their struggle for survival.
Destinies by Karleene Morrow is truly a MUST READ.