***** A Literary Gift to the Reader . . . . . . Clu Gallagher
If you're looking for a great read . . . and you are not only a romantic but a reader of historically based literature, you will find VERONIKA, The Siberian's Tale, by Sandy Krolick, a unique voyage into the world of literature, one that will reach out and grab your attention and make you wish that the novel never ends.
Set in the pristine forests of Siberia along the River Ob, the tale begins by introducing the main character, a young man named Sergei Anatolyevich Nikitin. He is a twenty-five year old Russian businessman, who has left his humble village, setting off onto a new career, just as his homeland is bursting its cocoon, taking steps toward the West. He is portrayed as a sensitive and loving son, and grandson, who has a deep affection for family, country, and home. When he leaves the security of his home to find his calling in life, he never really "leaves" it. He draws constant pictures of the beauty and wealth of traditions of his people and raises questions about its culture, comparing it to Western countries. This same strong emotional attachment to his home and his Russian culture is mirrored in his relationship with the newly found love of his life, Veronika. When she suddenly moves to the United States on the premise of studying, leaving Sergei only a note, Sergei mourns her leaving and never really relinquishes her memory, much the same as he mourns the old Russia giving way to the new.
I was drawn in by Sergei's longing for Veronika. I could almost hear him whisper her name as he recalled their times together and his hopelessness when she'd left. It is more than just a story about "boy meets girl . . . boy loses girl . . ." and a plot to achieve a happy ending. It is a poignant story, set in history, which holds your attention as Sergei embarks on a business venture which tests his talents as a developer and takes him into a new world, completely foreign from his upbringing in the quiet village, hidden away in icy Siberia. The tale has a fascinating story line as well as characterization. A combination of well-thought-out plot, very descriptive prose, and unique character development engages the reader, creating a bond and an interest in finding out what Sergei's life is all about. It kept this reader engaged and turning the pages, longing for the time when Sergei rises above his inexperience and leanings toward introspection to the heights of his abilities and the pinnacle of his new business, developing a theme park.
It is easy to bond with Sergei and root him on. All the while, you will be hoping that he and Veronika meet again and whether or not he would ultimately abandon his traditional Russian values. At least that is the way it was for this reader. It is a great love story set in a country whose traditions kept its secrets hidden from the rest of the world until it blossomed as a spring flower on the cold tundra. VERONIKA, the book as well as the character, will stay in your memory as she did for Sergei, changing him forever. An adventure . . . a love story . . . a tragedy . . . an historical walk through time and place . . . these and more are found in the novel VERONIKA, The Siberian's Tale . . . Sandy Krolick's extraordinary, literary gift to the reader.
"You've created a great balance of plot, political intrigue, romance, an existential connection to the land, and most importantly (to me) a personal battle with the self. The encroachment of big business on the natural world and the irony of the resort trying to replicate the surrounding forest were themes that served your plot well." D.D. France