Tuesday 24 October 2023

πŸ“– Book Review ~ Salt of the Earth by J J Marsh

Prewitt Bielman Ltd
6 October 2023

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

Based on true events, a forgotten story of courage, conviction and love.

1917: Europe is on the cusp of seismic change. In the Alpine village of St Niklaus, the war seems far away. Yet everyone is fighting a personal battle.

In the shadow of a mountain, 14-year-old Seraphine helps Mama manage the farm while Papa defends Swiss borders. She dreams of seeing the world. After the war.

A young medical graduate arrives in the valley. Under the patronage of a local doctor, he puts his faith in a revolutionary idea. He is determined to influence the world. After the war.

Dr Bayard cannot wait until after the war. In the most beautiful place on earth, people still suffer from a centuries-old affliction. Armed with a theory, two sacks of salt and a mule, Bayard climbs a mountain, intent on treating one tiny village.

The paths of two unlikely young people cross in turbulent times – against the backdrop of one country doctor's fight against folklore, prejudice and false pride.

Salt of the Earth is a journey of bravery and broken hearts following their call. A quest for love and healing in the face of precarious destiny.

πŸ“– My Review..

We take modern medical advances for granted and yet we do well to remember those whose perseverance and skill led to some amazing breakthroughs in medical science. In this beautifully detailed novel we follow the story of Seraphine, a wise teenager, whose love and devotion towards her younger disabled half-siblings is as enlightening as it is endearing especially when her path crosses with that of Bastian Favre, who, released from the army, takes up a place at the University of ZΓΌrich. Whilst the long shadow of The Great War war still rages across Europe, Bastian embraces a new, and quite different, life as a medical undergraduate.

Without revealing too much, this intricately researched story looks at the emergence of a medical breakthrough concerning iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism, serious medical conditions which afflicted the population of the Alpine area where Seraphine lived. Bastion’s link with the area, and his connection to Seraphine, are beautifully explored by an author who knows how to keep the reader invested in place, time and characters. The author uses her words eloquently and with such lyrical quality that I found myself returning to re-read paragraphs and phrases, catching unexpected moments in the heart of the story and in the beautifully detailed reason d’etre of the book’s title. Salt of the Earth is a lovely story about loss, hardship and the advancement of a medical treatment which will have a profound effect on lives going forwards.

About the author

Writer, journalist, teacher, actor, director and cultural trainer, Jill has lived in Africa, the Middle East and all over Europe.

Nowadays, she is a full-time writer, founder member of Triskele Books, co-editor of ZΓΌrich literary hub The Woolf, European correspondent for Words with JAM,reviewer for Bookmuse and professional copywriter.

X @JJMarsh1

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