Monday, November 11, 2019

Review + GIVEAWAY: A Silver Willow by the Shore by Kelli Stuart

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

A Silver Willow by the Shore
By Kelli Stuart
Adult Historical, Contemporary, Time-Slip
Paperback & ebook, 380 Pages
October 15th 2019 by Fine Print Writing Press

How do you face the future if you don’t know your own past?

When an unexpected pregnancy changes her dreams, seventeen-year-old Annie tries to keep it from her mother and her grandmother. But secrets have a way of coming out. In a household of strong women, the arrival of a new life sets off a spiral of truth that reveals a past full of whispers and lies—a past that existed in another world under the heavy hand of Soviet oppression. This history has dictated the circumstances of the present, but hope, redemption, and forgiveness will grow in the rocky places of these generational differences.

A Silver Willow by the Shore is the story of the unshakeable love between mothers and daughters and of the impact that past decisions can have on present day circumstances. This novel weaves together the stories of generations of women, from the gulags of 1930’s Siberia, to the quiet oppression of 1980’s Soviet Moscow, to present day Tennessee. It is an unforgettable narrative of the treachery of secrets, and of the light that unites the heart of a family.

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My Thoughts

Kelli Stuart’s A Silver Willow by the Shore is an epic novel – exquisitely written, rich in characterization, entertaining and compelling. It’s like a tapestry with interwoven threads beginning in current day Nashville and reaching far back into Russian history. Stuart’s two novels, including the previous Like a River from Its Course, are set in the midst of historical times that are difficult to read about, making them all the more relevant and thought provoking. This is a story that I will never be able to forget, nor would I want to.

The story is told through the eyes of Elizaveta, Nina and Annie – grandmother, daughter, and teenage granddaughter – who should be enjoying the closest of family relationships, are practically dysfunctional strangers living in the same house. The love is there, but buried behind invisible walls of secrets, incapable of being expressed until an event in Annie’s life begins to unravel the past. Elizaveta is a pivotal character who at first comes across as cold and demanding, but all that changes as the author carefully peels back layer after layer.

We are taken back to a period of Russian history about which I knew little – the kulaks, members of the peasant class whose resistance to Stalin led to them being arrested, exiled, and killed in large numbers. It was a time of indoctrination, where people were forced to choose between State and Family, and Elizaveta’s decisions affected the next generations. Best of all is the legacy and impact of her mother’s faith in God.

A Silver Willow by the Shore begs to be read slowly and savored, although I found it hard to put down as I watched everything unfold. This poignant, bittersweet story will be enjoyed by all who enjoy relational, character-driven stories. A “best of the best” read for me with the highest of recommendations.

I received a copy of this book through Prism Book Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author

      Kelli is a wife, mother, novelist, and the driver of a smoking' hot minivan. When she isn't wrangling her five children, she can be found tapping away at the keyboard. 
      Kelli is the award winning author of Like a River From Its Course, her debut novel which won the ACFW Carol Award for Best Historical and was nominated for two Christy Awards. Kelli is also the co-author of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom with Wendy Speake. 
      You can find more information on her life and writings at

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US only
Ends November 13, 2019

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