Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Across the Winding River, by Aimie K. Runyan {ends 5/26}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

“We made good progress today, Dad,” I said, proudly marking our spot in the photo album. We were nearing the halfway point and would have it finished in another couple of sessions. I kept my eyes on my notes as I worked up the courage to ask the question I’d been burning to. “You kept one of the photos last time, Dad. Do you want to put it in the album, or should I look for a frame or something? It doesn’t seem smart to keep it unprotected.”

He produced the photo from his breast pocket as if he’d been waiting for me to ask.

“She belongs in the book,” he said. “On the last page. I’m just not ready to paste her in a book and put her on a shelf just yet.”

“I understand,” I said, though the words weren’t true. I couldn’t understand until I knew who she was.

This story told from three viewpoints in two timelines was more than your typical WWII book. Figuring out who the war characters were in the modern timeline made for a compelling narrative.

Original synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Across the Winding River, by Aimie K. Runyan {ends 5/26}
Beth Cohen wants to make the most of the months she has left with her elderly father, Max. His only request of his daughter is to go through the long-forgotten box of memorabilia from his days as a medic on the western front. Then, among his wartime souvenirs, Beth finds a photograph of her father with an adoring and beautiful stranger—a photograph worth a thousand questions.

It was 1944 when Max was drawn into the underground resistance by the fearless German wife of a Nazi officer. Together, she and Max were willing to risk everything for what they believed was right. Ahead of them lay a dangerous romance, a dream of escape, and a destiny over which neither had control.

But Max isn’t alone in his haunting remembrances of war. In a nearby private care home is a fragile German-born woman with her own past to share. Only when the two women meet does Beth realize how much more to her father there is to know, all the ways in which his heart still breaks, and the closure he needs to heal it.

While this reader feels there are quite a lot of World War II stories to choose from lately, this one was unique in its use of three narrators over two timelines—there was a contemporary timeline with Max’s daughter Beth, a WWII and modern timeline with Max, and a mostly WWII timeline with a woman named Johanna. The variety gave the story a different cast than other WWII novels, and the contemporary angle made it more relatable for a modern reader.

This was a beautiful recounting of a WWII love story that ended with a search and unanswered questions. While Max didn’t know Margarethe well, he knew they loved each other in a soul-deep way that would surely carry over into their lives when the war was over. That being said, and without spoiling the ending, it was satisfying to find out the rest of the story years later.

Overall, this was a charming book that blended a contemporary story with a WWII story quite well. I’d give it a high 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for those who enjoy family stories or WWII historical stories.

{click here to purchase—currently FREE for Kindle Unlimited!}

Becki Bayley is a wife and mother who enjoys reading in the sun and waiting for the spring flowers to make their appearance. Hopefully she’ll be sharing some spring sights from her yard soon along with book reviews on Instagram as PoshBecki.


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of Across the Winding River!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Wednesday, May 26th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be emailed the next day and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Across the Winding River, by Aimie K. Runyan


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