Gail B. (Albuquerque, NM)
Seeking an Unbroken Sky
At a time when the Dust Bowl was raging across the American plains, Ukrainian families fled the misery and oppression of Stalin's regime to make a fuller life in the Western Canada prairie.
This is the story, drawn from the author's family history, of a family determined to succeed in a new home. Despite one tragic event after the other, the family continues to dream of a bountiful future, living free under an unbroken sky. Yet, try as they may their luck never changes, never improves. They fall victim to every disaster possible -- natural as well as humanly induced. Ultimately, even the most innocent events have profound effect on their fate. Shandi Mitchell tells this immigrant tale with vigor and empathy and eloquence that make it a gripping read.
Andrea S. (Lafayette, IN)
Well done telling of life on the plains of Canada
This book was a very intense look at a little piece of Canadian history I was not familiar with. Ukrainian families were recruited to come and settle the plains of Canada in the 1930's during the Stalin era. Under This Unbroken Sky is the story of two of those families. The writing is rich and evocative, the characters are well drawn. You feel as if you are in the room with them, doing what they are doing, seeing the animals in the barn, or working the fields. It is not a light and happy tale, but a look at people who move far to change their lives and how it doesn't always turn out the way they plan.
Jo B. (DeRidder, LA)
Under This Unbroken Sky
This was a most enjoyable book. I loved the detail of the characters and the description of the land. The reader really gets the feel for the hard life that these people lived. There was an element of surprise as you went along which kept it from being predictable. I would recommend this book.
Arden A. (Homosassa, FL)
A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words
A picture is worth a thousand words, or so the saying goes. In this book, "Under This Unbroken Sky," the words are worth a thousand pictures. You can see the stark landscape, the animals, both wild and human, scavenging for survival, which is the operative word here, because in the 1938 savage Canadian wilderness, life as we know it does not exist; rather life is about survival.
My words cannot do justice to the beauty, albeit stark, of this first novel. I have seen the word "depressing" used to describe it, but even if that is the case, i could not put it down. I'm there, in the cold, dreary, angry winter, and I'm there in the warm months when the ground needs to be planted with the seeds of the families' survivals. There is love, the love of the land "under this unbroken sky," and there is hate and misunderstanding; there are good people, who work hard and try to do what is right and just, and there are bad people. Or are there? This was a wonderful novel.
Marcia F. (Batavia, IL)
Under This Unbroken Sky
Conditions on the prairie in the l930s, whether in the US or Canada, were harsh and difficult for all who tried to survive there. In Canada, the treatment towards the Ukrainian immigrants was especially harsh as elegantly portrayed by Shandi Mitchell in her new novel, Under This Unbroken Sky. Her first description of the boys throwing a mouse to the cats to see which one killed it to the final page captivated me completely and I could not put this book down. This is would be a perfect book selection for book clubs as it is a wonderful, fast read with many possibilities for discussions.The story is not an unfamiliar one, but it is extremely well told and has many new twists and very different ending. I loved this book and eagerly await Ms. Mitchell's next novel.
Sue P. (Richardson, TX)
Still Reeling From This Debut Novel
I was so involved with the characters in this novel that I dreamed of them. The suspense rivals the most nail-biting thriller I've ever read; the passion and beauty of the language is sometimes overwhelming; and you will never forget the climax. Not an easy read, but a wonderful one.
Mary G. (Shreveport, LA)
Under this Unbroken Sky
I found this book very well written - the characters are lifelike and compelling and I was intrigued to find out what would happen. Mitchell's prose is lovely but not distracting, and her details of day-to-day life made the story very convincing. All of this said, these characters lead lives of incredible hardship. This is a really fine book, but not a "feel good" read - it's much too true to the life of that time and place to be light-hearted.