Spoiler-Free Review: From Ashes Into Light by Gudrun Mouw
*I received a physical copy of this book from the author/publisher in trade for an honest review*Thank you!*
Title - From Ashes Into Light
Author - Gudrun Mouw
Pages - 240 Pages
Synopsis - From Ashes into Light is a transpersonal tale of epic tragedy, spirituality, family, and personal redemption. It is told through three distinct voices: the hauntingly tragic story of Ruth, a Jewish adolescent during Kristallnacht in Austria, Saqapaya, a stalwart Native American from coastal California during the time of the Spanish conquest, and Friede Mai.
Friede is born during World War II to a Bavarian soldier and a East-Prussian mother. As those around her struggle with the inevitable chaos and paradox of war, Friede opens her heart to gruesome enemies, at times saving herself and family members from atrocities.
With war behind them, the Mai family immigrates to the US, where Friede, her veteran father and ex-refugee mother, struggle with the reverberations of trauma. Friede is unable to find inner freedom until she meets her spiritual guide, a Rabbi, who helps her see that the voices from the past are teachers and the horrors of history are also beacons of light.
The three electric characters weave a narrative of raw consciousness, a moving example of transforming the ripple of suffering through the incredible strength of vulnerability.
Each character had problems to face and each problem is one that people in the time of the war would've experienced. You got to see how these characters faced these problems and you really got to see them grow as a person (and age wise as well.)
I personally think Friede grew as a person the most and the change in her was such a good one - she learnt to see the good in every situation and she began to stand up for herself a lot more.
Each character I really cared for apart from Saqapaya (I did still care for her, just not as much as the other two) and I think this may have been to how confusing her story was to me. The other two also started off as quite confusing but further in I was able to distinguish what was happening but I found I was never able to do this with Saqapaya.
Each chapter is labelled with the character's name that chapter focuses on and every now and again this label will say The Phoenix. This 'Phoenix' is one of the things that ties this character together, it flies around and follows these characters.
The writing style was good and at times it had a hint of a poetic style which fit with the story quite well. I will insert some quotes if I remember below.
At times the writing did slow down things and I had to try and push through and continue on but it is worth doing so.
The plot had a lot of depth and it isn't something that could easily be written well but Gudrun Mouw did an excellent job and managed to succeed in carrying out such a great storyline. Like I said above there was some confusion at parts, but most of it cleared up by the end.
I really enjoyed the way that the author linked the different characters together using the Phoenix as it was a great idea and that way you could see from all the areas of the world where the characters would go and what was happening.
There was some parts that were in German (I think it was German) and because I'm English and don't speak much German I don't really know whether it was accurate or not, but author handily put in a translation guide at the back so you could check certain words.
After finishing this book, I didn't know exactly what to rate it and I'm still not 100 %. I enjoyed the story overall and the characters but due to my confusion I would have to lower the rate.
Overall, I think that the rating should be around a 4/5 ish.
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