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Reviewed by Heather Osborne for Readers' Favorite
Nermina’s Chance by Dina Greenberg is the harrowing and sometimes heart-breaking story of Nermina Beganovic as she struggles to recover from losing everything she has. A victim of war crimes during the Balkan War and forced to flee her country, Nermina settles in Portland, Oregon. Her family perished during the conflict, and her one driving force is to have a child of her own. IVF is not an option due to her financial circumstances, so Nermina chooses to mislead an unknowing man into granting her fondest wish. However, as her daughter grows up, questions begin to arise and conflicts increase. Then, unexpectedly, Nermina finds herself in a situation that puts her in the path of her daughter’s father. For the sake of her daughter, Nermina must make the difficult choice to reconnect with the man she used all those years ago.
Initially, when I started reading Nermina’s Chance by Dina Greenberg, I wasn’t sure what to expect beyond the idea of Nermina fleeing the country and having a daughter. Some might argue Nermina used the man who was her daughter’s father, but I see the desperation she must have faced, feeling entirely alone in the world. Greenberg does well in intertwining the stories, even writing a parallel journey involving her daughter’s father’s brother. I really appreciated Nermina's transition from a war crime victim to helping those who had suffered as a result of war themselves, and the realism of her PTSD in terms of how she struggled to balance being a mother and recovering from what had happened to her. The symbolism, especially involving the butterflies, was very beautifully done and the metaphor involving transformation was not lost. I am interested to see how Nermina’s story progresses after the ending of the novel. Overall, a very interesting read about the after-effects of a recent war.