Behind God's Back by Miki Knezevic

SKU: 9781479254521

Bombs, roses, and gold coins are symbols of war, love, and survival as a Serbian doctor grapples her way through World War I, World War II and the early communist era in Yugoslavia.

Behind God's Back follows Desa Jovanovic through a time period—1914-1962—where history rises to crush peace whenever it starts to rise from the dregs of war. As a teenager, Desa witnesses and experiences such misery in World War I that she decides to become a healer. Against strong odds, after the war, she wins a medical scholarship to Montpellier, France. Determined to take advantage of her scholarship, Desa keeps her nose to the grindstone regardless of the convivial atmosphere of Montpellier. Despite her determination, she cannot help being intrigued by a tall, handsome Serbian law student, Danilo Maric, whom she must try to win away from a beautiful French student.

After several years and many unforeseen setbacks, Desa wins Danilo's heart and they're married back in Belgrade. Deaths and births, careers and relationships cement and sometimes strain their union. Overall, however, the period of calm in Europe between world wars is generally favorable for the young couple. When Hitler bombs Belgrade in April of l941, everything Desa and Danilo have built implodes. The initial bombings claim 20,000 victims and it's a downhill spiral from there. Amid the bombing, shelling and rigid Nazi occupation of Belgrade and its environs, Desa tries with all means available to her to save her family and patients. Danilo joins the resistance and suffers the consequences.

A civil war rages in Yugoslavia along with the struggle for existence against the Nazis. The Nazi occupation of Belgrade ends with the invasion of Soviet troops. Citizens rejoice. The Russians lead the way for Tito's Partisans to occupy Belgrade and eventually all of Yugoslavia. Desa soon learns that communist rule will be just as cruel as the Nazi occupation.

The tales of how Desa, her family and friends survive the upheavals of the 20th century rip through the pages of Behind God's Back. Desa's medical journey explores the frustrations and progress of medicine in this monumental era. Desa's journey is not all war and tragedy, however, as the spirit of the Serbian people in these difficult times endures with love and laughter, simple gatherings and the celebration of traditional holidays. Behind God's Back should appeal to readers of gripping historical fictions like Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese; Corelli's Mandolin and Birds Without Wings, Louis de Bernieres; and Shanghai Girls, Lisa See.

Behind God's Back
Price: $16.99