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"Heartbreaking and poignant with a touching, positive conclusion." - Kirkus Reviews
"Gripping." - Booklist

Aug 15, 2006

Losing their parents to influenza and typhoid fever, Devorah and Nehama endure another frightening and brutally senseless experience in their young lives when their simple early 20th-century Russian shtetl is attacked in an anti-Semitic pogrom. The orphans witness the gruesome stabbing death of their guardian, while everything burns to the ground. In the days following the violence, they are rescued by a British-based Jewish agency and begin a long trip to a strange new country: South Africa. Based on a true story, the fictionalized Devorah recounts her despair and hesitant hope fluctuating between divergent scenes. Her hardworking, happy village life—in spite of the everyday prejudices displayed by Christian neighbors—is described against her introduction to the wider industrialized world through her emigration and subsequent adoption. Making peace with the past is difficult, but accepting separation as a result of her sister’s joyful adoption by a wealthy couple adds yet another harsh dimension. Wulf creates an emotionally charged narrative that captures a sad, bittersweet, sometimes resentful and starkly realistic girl struggling to remember the past while forging ahead with an entirely altered future. Heartbreaking and poignant with a touching, positive conclusion. (Fiction 12-15)