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292 of 298 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful story and a lesson in writing rolled up in one
Nearly three years ago, I read the first 5000 words of this story for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Ms. Lupescu left me in a Ukranian forest full of German soldiers bent on rape with sixteen year old Nadya seeking her fortune from a clan of gypsies.

I've wondered what happened ever since. I bought "The Silence of Trees" as soon as the book was available...
Published on October 5, 2010 by R. Kyle

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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow -- for my taste
It is beautifully written and I liked the detail the author paid to describing the family traditions and folk beliefs of the main character, Nadya, since I have an interest in folklore. She also painstakingly describes Nadya's emotions and thoughts, and I liked the ending. I've never been a huge fan of the 'character-driven plot,' though, so I found the pace...
Published on July 1, 2011 by L. Schaefer


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292 of 298 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful story and a lesson in writing rolled up in one, October 5, 2010
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This review is from: The Silence of Trees (Paperback)
Nearly three years ago, I read the first 5000 words of this story for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Ms. Lupescu left me in a Ukranian forest full of German soldiers bent on rape with sixteen year old Nadya seeking her fortune from a clan of gypsies.

I've wondered what happened ever since. I bought "The Silence of Trees" as soon as the book was available via Amazon and even paid extra for second day delivery. I sat down with the book and a cup of tea expecting to finish in one sitting.

Normally, I'm a serial devourer of books, but "The Silence of Trees" was entirely too rich for that. I paused at 75 pages and dreamed that night of the gypsy camp. Music, counterpointed by the jangle of tambourines rang in my ears. I even saw the raven-haired dancer clad in red and gold.

I followed Nadya through fifty years of her life, learning what it was like to lose family during World War II, to live in a German work camp, and to finally immigrate to a new land where you do not speak the language and begin anew. Each step is full of the same vivid detail as the initial scenes. Nadya and her family grow and become as real as next-door neighbors.

Ms. Lupescu's prose truly is the stuff that dreams are made of. The narrative voice of her protagonist Nadya remains strong throughout nearly fifty years of her life. You can almost taste the kolachi and feel the willow switches on your backside on Palm Sunday. The best of literature transports you to places you have never been. While some of the locales of "Silence" are places you may not have wished to be, there's heart and hope in every page.

Rebecca Kyle, October 2010
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109 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little known culture comes to life with beauty and poignancy!, May 11, 2011
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This review is from: The Silence of Trees (Kindle Edition)
Having not known much about the history of the Ukrainian people during the second World War, reading this story was like taking a walk in the shoes of the narrator, 70 year-old Nadya Lysenko, and reliving her heart-wrenching experiences during this turbulent and hellish time. We feel her intense and conflicting feelings towards her first love Stephan, her deep guilt and confusion over a simple decision to leave the house one night to visit a fortune-telling gypsy, and her survivor's guilt when so many around her perish, and she manages not only to survive, but thrive. Decisions she makes in an attempt to survive her ordeal come back to haunt her later during her relatively normal life in the U.S. after the war. Lupescue successfully weaves the tale from the past to the present, and the reader slowly becomes aware of all Nadya is holding inside and keeping from her children, grandchildren and even her husband. The reader feels the pressure and pain of bearing so many secrets and begins to understand why the generation who lived through this travesty may not care to discuss their past.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone who wants to learn about another culture and experience history in an up-close and personal manner. The poetic nature of the novel, the use of trees and nature as symbols, the folkloric and superstitious manner the narrator uses to describe her memories all blend together to make this a rich novel worthy of a second reading or discussion by a reading group or history class. I think the book would be a great accompaniment to a college international studies course, especially one that focuses on eastern Europe. Like the pysanky egg, the book has layers and details that all come together beautifully in the end. Some may say the ending is a little too neat, but I like the hopeful note the author concludes on.

Can you tell I really loved this book?

P.S. Having recently traveled to Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, I noticed the elderly in those countries very reserved and reticent to talk with "foreigners," unlike the youth who were very friendly and carefree. This book gave me a good understanding of why that might be as many, I am sure, had lived through communist regimes and German occupation.
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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting Novel, October 2, 2010
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This review is from: The Silence of Trees (Paperback)
I loved the book "The Silence of the Trees". I am a Ukrainian American and in reading this book I alternated in relating to Nadya's life & her daughter Katya. I could not put the book down & I was disappointed when the story ended.... I wanted more. I spent a whole day reading only stopping to have lunch & dinner. I can't wait to have more of my friends read it so I can discuss the book with them.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow -- for my taste, July 1, 2011
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This review is from: The Silence of Trees (Kindle Edition)
It is beautifully written and I liked the detail the author paid to describing the family traditions and folk beliefs of the main character, Nadya, since I have an interest in folklore. She also painstakingly describes Nadya's emotions and thoughts, and I liked the ending. I've never been a huge fan of the 'character-driven plot,' though, so I found the pace distracting. That is simply a matter of taste, not a reflection on the quality of the book. If you like books that allow you to thoroughly explore the emotions of a character, you will probably love this book.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I just had to review this book!, August 10, 2011
This review is from: The Silence of Trees (Kindle Edition)
I've read many great books but never felt like I discovered one. I'm not sure how I came across this book but I wish I could repeat whatever I did. What a wonderful, beautifully told and educational story. What I know of WWII consists mostly of Holocaust or stories from the American perspective. This was really interesting because it was from the perspective of a Ukranian woman... It was also a woman's story, and a cultural study. I loved the folktales and discussions of family traditions. To top it off, it is beautifully written. I couldn't put it down. Why this book didn't make the best seller list baffles me! It's a tragedy that it has been so overlooked.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time Well Spent to Read, September 29, 2011
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This review is from: The Silence of Trees (Kindle Edition)
I have never been so glad that Amazon puts forth a series of recommendations for site users. This novel came to my attention because of its appearance on that list and I am so thankful. It has been a very long time since a novel impacted my emotions with such force. I actually found myself crying at several different junctures of the protagonist's life.

As others have stated, the book is the story of Nadia Lysenko and her journey from that of a teen wanting her fortune told to a grandmother who must face her demons to be truly happy. The book weaves almost seamlessly from the past to the present and back to the past on multiple occasions. It's not at all difficult for the reader to easily make these transitions because this book is so well written.

The Silence of Trees leaves me with the feeling that this author has given us all a gift by sharing her talent. The novel succeeds on so many different levels. There is not only an amazing story, it is intertwined with folklore from the Ukrainian culture that adds to the story's enrichment and character development.

I have spent far more money on novels that I enjoyed a great deal less. This book is a prime example that the cost of a novel shouldn't be considered proportional to whether or not the content is worth the time to read. I have no hesitation in recommending this book to any woman. I'm not sure the male gender would embrace it as wholeheartedly because the story is told from the perspective of a woman but won't deny the possibility exists that I could be wrong about that. All I can say for sure is that the memory of the story will always stay with me.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read but contains either a Kindle format problem or an editing issue!, December 6, 2011
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This review is from: The Silence of Trees (Hardcover)
The Silence of Trees is an excellent read. The characters were well developed and the storyline was interesting, consistent, and, at times, quite moving. Several of my friends in undergraduate school were of Polish or Ukrainian heritage and the traditions recounted in the novel are true to what I recall of the family practices of these friends.
The major drawback is the presence of either an editing or Kindle formatting error. The sequences towards the end of the book set at Christmas and New Year's are out of sequence, i.e., the New Year material appears before the Christmas events! Quite jarring and confusing.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Story to fill the heart with emotion, November 15, 2011
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This review is from: The Silence of Trees (Kindle Edition)
I'm glad I took a chance on an unfamiliar book by an unknown author. The Silence of Tree is a wonderful story that spans the life of Nadya. As a teenage girl in the Ukraine, Nadya longs to know her future from a gypsy fortune teller. She sneaks out of bed in the middle of the night and heads deep into the forest. When she returns home she finds the house on fire and her family missing. From this point forward, Nadya's life follows the gypsy's prediction for her.

Fast forwarding fifty years, Nadya's story of war and loss is told through flashbacks as she tries to come to grips with the secrets she's kept all this time. She's tried to instill the ways and customs of the Ukraine in her children. It's difficult for her to accept their modern, American lives. She's visited often by spirits from her past.

Nadya was always looking for a message but what struck me was the message I found for myself. She met a soldier in a grove of linden trees near the DP camp she spent time in during the war. And she spoke of the word for faith in Ukrainian, vira. I've written a novel about a linden tree while living here in Viera, a town named after the Slovak word for faith. I think it's probably time to dust that manuscript off and turn it into something special.

The Silence of Trees may be on sale in the Kindle store but it's worth every penny and more to read the heartfelt and emotional story of the ability of love to heal us all.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book, November 12, 2011
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This review is from: The Silence of Trees (Kindle Edition)
I could not put this book down. I would rank this book as one of my top two favorite books of all time. I really connected with Nadya and felt I had known her all my life. I could read this book over and over and not get enough. This book shows us that we all have a past and must learn to accept what has been and what could be, I say this book is a MUST READ.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For me, a little slow moving and repetitive, March 20, 2011
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This review is from: The Silence of Trees (Kindle Edition)
I thought the book started off well and had me gripped when Nadya was young. Her years during the war were well written and captivating. Once she was older and living in Chicago, she became tiresome to me. I found her repeating herself an she no longer seemed a realistic character.
The ending was tied up in a pretty bow. How often does that happen in life?
I found myself skimming many chapters just waiting to finish the book.
But overall it was an interesting story and not a bad read.
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The Silence of Trees
The Silence of Trees by Valya Dudycz Lupescu
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