The Story Behind My Blog's Title

The Story Behind My Blog's Title
Why is my blog named "My Father's Oldsmobile"? Click on the car and find out.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Review of Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh

Nathan Hertzfield awakens to find the houses in his village ablaze and most of the villagers killed. He is kidnapped and forced to become a Cossack soldier, or risk harm to his mother and younger brother. Nikolai, Nathan's captor, insists that Nathan also abandon his Jewish heritage and take on the name Stepan if he wishes to survive. According to Nikolai, the Cossack do not like Jews.

Initially Nathan has no choice but to depend on Nikolai, but as the story unfolds Nathan discovers that Nikolai is different, and his reasons for taking Nathan captive are not what they seemed. A bond forms between the two and Nathan comes to look on Nikolai as a father.

When they are ordered to Odessa, life takes another startling turn, first with tragedy and then betrayal. Nathan is forced to flee. He briefly glimpses happiness when he finds refuge with a family and love with their daughter. But he knows that staying will invite danger. Nathan decides to once again abandon his identity in search of a new life. His journey is one of adventure, with his enemies only a step behind.

I really liked this book! It's a very easy read, written in simple language which gives the book a strong appeal to middle-grade readers and older. The historical setting was absolutely fascinating and gave me a true sympathy for how difficult life must have been for those living in circumstances similar to Nathan's. All in all, the book wasn't just adventurous and enjoyable; it was educational and the story tugged at my heart.

My only complaint with the story is that the ending was a little abrupt. I would like to have seen him through to America. Maybe I just wasn't quite ready for his story to be over. I guess that's a good sign.

There were times when the writing seemed a little rushed or choppy, and about half way through I was leaning toward a rating of 3.5 - 4.0, but after Nathan's betrayal the pace of the book really took off and the story of his plight just became so compelling that I couldn't stop reading. When a story is that strong, the little issues tend to not matter. I'll be recommending this book to families in our homeschool group.

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