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Until the Robin Walks on Snow [Kindle Edition]

Bernice L. Rocque
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Book Description

It is 1922. An immigrant family and their devoted midwife struggle to save a tiny premature baby. Inspired by real events in Norwich, Connecticut, this historical fiction novella about determination, family, faith, and friendship includes a story chapter about the family's Polish and Lithuanian Christmas Eve traditions. Appendices include a List of Sources Consulted and Author's Notes about the facts, family history, and research behind the story.

Editorial Reviews


Until the Robin Walks on Snow is a Mom's Choice Award (MCA) Gold Recipient for YA HISTORICAL FICTION. MCA recognizes the best in family-friendly media, products, and services. -- Mom's Choice Awards.

Until the Robin Walks on Snow was named a Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards in the category, FACTION (fiction based on fact). -- 2013 National Indie Excellence Awards.

"Baby Antoni was born November, 1922, and while reading this wonderful novella, I spent many months in story time with these people from long ago, holding my breath with them, as they struggled so to save this precious little one, while continuing to try to live their lives at the same time." -- Product Review by Lori Moffit, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC.

"Ms. Rocque's eloquent writing creatively and mindfully manages facts and fiction... To me, the birth of Antoni and the family's focus to save the child during an especially harsh winter is symbolic of the often unpredictable tenuous journey that immigrants face when beginning a new life in an unfamiliar environment." -- Anna Bozena Bowen, award-winning author of HATTIE.

"I really enjoyed this story, and didn't want it to end." -- Liza Perrat, author of Spirit of Lost Angels.

From the Author

Imagine that you are the parent of a newborn weighing one-and-a-half pounds. Now imagine that it is 1922. You have just moved - from a city with some conveniences to a farm with no electricity or running water.

This work of fiction is based on actual events. The mother in the story was my Lithuanian grandmother. My uncle and aunt, who grew up in the 1920s, served as advisers for me. We like to say that this is the story that "might have happened."  I wrote it so that most members of a family would be able to read it. It is suitable for ages 10 and up.

Though the Author's Notes which follow the story were intended primarily for my family, I have received numerous favorable comments from other readers who have appreciated the additional information supplied about the family history, characters, ethnic traditions, setting, and medical aspects of the story. Educators may also find these notes useful.

Product Details

  • File Size: 347 KB
  • Print Length: 204 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0985682213
  • Publisher: 3Houses; 1 edition (October 18, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009TCSX7M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #429,454 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Anna B.
From the moment I opened my copy of Until the Robin Walks on Snow I was drawn to read it. The image on the cover is lovely, the title intriguing, the author's style of writing makes this novella very accessible and eases the reader, as if a guest, into the home of this immigrant family. The notes at the back of this novella add important information to this meaningful reading experience. As a daughter of Polish immigrants I was brought back to my ethnic history - I smiled at each occasional Polish word, the chapter abut Christmas Eve (Wigilia) was heart warming - especially at this time of year - and even some of the formality in the way the characters communicated with each other brought back memories. Interestingly one would think in a story addressing an intense situation there would be greater expression of emotion. Yet I feel that the author's writing style purposely and effectively portrays the formality and emotional distance with which some Eastern European families communicate.

This novella offers a captivating account about faith, hope, and the unwavering determination of an immigrant family's struggle to sustain life. Ms Rocque's eloquent writing creatively and mindfully manages facts and fiction. Focused on the events following the birth of a premature infant, the author's attention to detail exemplifies the many ways this family loved and lived their life in America while maintaining a deep connection to their religion, traditions, and heritage.

To me the birth of Antoni and the family's focus to save the child during an especially harsh winter is symbolic of the unpredictable tenuous journey that immigrants often face when beginning a new life in an unfamiliar environment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Walking in the Steps of Our Immigrant Ancestors October 16, 2012
As I read this book, I felt myself slowly drawn into a forgotten world, the one of our immigrant parents--what they faced, how they lived. Bernice Rocque vividly takes us into the lives of her Polish/Lithuanian/Russian ancestors during a critical moment, the birth of a pound-and-a-half baby that could hardly survive today, let alone in the 1920s. We enter into a slowed-down world of love, family, faith, and hope. What makes this book truly unique is that the author couples good storytelling with strenuous genealogical research, orally relayed family stories, and local history to weave a very credible insight into days gone by. Very helpfully, she provides actual anecdotal information in her author's notes. She models a creative way for people who love genealogy to bring alive their own family's stories--and for that aspect, this novella is particularly unique and inspiring.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice story, but one dimensional. March 23, 2013
By A. H.
Format:Kindle Edition
This was a nice story about an immigrant family. However, I would call it a long, short story. Only one main conflict to the story made it a little slow. I thought the ending was slightly abrupt. SPOILER ALERT: I would have liked to know more about the baby as a child.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very brief story February 12, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The writing style was too plain for my taste, and the story too thin. Not worth the time or money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Living History August 26, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this book! It's a precious story of how a mother saves her 1.5 lb baby by giving her all. As a homeschooling mom, I think this would be a great living history book when studying the early 20th century and immigrants. I think that it's particularly suited for girls. I certainly sparked a curiosity in me to read more. Bernice includes lots information about the customs of Polish/Russian immigrants. Her research shows, and I particularly enjoyed the extensive author's notes at the end. I think I should have read those first though - because I spent the entire story mispronouncing some of the characters names! Wonderful book!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Charming Read March 30, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bernice Rocque's novella, Until the Robin Walks on Snow, is a lovely read, crafted in beautiful metaphors and poetic prose to paint a family history of what it was to be an immigrant family in the early twentieth century. The story focus is on an extremely premature baby son and the efforts the entire community of family go to, to keep him warm, fed and alive. The reader never loses sight of this effort under the umbrella of love in a backdrop of extreme weather, challenging methods to offer heat and sustenance to the baby, while dividing up the duties of the mother so she can tend to her child. This is a heartwarming story of tenderness and compassion, that depicts the best of the human condition. A charming read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Until the Robin Walks on Snow February 3, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A beautiful story of a mother's devotion to her tiny baby and the family's support for her as she struggled to save it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and brilliant January 26, 2013
"Until the Robin Walks on Snow" by Bernice L. Rocque grabbed my attention on the historical fiction forums on Goodreads and was intrigued by the Eastern European angle of the story, something that I have researched myself for my own books.
I found the relatively short novel had a lot more to it than Eastern European culture. It is a meticulously researched and detailed account of the winter 1922 and 1923 in Norwhich, Connecticut, during which a group of mainly Lithuanian Immigrants fear for the live of a fragile baby. Antoni is the smallest baby the doctor has ever seen - dead or alive - and his survival is in serious question.
The author describes precisely which steps the family and the doctors take to help the baby survive in the same way as she adds great detail and authenticity to the cultural background of that group: The house they live in, the cooking implements they use, the clothes and fabrics, the religious habits and celebrations - all of this creates an amazing insight and allows the reader to become part of the community and the times.
It is a great challenge to write about one small subject matter such as the birth of a fragile baby. Some authors might have been tempted to fill the book with lots of side plots to keep the reader's attention but Rocque manages easily to hold the interest and the suspense up.
As a plot driven writer and reader I was surprised to find myself so comfortable in the slow pace which this close up of the family and the surrounding community kept. The Wigilia, a Polish Christmas Eve dinner, the fables told and so much more that is mentioned makes this a well-illustrated and rich feast for the historian and culturally interested.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good book
Published 15 days ago by Maggie
2.0 out of 5 stars Family history recorded as novelette
Book read more like a diary. Detailed events about life in 1922 and the struggle two women experience keeping a premature baby alive.
Published 18 days ago by Meta Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it! You can judge a book by its beautiful cover.
Until the Robin Walks on Snow Bernice L. Rocque
The writing and historical aspect of this book is unquestionably wonderful. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Maria Catalina Egan
3.0 out of 5 stars quick read
This was an interesting read. I enjoyed reading about the different holiday traditions. I felt the story was a bit too drawn out in some points though.
Published 25 days ago by Javier E. King
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written story about the lives of immigrants living in...
A beautifully written story about the lives of immigrants living in Connecticut in the early part of the last century. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Eileen
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful.
Lovely story, could not put it down, now finding it hard to settle into another read as it is still in my mind, would definitely recommend it.
Published 9 months ago by Christine Jackson
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeping a preemie alive in the 20's
I enjoyed this book being a mother who herself had a premature infant nearly 45 years ago.. I remember as a young woman there was a old man three doors down who was born premature... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Susan Darlene Croteau
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly a wonderful story, but it ended too soon!
Very touching story of this tiny infant and his loving family. The author has done her research and added the human touch by making it historical fiction. Read more
Published 10 months ago by California Dreamin'
4.0 out of 5 stars A look into European cultures
From the author's family lore we learn of an heroic effort to save the family's fragile son, born too early, and the support of the local immigrant community. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Janet Craig
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming Portrayal of Multigenerational Family Life
Bernice L. Rocque’s novella, Until the Robin Walks on Snow, leaves one charmed by an era in our recent past in which grandparents and grandchildren were each other’s best friends,... Read more
Published 10 months ago by John Paul Godges
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More About the Author

Bernice L. Rocque grew up in Norwich, Connecticut in the surroundings described in her first book, UNTIL THE ROBIN WALKS ON SNOW. An educator, family historian, and award-winning writer, Ms. Rocque has authored several business articles associated with her work in libraries, training and development, and project management. Articles she has written about her family have appeared in the Norwich Bulletin, Good Old Days magazine, and Family Chronicle. Visit her at: OR

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