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Book Review: Crack Between the Worlds by Carmen Stenholm

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There is a Crack that runs beneath the feet of all families that ties one generation to the next. It is like a long fault in the earth’s surface. Sometimes it appears ominous — wide — as if to swallow up those caught in its path. At other times, it provides a fractured map line through time where ancestors struggle to carve out some meaningful reason for their very existence.

In Crack between the Worlds, through very artistic colorful writing, author Carmine Stenholm, paints the lives of four generations, each of which dares to walk the Crack of fractured past history. Stenholm’s tale is a glimpse into the hardships and delights of overlapping lives as they journey along: Johanna, Mia, Ella, and young Karen — great grandmother, grandmother, mother, and daughter.

Author Stenholm’s descriptive tale about these four women begins in 1871 when Johanna narrowly escapes death during a murderous raid on her small village, Werda. Adopted, now she must face a world with shocking memories of that hideous outrage where her parents were brutally killed.

But like Johanna, Crack tells how each succeeding generation faces its own harrowing hardships: two World Wars, the bombing of Dresden, the birth and death of loved ones, the dissolution of marriages, the trip to America. Yet each woman manages to survive. Crack is an emotional ride; at times filled with horror, regret, sorrow; but then relief, joy and a dose of happiness as its characters develop strength to live on.

The story cannot help but be realistic because Stenholm’s characters are real people. It is fascinating to see needy young girls grow into independent women who are strong enough to reach some semblance of happiness and a satisfying way of life. Crack between the Worlds will be a fascinating addition to any collection of attention-grabbing novels.

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