Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Bohemian Flats by Mary Relindes Ellis...

How I Heard About It:  One of my all-time favorite novels is called The Turtle Warrior by Mary Relindes Ellis.  A reader friend of mine told me that Mary had a new book out.  I was quite pleased to hear this.  

What It Is About:  Raymond has left Germany to make for a better life for himself in America.  He traveled the Atlantic to reach New York and made his way to Minneapolis.  It was the early 1900's.  Ray settled into the Bohemian Flats located along the Mississippi River.  The people here were eclectic, poor, and working hard to get by.  Ray began working in the flour mills.  After several years Ray's brother Albert, his wife, and their two young boys joined him in Minneapolis.  They were not happy with their life in the "flats" so they moved to farming land in Wisconsin.  The story follows Ray, Albert, and a cast of interesting characters as they try to create a life that is better than they knew in Germany.  They have to overcome illness, war, and a variety of other difficulties.

What I Thought Of It:   As I mentioned, I was quite excited to read this story.  The beginning had great promise.  I enjoyed reading about Ray leaving Germany, his journey to America, and starting a new life in Minneapolis.  The people he met in the "flats" were fascinating.  Then the story moved back to Germany to tell Albert's story and it lost me a bit.  The plot moved a bit too slow for me and I found myself skimming parts here and there.  When the family reunited in Minneapolis, I became more interested in the story.  From there on out, the plot seemed to ebb and flow at different parts of the book.  I did finish the novel, but didn't enjoy it as much as her first book.  It could have been because it was historical fiction and that isn't my favorite genre.  

Who Should Read It:   If you enjoy a family story in a historical fiction setting, then this is the book for you.  The story line about Minneapolis is also interesting, especially for readers from this area.  The book is well-written and the characters are interesting to read about.  Adult readers will find this a satisfactory read.  Happy Reading!

Rating:  3 STARS out of 5 Stars

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