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Push Not the River
by James Conroyd Martin

"Push not the river: it will flow of its own accord" is the proverb which gives this powerful novel its name. It is based on the true story of a Polish countess who kept a diary of her life in 18th century during the period of the Third of May Constitution.

The novel has been compared to Gone with the Wind and Doctor Zhivago and is written in a similar grand romantic style. The author tells the story of Anna who loses both parents at the age of 17 and has to leave the only home she has ever known. As Empress Catherine of Russia moves in to the once peaceful Polish territory, the world is forever changed for young Anna and her people.

Adding to her troubles is the treachery of a jealous cousin who is competing for the man that Anna loves. While the story is, on the surface, that of an individual, it is also the story of a nation and a people as Poland is divided and partitioned by others.

If you like historical epics, this is for you. If you like romantic novels a la Gone with the Wind, you will enjoy this.

And if you have Polish ancestors, you will be enthralled as a key part of the history of the country is unearthed as never before. (The Polish translation of the novel debuted at #5 on the Best Sellers list in Poland is currently sold out.)

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