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In a Foreign Land (In Search of Freedom Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Alarm bells ring from the opening pages when we discover Daniel’s Russian nemesis, Leonid Dubrowsky, is still alive and hot on Daniel’s heels for revenge.
The political unrest in Russia and China after WWII makes for a time of unrest in northern China. Daniel and other Russians who fled the Soviet Union are soon arrested and returned there as traitors. This leaves Luise and her 15-year-old bright but hot-tempered son Danny in charge of the farm.
The story takes us through the six years that follow. The fractured family and their white neighbours, the Giesingers, become persona non grata in the now racially charged climate of Communist China. Danny’s temper gets him into trouble more than once. And then there’s the ever-looming shadow of Dubrowsky, who nurses the dream of wreaking vengeance on Daniel by destroying Danny and having his way with Luise.
The interesting historical plot is enhanced by the strong Christian faith of Luise and Rachel (Danny’s special childhood friend). It anchors the two families, while Danny’s questions and inability to believe that God even exists in all this turmoil adds realism to the faith aspect of the story.
I found this tale captivating from beginning to end. Dick tells the story through various viewpoints but chapters are titled with location and date so we’re always clear about when and where the incident takes place.
There is one more instalment in the In Search of Freedom series. Book 3, Far Side of the Sea, is due to be released in the fall / winter of 2017. This is a series not to be missed for historical fiction lovers, especially those with Mennonite roots.
IN A FOREIGN LAND picks up their story in 1945. It focuses on the son of a Mennonite couple whose trials and adventures the author featured in the earlier book.
The young man in question is Danny Martens. He tries hard to be the man of the family after Communists forcibly take his father away, along with other men originally from the Soviet Union.
Danny faces persistent threats and persecution from his parents' long-time enemy Senior-Major Leonid Dubrowsky. Other challenges include trying to manage the family farm and grappling with his wavering faith in the teachings of his Mennonite family and community. His biggest challenge is trying to get his family to North America, following the wishes of his father.
Throw in a growing interest in his young Lutheran neighbor Rachel Giesinger and you have the ingredients of a crackling good story. I especially like the evocative picture Dick paints of life in China at the time. I felt as if I was really there.
Elma Schemenauer, author of the 1940s-era Mennonite novel CONSIDER THE SUNFLOWERS.