A Woman's Voice

Book Reviews ~ The Reach of the Banyan Tree

Mark Sasse

The Reach of the Banyan Tree by Author Mark W. Sasse

I am fast becoming a huge fan of talented Author Mark W. Sasse. “The Reach of the Banyan Tree” is the third fictional novel that I’ve read by him and I have thoroughly enjoyed all three. I can certainly see his love and fascination for Vietnam because as in Beauty Rising the setting for this novel takes place there as well. As usual the description of the landscape and surroundings are phenomenal and easy to picture in one’s own mind.

The protagonist is Charles Regal Carson III, better known as Chip to his friends. His father is the owner of the Carson Oil Company in Texas which Chip wants no part of, therefore, he decides to work in Thai Nguyen, northern Vietnam for a more noble cause. While there, he meets the love of his life, Thuy. After two years of getting to know each other and eventually falling in love, Chip asks Thuy to marry him. She is more than willing but not without the approval/consent of her father whom she knows will not look favorably upon this union. He fought against the Americans during the Vietnam War and feels this marriage would bring nothing but grief to his little family. Thuy is very loyal to her family with only one younger brother by the name of Quat who is very taken with Chip. He sees him as his big American brother and has every desire to be just like him. His love and admiration for Chip is returned by Chip as he takes Quat under his wing and treats him much the same. After a celebration for Thuy’s twenty second birthday when much revelry and rice wine are enjoyed, most of the celebrants jump on their motorcycles and head home regardless of their drunken state. Although he has some misgivings in doing so, Chip is one of them. Then, the unthinkable occurs and the storyline unfolds in a mesmerizing way…

This well-written and captivating romantic novel with a large dose of history thrown in is both captivating and unpredictable. Once I got started I could hardly put it down. The wide cast of characters masterfully added to the story line by Author Mark W. Sasse only serves to prove what a great writer he is. If this makes sense, I had the mixed feelings of wanting to get to the end of this novel and also not wanting it to end. It would be most enjoyable if there was a sequel to this novel as this one adeptly demonstrates the combination of both heart-wrenching and heart-warming events at the same time. “The Reach of the Banyan Tree” certainly left me wanting more!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte


Book Reviews ~ The Lost Wife

Alyson RichmanThe Lost Wife by Author Alyson Richman

Many years ago as a young girl I had the opportunity to read “The Diary of Anne Frank”. Over time, I have read many books pertaining to the atrocities that were committed against the Jewish people during the reign of terror by Hitler and his cohorts during this unforgettable era in history. Each and every time I do so, I am moved to tears as I can so vividly picture the images portrayed and the cruelties inflicted. I am once again touched by such a tale. In this eloquent and heart wrenching story penned by seasoned Author Alyson Richman, her writing is laced with so many truths and well-researched facts to authenticate her realistic love story during this troubling time.

Her words have touched my heart in a most memorable way as she shares the captivating tale of two newlyweds, Josef and Lenka, who are torn apart by their unimaginable circumstances. Each presumes that the other is dead. They eventually give up hope because they have been informed by the authorities that their loved one has perished…one at sea and the other in a concentration camp with her family. Eventually, they make every effort to go on with their lives. They marry, have children and now grandchildren. However, their paths are about to cross in the most unexpected way. The love that they shared is unique…and after all these years to find each other again is nothing short of miraculous. This intriguing fictional novel starts at the end of Josef and Lenka’s lives when in old age they rediscover each other at the wedding of their grandchildren.

Subsequently…the reality of their situation unfolds as Author Alyson Richman takes us back in time as both Josef and Lenka share their past lives and vividly recall the people they encountered along the way. Trust me, you won’t want to miss a word of their incredible journeys! I received a copy of this book from a dear friend of mine. I am ever so grateful that she shared it with me.

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte


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