by Kristin Bair O’Keeffe
From the book jacket:
“It is 1883, and all of Klara Bozic’s girlish dreams have come crashing down as she arrives in Thirsty, a gritty steel town carved into the slopes above the Monongahela River just outside of Pittsburgh. She has made a heartbreaking discovery. Her new husband, Drago, is as abusive as the father she left behind in Croatia.”
This book brought to life some of the studies I’ve done on the dynamics of abusive relationships, how it affects family and friends and how what impact it has on the children in such a marriage.
Kristin Bair O’Keeffe obviously did her research on this issue, as well as on immigrants and their differing set of beliefs they bring from their home countries.
I did enjoy reading this book, although it did – at times – make me angry at some of the characters. But, then, we live in a different era where some behaviors just aren’t tolerated anymore.
The key is to remember this book takes place at the turn of the 20th century and family structure, as well as the laws, was different then. Spousal abuse may not have been practiced by the majority, but it was often ignored. Your best friends would simply pick you up and dust you off, rarely calling the police or pushing you to leave.
As the main character began finding her own place within the society where she lived, she did begin to exert a little of her own rights as a person, but the book fell short of truly allowing her to stand up to her abuser. I think part of the problem was the length. Many times, I will read a book and think it should have been shorter. The opposite is true in this case … it should have been longer.
“Thirsty” is a good first novel by this author. I’m anxious to see what she accomplishes in the future.