Monday, February 4, 2008

The Disappearance of Lilya Bekirova: A Novel of the Supernatural

ISBN: 9780595425495 - iUniverse (2007)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (1/08)




The heroine in this story is Catherine Moore.  In spite of her liberal upbringing by her free-spirited mother, Catherine is pretty conservative in her views.  She is a doctoral student who tries to find rational explanations for paranormal events.  The more that she is drawn into the plot in this story, the less she finds herself able to do so. 

Catherine resides in her deceased mother's home.  She seems to be in kind of a funk, unable to really feeling passionate about anything.  That is until some mysterious events start taking place around her.  Catherine now has something to get excited about.  In addition to strange events taking place around Catherine, she also finds herself drawing closer to her grandmother, Natasha who shares her story of her painful upbringing during World War II in Crimea and she also tells her of her childhood friend Lilya, who just disappeared one day.  Catherine finds herself relieving Lilya's life and memories.  She becomes totally drawn into Lilya's story and yearns to find out what happened to her.  People, from the past and future, play into the story as Catherine continues her search.

"The Disappearance of Lilya Berkirova" is a wonderful story.  I found myself having difficulties in putting it down.  Just as Catherine wanted answers, so did I.  The author, Michelle D. Dixon, has extensive experience on the subject of the Crimean Tatars.  She uses her knowledge of this to add depth to her story.  She successfully weaves several dramas from both past and present into one story.  At the center of this is Catherine, who appears to have a supernatural link to the past. 

I found myself really enjoying the mysteries and paranormal touches, but I also enjoyed the historical elements that were presented about the Crimea Tatars.   Having personally known someone, from the Ukraine, who suffered greatly during this time, I felt that Dixon really did an incredible job of telling their story of loss and suffering.  There was no easy way out of the hardships forced upon the people at the time.  The only thing that people had to hang on to was their spiritual and faith-based beliefs.  Those who didn't have that had nothing.  Yet some people died for these beliefs.  Dixon did an incredible job of getting the feelings of hunger and helplessness across to me.  I wanted to celebrate as both Catherine and Lilya began evolving spiritually.  A whole new world opened to both of them, literally.

I highly recommend this novel.  "The Disappearance of Lilya Berkirova" would also make a wonderful gift for people who enjoy both paranormal and historical stories.  


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