Monday, May 09, 2011

Far To Go by Alison Pick

Far To Go by Alison Pick is a historical fiction novel which takes place in Czechoslovakia during World War II. After part of the country, the Sudetenland, is give to Hitler the Nazi influence begins to sweep the country. The lives of Jews are changed forever, including the secular businessman Pavel Bauer, his son Pepik, wife Annelise, and their loyal governess Marta who feels like one of the family. However when Marta learns of an impending betrayal from her lover Ernst, she becomes the one who holds the Bauers fate in her hands and her actions will have consequences none of them could have imagined.

Far To Go was a novel I was very conflicted over. On one hand, I love Pick's writing. But the story, especially the ending, left me dissatisfied and disappointed. Interspersed with the historical story are tidbits of present-day action, and although I actually found them probably even more beautifully written I didn't really feel like they added to the story and it was too little to allow me as a reader to be really connected to that storyline. That said, the historical period that Pick used was extremely interesting as even though I have read many books about Holocaust, this is the first one that has taken place in Czechoslovakia, a very unique country. It is heartbreaking to read Pavel insist again and again that nothing is going to happen to them, even as the reader knows that nobody, especially Jews, was safe during that time period.

Pepik makes an adorable little boy and it is very easy to see how Marta bonded with him, and the possessiveness she feels when it comes to Annelise. The Bauer family and Marta have a very unique relationship as she is part employee, part family member and sometimes it is difficult to know which. For a historical fiction novel, Far To Go certainly manages to pick up the pace and keep the reader turning the pages. The strong element of suspense and foreboding that the reader feels made me even more disappointed in how things turned out in the end and what was ultimately revealed to the be the premise of the book. Ultimately, Far To Go is a rich and compelling story for which Pick certainly did her research, but in the end things wrapped up a little too neatly and quickly meaning that the novel didn't have quite the lasting impact it could have.

Release Date: September 1st, 2010
Pages: 336
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This review was a part of TLC Book Tours. Click here to read what other tour hosts thought. For the purpose of this review I was provided with a copy of the book which did not require a positive review. The opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.


  1. This one intrigued me but the historical piece I am not interested in. Glad it was at least written beautifully.

  2. I love a historical fiction book. Might have to add this to my library list.

  3. Fantastic review. Appreciate your honesty. I love books like this so I am definitely going to read it. I am very intrigued about the ending though.

  4. I'm sorry the ending didn't turn out the way you'd have liked, but I'm glad that you found the book to be well written and interesting. Thanks for being on the tour.


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