Top positive review
Family ties that span decades
Reviewed in the United States on July 1, 2020
and oceans, seeking answers and
Aimie K. Runyon has penned an interesting and intriguing historical novel in the pages of “Across the Winding River”. It features 3 POV’s and 3 timelines while being loosely based on real people and events from WW2. Make sure to read the author’s notes at the end of the book. In fact, you might want to read them first for context.
Unusual for this genre, Runyon chose to tell much of the story from a male perspective; a 90 year old hero and the same young man 60 years younger during WW2. His adventures as a Jewish American dentist serving as a medic in Germany gave me more than a few moments to pause and ponder the magnitude of his service. This fellow, Max, becomes involved with a resistance fighter, Margerethe, and they fall quickly and deeply in love.
The story is complicated with more family in Germany for Margerethe, that joins the arc to the story in Southern California where Max’s daughter, Beth, is attempting to uncover the truth about what happened to her and the baby she was carrying; a potential sibling she had known nothing about. Much of the emotional content in the story is restrained, which I appreciate; this is NOT a made for TV script waiting to happen, there’s more nuance. On the other hand, much of the medical information is VERY fictionalized, er, summarized and short cut. The WW2 scenes are far better than the contemporary which border on 1-800-sueme worthy!
Aside from a few rogue expletives, (one f-bomb and 2-3 soft curses, I think they’re all in chapter 18), there are really no warnings needed for this book. The war scenes are not overly descriptive and I’d rate the book PG.
An enjoyable story with some unique historical elements and a structure that’s complex enough to keep readers engaged and entertained📚