Some words are stone arrowheads, dipped in dripping rancor, shot in rage and left lying among the ruins of a bygone time.

Once shot, an arrow cannot be called back. The woman who has let it fly will eventually find it–at the same moment she discovers she is a tenderfoot. There, embedded in her heel, it has found its home. She stumbles to sit, understanding a terrible lesson. The weapon she used has wounded unintended prey.

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Just finished speeding headlong through Push Not the River, by James Conroyd Martin.  In the first couple of chapters, it was difficult for me to get used to Martin’s very spare writing.  There is a quiet to his writing that was a bit disorienting, but as I became familiar with the characters and the setting of the novel…I was hooked.  This is a book based on the real-life diary of Anna Maria Berezowska, a young woman of the aristocracy in 18th Century Poland.  She has left information about the Third of May Constitution and the Partioning of Poland at the hands of Empress Catherine of Russia.  While this historical insight is important, it is her personal accounts of her romantic love for one man and her motherly love for her child that transformed this book.  I felt glad to get this history lesson on Poland…it was easy to understand the effects of Poland’s stuggles with Prussia and Russia through this novel.  While not uplifting, the story is touching and the characters linger.  Recommend it.