“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Paul Boese
What a fantastic debut novel, this begins in the late 1800’s with the birth of Vaclav Skala fourth son, Karel, and the death of his loving wife Klara during childbirth. We then jump to 1910 where Vaclav uses his four sons as he would horses to plow his fields. Vaclav keeps his horses rested and ready to race, the prize is a bet on a parcel of land. His youngest, Karel, is the rider in the race and he hasn’t lost yet, that is until Guillermi Villasenor shows up with his three daughters. Villasenor has come to find his daughters a husband. Vaclav’s three oldest sons are very pleased with what they see and are ready to marry them.
Villasenor challenges Vaclav to a race for a parcel of Vaclav’s land. The race is set and Karel, his youngest son, and Graciela Villasenor’s daughter will race her horse against Karel. The race will not turn out the way Vaclav expects as Karel loses to Graciela.
Now Vaclav is upset that Karel has lost and a fight ensues between Vaclav and his four sons. The three older sons fight against Vaclav and Karel. This fight causes a great strain on the relationship between Vaclav and his three older sons. It seems that Vaclav has much stronger feelings for Karel and Karel stays with and learns from his father as well as takes care of him until his untimely death.
Karel has married Sophie and has two daughters. Sophie is pregnant with their third child. Karel becomes a proud father of a baby boy. It seems that Karel is much closer to his children than his father was with him and his brothers.
The story jumps between the past and the future to encompass the way things were as they were growing up and what they’ve become in the future as adults.
What was once a seemingly happy family turns into a very strained relationship for all and as the book progresses a tragic turn of events brings the brothers and their wives back together.
The author did exceptionally well with the writing of this debut novel. I always felt that I was right there entwined in the events as they unfolded. I never lost interest as I read and highly recommend this book and will read other books authored by Bruce Machart.