Monday, February 13, 2017

Review: A Country Between: Making a Home Where Both Sides of Jerusalem Collide by Stephanie Saldana

Title: A Country Between: Making a Home Where Both Sides of Jerusalem Collide
Author: Stephanie Saldana
Format: ARC
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publish Date: February 7, 2017
Source: Publisher

What's the Story?:

From "When American writer Stephanie Saldana finds herself in an empty house at the beginning of Nablus Road, the dividing line between East and West Jerusalem, she is a new wife trying to navigate a fragile terrain, both within her marriage and throughout the country in which she has chosen to live.

Pregnant with her first child, Stephanie struggles to protect her family, their faith, and herself from the cracks of Middle Eastern conflict that threaten to shatter the world around her. But as her due date approaches, she must reconcile herself with her choice to bring a child into a dangerous world. Determined to piece together life from the brokenness, she sets out to uncover small instances of beauty to balance the delicate coexistence between love, motherhood, and a country so often at war."

My Two Cents:

In "A Country Between," Stephanie and her husband (their love story alone could have made a whole 'nother book) make a new life in Jerusalem. It's a gorgeous exploration of the historic city that has been so marked by fighting. It's a place of different groups of people pressing against each other and trying to carve out their own place. It's also an incredibly personal story of love and of building a life together. Filled with gorgeous prose, this book brought me to tears by the end - a certain feat!

This book is written as a letter to their first son, Joseph, talking about their new life in this city. Stephanie and her husband never set off to live in Jerusalem but it was as if it called to them. I loved the descriptions of the places in the book. Jerusalem is definitely some place that I would love to visit today and I would love to visit it even more after reading the vivid descriptions in this book. I really loved the descriptions of the people that become the family's family abroad. There are so many different people that make up the fabric of the author's experience.

The writing of the book is gorgeous. There is the travel aspect of the book certainly but there is also a very personal family-oriented bend to the book. There is the love between Stephanie and her husband. The description of how they fall in love is just gorgeous. There were also a lot of good passages on being a parent and the kind of love that relationship between a parent and child imparts. These are the parts that made me teary - so very vivid for someone who is a parent themselves!

This was a great book with great writing! I would love to read more by Saldana in the future!



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