Across Great Divides

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
223 Pages
Reviewed on 04/01/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Danelle Petersen for Readers' Favorite

A story inspired by Monique Roy’s grandparents who fled Germany amid Hitler's reign of terror, Across Great Divides is about a Jewish family who finds themselves the targets of the brutal regime. Seemingly overnight, friends have turned into enemies and the eradication of the Jewish community has become the country's top priority. Overcome with grief and heartache, the family realizes that the Germany they once loved and cherished is no more. The choice to flee does not come easily but fear drives out any lingering doubts. After a shaky journey across the sea, the family arrives at a place they finally feel safe enough in to call home. But once again, they experience hate, prejudice, and discrimination, albeit of a different kind. Will they ever know peace and happiness again? Or are they destined to live in turmoil, slaves to a cruel and twisted set of laws constructed by monsters in human form?

Across Great Divides is a story of redemption, compassion, and courage. I was fascinated with Zoe's story; her circumstances seemed hopeless, but her resilience was truly inspirational. Within this story lies a lesson that what matters most is not material things, but humility and love. It was also interesting to learn how the different classes lived before the apartheid era; Monique Roy painted a vivid picture that is sure to evoke emotions in the older generation. I found Max's confrontation with Officer Granger highly significant as Max's parting words were eerie in their accuracy. Granger's justification of apartheid reminded me of the propaganda tactics Hitler used to gain favor. I liked how the characters grew within themselves, except Oskar, whose prejudice I found repulsive and disappointing, considering all that he had experienced. Across Great Divides is an unapologetically raw novel and I recommend it to those interested in learning about the Holocaust, apartheid, and the monumental role politics played in destroying two countries.