Push Not the River

Push Not the River

by James Conroyd Martin

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Looking for a story that will transport you to another time and place? One with the sweep of Doctor Zhivago or Gone with the Wind and characters that enthrall you? Inspired by a long- hidden family diary of a countess, this book club favorite is that story.

Anna and Zofia~two cousins~are different as sun from shade.
One chooses love and patriotism~the other, deceit and treason.
And yet~love binds them even as their country hurtles toward the abyss.

"Based on an actual 18th century diary, the narrative . . . holds reader because of the cast of well-developed characters." ~Library Journal

A panoramic and epic novel in the grand romantic style, PUSH NOT THE RIVER is the rich story of Poland in the late 1700s--a time of heartache and turmoil as the country's once peaceful people are being torn apart by neighboring countries and divided loyalties. It is then, at the young and vulnerable age of seventeen, when Lady Anna Maria Berezowska loses both of her parents and must leave the only home she has ever known.

With Empress Catherine's Russian armies streaming in to take their spoils, Anna is quickly thrust into a world of loyalty and deceit, life and death.

Anna turns to love and comfort in the form of Jan, a brave patriot and architect of democracy, unaware that her beautiful and enigmatic cousin Zofia has already set her sights on the handsome young fighter. Thus Anna walks unwittingly into Zofia's jealous wrath and darkly sinister intentions. Forced to survive several tragic events, many of them orchestrated by the crafty Zofia, a strengthened Anna begins to learn to place herself in the way of destiny--for love and for country. Heeding the proud spirit of her late father, Anna becomes a major player in the fight against the countries who come to partition her beloved Poland.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940149558469
Publisher: Hussar Quill Press
Publication date: 05/31/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 553
Sales rank: 57,080
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

James Conroyd Martin is the author of THE POLAND TRILOGY, beginning with this story, which is based on the actual diary of a Polish countess. AGAINST A CRIMSON SKY, Book 2, an unforgettable tale of love, valor, and the enduring strength of the human spirit, is set against the backdrop of war-torn Poland at the cusp of the nineteenth century. This story follows the characters into the Napoleonic era, culminating with the march to Moscow. THE WARSAW CONSPIRACY completing the trilogy, unfolds as a family saga set against the November Rising (1830-31), partitioned Poland's daring challenge to the Russian Empire. James is currently working on a novel based on the Battle of Vienna. Connect with him on Facebook or at his website www JamesCMartin.com.

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Push Not the River 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book on a whim, the cover reminded me of another book's cover that I enjoyed. As soon as I started reading I couldn't put the book down, I read all through the night to finish.
NH_Jan More than 1 year ago
If you like historical fiction, great characters and a book you can't put down--give this one a try. I admit you have to read the first five chapters or so to get into it, but it is worth it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't know how I'd take to this novel since it is of historical reference and me not being a 'history-buff'. However, I found that I couldn't put it down. I was fascinated how the perception for a woman's account was given by this male author. The only other time I was so impressed was when I read the 'Memoirs of a Geisha'. As I closed the book for the last time, I wished that it could go on. I wondered if there was a sequel and if not, it certainly should have one. I just learned that there is one, 'Against A Crimson Sky', and I am on my way out to get my copy NOW!
Sveta85 More than 1 year ago
I am flabbergasted at this book, in a good way. I found it compelling, amazing, suspenseful, thrilling and beautiful. Not to mention its written by a man completely from two woman's point of views, yet the women were written beautifully and realistically.(If you want to write from a feminine point of view please read this book as to how to do it.) I had a great deal of pleasure from sitting down and reading it. There is some history of Poland, as it related to 1700s, along with culture and Polish superstitions which I found fascinating. I might be from Russia, but I suspect that I have Jewish ancestors that lived in Poland at one time or another. There is barely any Polish history prior to 1700s, and the issue of Russia and other empires desiring Poland seems to be one-sided in my opinion. I recall a history teacher told my class at one point that Poland itself attempted to conquer Russia multiple times. Also, what has been neglected is that the partition of Poland was used for Pale of Settlements for Jews if I'm not mistaken, or at least they were established by Catherine during that time. Quick notes: I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review the book. 5 out of 5 (0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book captivated me. It is a great story, all the more because it is true. I knew nothing about Polish history, and wouldn't have happened upon this book on my own. It was my good fortune to strike up a conversation with an interesting fellow in a crowded cafe in San Francisco. He told me his ancestors were Polish nobility, and that he had spent his years translating a diary from the 1700s. He told me it had been turned into a book, and I ought to check it out. For some reason I actually did so, and it turned out to be one of the best books I've read in a long time. Now I'm busy discovering more about Poland and its remarkable history. This book will lead to much richness of learning.
Dy More than 1 year ago
Learning about a country's past and culture from a history book is dry and oftentimes boring. Learning about a country's past and culture from a historical novel put together from actual events taken from an unpublished diary of Countess Anna Maria Berezowska is amazing. The life of Anna, her family, neighbors, and so-called friends during the tumultuous times in Polish history is rife with passion, romance, betrayal and hope for humanity. The survival and pride of the Polish people during the time of Russian domination by Catherine shines. I highly recommend this book not only people who enjoy a well-written historical novel but also to Poles who want to reconnect with their heritage.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished 'Push Not the River', which was recommended to me by a fellow book lover. It has replaced 'Wuthering Heights' as my all-time favorite book (an amazing feat as W.H had been my favorite since high school). This novel has all the passion, love, drama and betrayal of the best fiction books, yet it was based on an actual diary. I didn't want it to end but I couldn't put the book down. I found myself going back in time 200 years to the home of my ancestors, feeling the joy, heartache and terror they lived through. This book surpassed my expectations, and I anxiously await the sequel 'Against a Crimson Sky'!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was recommended this book by my sister and cousin and boy am I glad. It keeps you going through out the book and not at one moment will you know whats going to happen next. This is by far one of my favorite books and anyone who reads it will surly agree with me, it is so good i have no words to describe it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was very good, its amazing that it is a true story, I cant belive all the things she went through!!! I cant wait till the sequal comes out!!! I would recomend this book to anyone!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had a really difficult time starting this book. I could only get through a couple of pages at a time. I am glad that I stuck with it though. There came a point when I couldn't put it down. It was interesting to see what happens to the main character, especially knowing that the book is based on real life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is the 1790s and we are in Poland as the country tries to defend itself against Catherine the Great, the Prussians, and the Austrians while internal strife is weakening the military and the power of the king. James Conroyd Martin is a skillful writer, a tremendous researcher, and in young Anna Maria Berezowska he has created a character we learn to love and cheer for as she matures in this turbulent time. --Joci Tilsen, Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, MN BookSense, a consortium of 1200 independent booksellers, chose PUSH NOT THE RIVER as an October 2004 Recommendation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was very good. Very exciting, too. The story moved along quickly because so much happened in Anna's life in a short time. It was interesting to see the way she handled the situations she faced. Then there was her self-centered cousin and party girl, Zofia (some really wild parties), but every once in a while a caring side of her emerged. I had such mixed feelings about her. I also liked the way that Polish history was intertwined with Anna's story. Anna has strong ideas about the political movements in her day and is willing to stand for her beliefs. The end of the book is very climatic and sad, but you know that there will be more to this story. I can't wait for the sequel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I graduated high school in 2003 and I had James Martin as my sophomore English instructor. I read the novel during that year. I can remember well the beautiful story that was captured and the in class discussions about the writing of the book. I read it for extra credit, but reading it gave me more than a few extra points. The allusions to mythological creatures captivated me and I would urge you to read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
PUSH NOT THE RIVER is a very thrilling and highly entertaining novel set against an unusual historical backdrop, the fateful events and turmoil characterizing late 18th century Poland. The story is based on a real 18th-century person's diary and represents a fast-moving and exiting, yet touching and colorful, tale of a young woman's struggle to achieve her almost insurmountable personal goals. The story is built on a unique social setting and deals with the life styles at the time Poland's minor gentry against a tumultuous political climate that led to the collapse of the last Polish kingdom, that of Stanislaus II Poniatowski. The novel is duely reflective of the ethos that defined Poland's middle class in those days and accurately portrays the political events that engendered the kingdom's fall. The novel reflects the naivete and innocence of the heroine, Ania, a behavioral bent that represented a large part of ethical Polish society as it existed in those times. The story touches upon the ill-fated attempt of Thaddeus Kosciuszko, one of the hero's of the American Revolutionary War (the Polish military engineer who delayed and boxed British general Burgoyne into unfavorable conditions at Saratoga, ensured the success of the West Point fortifications, and saved Nathaniel Green's army from entrapment in South Carolina), to take charge and reverse the Russian takeover of the Polish kingdom. Not since reading Eric P. Kelly's tales about Poland in a historical setting have I experience something so exciting. And Kelley, like James Conroyd Martin, was a non-Pole too!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the finest works of historical fiction to come down the road since the likes of the Nobel Prize winners Henryk Sienkiewicz (Ogniem i Miecem [With Fire & Word], Potop [The Deluge], and Pan Wolodyowski [Lord Michal (Wolodyowski)], and Wladyslaw S. Reymont, Chlopi [The Peasants]and Rok 1794 [The Year 1794]). It is unique because the story captures the time and flavor of an era not otherwise covered by writers since Thaddeus of Warsaw was written in the mid-19th century. It is also well written and absent the editing booboos one is forced to swallow under the degraded publishing rules of late. The story of Ania (Anna) provides the reader with an insight to the conditions of the minor gentry during one of the most tumultuous periods in Polish history (The Partitions of 1772, 1793 & 1794)when the great American hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko had to take command of the country and make a bid for independence as he did at Saratoga and West Point. It accurately describes the individual naivete that existed in the philosophical beliefs of young women in 1794 and it paints vividly the panaroma of the conflict. This terrific true story will certainly enrich the reader with, not only entertainment, but a knowledge of a culture, history, and people not otherwise obtainable in such an enjoyable composition.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author of this book breathes new life into the horrifying and confusing history of Poland. The political turmoil seizes the imagination from the very first page. Two cousins represent all that is great in the people of that country. Ana seems to embody the loyalty, dignity, and strength of royalty, courageously holding on to tradition. Sofia uses wit, adaptability, and common sense to resist the Russians, allowing the greatness of Poland to survive the invasion. Based on a diary kept by a countess who lived through the partition, PUSH NOT THE RIVER recounts with vivid accuracy, the chaos survived by a nation. The metaphor that spans the length of the story is never more appropriate than in the scene at the River Vistula. Driven like cattle by the Russian Army, thousands upon thousands of Poles are forced off the bridge to their deaths. Some make it across. This story is about two who did.
Anonymous 4 months ago
cattriona on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although the writing is a bit stiff at times, this is an overall enjoyable story from a period of history often overlooked -- the Polish "Third of May" Constitution and their battles with Catherine the Great. The heroine, Lady Anna, based on the diaries of a real Polish countess, is a strong one and the supporting characters add interest and depth -- you never know what Anna's cousin Zofia will do next, or what her true motives are. Recommended.
carlosmock More than 1 year ago
Push Not the River (The Poland Trilogy Book 1) by James Conroyd Martin This book narrates the history of Poland from July 26, 1779, until 1795, following the failed Kościuszko Uprising, when the Commonwealth was partitioned one last time by all three of its more powerful neighbors, and with this, effectively ceased to exist until 1918, when it was created after WWI. Mr. Martin uses the unpublished diary of Countess Anna Maria Berezowska. The book opens on her 17th birthday, July 26, 1779. Soon after this event, her father is killed and her mother follows suit. She moves in with Aunt Stella and Uncle Leo Gronski and her cousins Walter and Zofia, a very manipulative and promiscuous girl. Anna later meets Jan Stelnicki and falls in love almost instantly and remains obsessed with him for most of her life. Unfortunately, and through Zofia's manipulations, Anna is raped and forced to marry Antonini Grawsinski -- who was rejected by Zofia. Anna is with child, so she refuses to consummate the marriage and decides to keep the child. Jan learns that Antonini is abusing Anna, so he challenges him to a duel. Antonini is killed, but not by Jan. Forced to survive several tragic events, many of them orchestrated by the crafty Zofia, a strengthened Anna begins to learn to place herself in the way of destiny--for love and for country. Heeding the proud spirit of her late father, Anna becomes a major player in the fight against the countries who come to partition her beloved Poland. The book is narrated from the third person point of view. The characters come out of the page and I identified with them -- loving them and caring for them as the plot went along. The plot is exciting, I could hardly put the book down. For those who love a good historical fiction tale, this is perfect for you. I so loved the book, that I want to read the next two volumes, even though they are quite long. Highly recommended!
dlovely on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Story based on the actual diaries of a Countess. Originally written in Polish about Warsaw in the late 1700's.
C.Vick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book very much wanted to be Gone With the Wind, I think.It helped to know the story was based on the actual diary a Polish countess -- especially when reading the quoted passages from her cousin's diary, as I never would have believed them otherwise. So lurid!The story itself is very exciting and tense, but the writing simply isn't up to the story. It is a shame. i think it could have been a great historical novel/romance/thriller in the hands of the right author. Instead it seems limp and tepid, filled with silly turns of phase and under-descriptive language.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though the background is Polish history and the writing is clear and colorful, this book has lot of the trials and romantic tribulations of the Countess about it. Too much so for me. Low on action high on fashion and food?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very informative and easy read. Great way to introduce a person to Polish History. It has it all. Romance, action, history and unexpected twists and turns. It was hard to put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful historical book. The characters were brought to life from the pages beautifully. The author described the happenings , good and bad in detail. I highly recommend reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel uses romance to pull the reader into the heart of Polish history and spirit.