Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Books I've read this week - Sanctuary

Sanctuary © 2009 by N. E. Julian

ISBN: 978-1440133091
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 332
S.R.P.: $19.95

About the book: Nineteen-year-old Lea Kostovic, a cynical and emotionally fragile former university student, has been abandoned by her family at the outset of a Balkan civil war during the late 1990s. Major Ed Russell is a gruff yet idealistic divorced American army officer stationed in the former Yugoslavia on a peacekeeping mission. While manning a border checkpoint, Russell learns that Lea intends to head south to find her family and must convey to the young woman that the borders will not reopen until spring. Lea realizes that as a person of Croatian descent, neither the Serbs nor the Muslims will take her in. The thought of roaming the countryside for months—freezing, starving, and alone—prods a wary Lea to accept Russell's offer not only to work for him as an interpreter, but also to stay with him. There's just one condition to their simple bargain—Lea must trade sex for protection and survival. A complex relationship ensues and as Russell and fledgling artist Lea begin a new life in America, they attempt to build a marriage from a barter that originally had nothing to do with love and respect. As Lea learns to love and trust Russell they must try to form a marriage in the face of strains caused by the demands of his career and both of their emotional scars.

I didn’t think much of Major Russell’s conditions at first when he offered Lea a safe place to stay in return for sex. However, he was basically a decent person who treated her well, protected her from the other men, paid her to be his interpreter, and then fell in love with her. Lea had been mistreated much of her life and wasn’t so quick to show her emotions or let her feelings evolve. She was very depressed after being abandoned by her family. The story does a wonderful job of showing how two people have to work hard to make a relationship work. My brother has been in the Army since 1984 and I think this book did a good job of portraying some of what servicemen and their families go through. The story was humorous at times and very sad at times but it came together well and I enjoyed it very much.

This book was sent to me courtesy of N. E. Julian and Bostick Communications for review.

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