The Girl From Kosovo
Pros: well written, fast paced, holds reader interest
Cons: not for everyone, depressing premise, however hope fulfilled in the end
Graham Whittaker’s The Girl From Kosovo a narrative of some 69 chapters, Acknowledgements, an Epilogue, Synopsis, Author Biography and The Butterfly Effect across some 449 pages commences late in 1960 and continues some 50+ years.
Inspired by actual events; towns of Withernsea, Winestead, Patrington and the area around East Yorkshire as described in the tale are genuine. On the other hand, the reader should understand writer Whittaker has taken some liberties with street names and locations.
A special family, the Lunns of Withernsea, are mentioned in this work with Love and respect; it was Mr Lunn, the writer tells us who was especially responsible for leading Whittaker to his career path and ultimately to the writing of The Girl From Kosovo.
Head down, bottom up, Andy’s snow powdered hair, frost reddened nose, and ears were set against a backdrop of snow clouds overhead, and the incline his bicycle traversed. Just another mile or so and he would be home; the account originates on Christmas evening in East Yorkshire, 1960. Soon he would reach the corner where the long downhill slope began. That was the easy part of his journey, no hard pedaling, just sit and cruise down to the last corner, past the lighthouse and his house where his comfortable bedroom faced the street.
Darkness has fallen, each of the wee shops and the pub were closed, Patrington village street was deserted. The dark cold surrounded him, if only he had taken the easy ride up to Big Hill and had not stopped to visit Gran and Grandad, and Uncle Frank. Driven by the wind thin, sleety snow coming from the dark cloud overhead slapped the lad in the face.
From that commencement the chronicle transfers 19 years to 24 March 1999 where nothing in the cold black world stirred. Kosovo resident, seven year old Nikita Tarasov Kosovo once more felt the dreadfulness of a recurring nightmare filled with terror and shelling and quiet and demise and damage. The world was dark, cold and dark, first had come a thump, and everything fell. Nikita heard screams begin and suddenly cease, things were falling, a crushing weight across her chest and legs, the rasp of dust and dirt in her throat and her world filled with dread of a recurring nightmare.
And unexpectedly in the core of the ache, and distress and anguish, a quiet voice, one that Nikita thought might only be in her own head comes to reassure the terrified child that help will come. ‘Be Calm’ The voice tells Nikita that his name is Andy.
Andy tells Nikita about his childhood and pedaling his bicycle home in the snow long ago on Christmas evening and a lighthouse and the town in which he lived as she drifts in and out of consciousness. ‘I’m really real, Nikita, I promise.’
Nikita ponders when she rouses in the hospital and is told that she was found alone in the collapsed building, no one else was there.
And the story goes again to 1960, Withernsea, 29 January and ten year old Andy, whose father when home on leave, bullied his wife and child. Andy feared his father home on leave as he tormented his wife, and insisted his wife polish his buttons in advance of his wandering the house to run his fingers over ever spotless surface prior to his insisting the house was filthy.
The saga continues with 17 year old Robbie, and East Yorkshire, and a girl who is currently the darling freed from the awfulness of a buckled building. The little girl who lost her mother to the combat causing a building to crash upon her has been taken in by a benefactor, Max Lomax. Lomax who is becoming prosperous, to some extent, as a result of the popularity of the brave little girl, Nikita, rescued from the rubble some 15 years ago has come to England where Nikita is enrolled in school.
In 2008 Max deeply involved in so called ‘rescue’ of many who found their lives all but destroyed by the war in Kosovo is growing rich through his so called ‘rescue’.
Nikki begins a journal filled not with girlish chitchat, but rather, her diary is the dejected description of a young woman who apprehends that her theoretical sponsor is in actual fact a devious individual who has ripped from herself of any façade of childhood and has brought her into the grip of viciousness.
To all apparent appearance Nikita’s life seems sublime, she is the darling saved from the horror of Kosovo. Actuality is, her life with Lomax is anything but sublime. Ensnared in the horror of a world filled with human trafficking, prostitution and drugs Nikita is determined to escape the Guardian the world views as her protector. Serbian Nationalist, Max Lomax has made it very clear that he will never release Nikita from the debt she owes by his rescue of herself when she was just a little girl.
The tales Andy told to her during the time she spent trapped in the blackness of the fallen building, and the lonely little boy who told her those stories, and the image of a lighthouse serve to guide the troubled girl. With Lomax’ leading Nikita is brought to Withernsea, enters school, seems to find the location where Andy lived and meets a youth who soon falls in love with her.
Robbie believes her talk of the lighthouse and Andy, she is once again searching for Andy, and the hope that someone cares for her and soon the quest for locating Andy himself begins to impact their lives in ways unexpected.
The narrative leads to Bosnia Herzegovina, China, Yorkshire, London, escape, hiding, capture, and safety at last.
Opening in 1960 and flowing forward and back from the little boy biking home in the cold Christmas evening to the fighting in Kosovo and an adult man attempting to dispel the qualms of an injured child and the life hers became following her being saved by a brutal, merciless broker in women and drugs, this spellbinding chronicle transports the reader forward on an eye opening overview into a reality seldom seen by others.
The Girl From Kosovo is tale of conspiracy, plotting, and maneuvering with all moderated by true caring and affection as Nikita is led to her destiny.
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