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Push Not the River (The Poland Trilogy #1)

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4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,829 Ratings  ·  388 Reviews
A panoramic and epic novel in the grand romantic style, Push Not the River is the rich story of Poland in the late 1700s--a time of heartache and turmoil as the country's once peaceful people are being torn apart by neighboring countries and divided loyalties. It is then, at the young and vulnerable age of seventeen, when Lady Anna Maria Berezowska loses both of her parent ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published September 2nd 2004 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2000)
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Lynn Spencer
Oct 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that I should probably think is terrible, but I.Just.Could.Not.Stop.Reading. Supposedly, this novel is based upon an 18th century Polish noblewoman's diary which was suppressed by her descendants for its scandalous content. The heroine, Anna Maria, certainly goes through all manner of trials and tribulations - everything from rape to being caught in her selfish cousin's scheming. Even though the characterizations are a bit thin and the events more than a bit melodramat ...more
Rebecca Huston
After reading some enthusiastic reviews, I decided to read this one -- and I hated it. Set in the late 18th century, it tells the story of a young Polish countess, Anna Maria, who goes through every sort of mayhem and abuse during the partition of Poland by Russia, Prussia and Austria. Improbable situations, one-note characters and 'tell, not show' writing sunk this one for me. I understand there's a sequel, but I'm not going there.

For the longer review, please go here:
http://www.epinions.com/re
...more
JudiAnne
Oct 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book was very educational as well as being one of the best books that I have ever read. I have the sequel "A Crimson Sky" waiting for me at the library. Can't wait!
Leslie
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: If you enjoy grand historical fictions such as Gone With the Wind
One of the things I enjoy most about historical fictions is the opportunity it gives me to learn about a certain time period or event(s) that I didn’t know about. It is even better when it is packaged within a story on such a sweeping and grand level such as Gone With the Wind (which I loved). So it’s not surprising that I loved Push Not the River by James Conroyd Martin and gave it the high rating.

From the very beginning until the very end, I was thoroughly absorbed in Lady Anna Maria Berezowsk
...more
MAP
May 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
BOOOOOORING.

I was really hoping this one would be interesting, since it's historical fiction about a totally different place and time period than I'm used to -- Poland at the end of the 18th century. But no. Boring boring. The goodies are all good, the baddies are all bad, no one has any motivation for anything they do, and by the last 150 pages I was skimming, had no idea what was going on, and didn't care.

And the heroine! TSTL. Her cousin Zofia wonders several times throughout the book what va
...more
Barb
Sep 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jody and people who are afraid of historical fiction
Simultaneously Fascinating, Frightening and Fantastic

James Conroyd Martin has taken the diary of Countess Anna Maria Berezowska and created a dramatic and moving historical novel.

A friend of Martin's, a direct descendant of the Countess's shared her diary with him, he thought her life was fascinating and spent years researching the historical setting for this novelization. He was unable to get his work published and so initially published the book himself.

Many times while reading this story I f
...more
Kathleen
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
PUSH NOT THE RIVER Book 1 of The Poland Trilogy is based on the true eighteenth century diary of Anna Maria Berezowska, a Polish countess who lived through the rise and fall of the Historic Third of May Constitution.
James Conroyd Martin, the author, has mastered the art of describing the characters and setting so thoroughly that I visualized the story as if I were actually at Sochaczew with Anna Maria and her parents and then at Halicz and Warsaw with her Aunt Stella, Zofia and Jan Stelnicki. C
...more
Betty Strohecker
This amazing novel is based on the diary of real life Polish Countess Anna Maria Bereskowska. It tells the story through her eyes of Poland's struggle to exist in the late 1700's as more powerful nations seek to divide this country up to suit their own needs. It is a story of Anna's struggle to find her way when she is left an orphan at 17, and goes to make a new home with her aunt, uncle, and cousins. It is a story of the patriotic Polish people, willing to fight to maintain their culture and t ...more
Erin
Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this historical novel. It reminded me a lot of "Katherine" by Anya Seton. The characters were so well-developed. I loved our heroine Anna who seemed timid and naive but grew so strong despite her trials. And it has been a long time since a character, who shall remain nameless, has made me so upset! While reading this book I actually went to wikipedia and read the history of Poland from 1500-present. I found out there is a sequel which I will be interested to read.
Stephanie Burkhart
Jun 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
“Push Not the River” is a gripping tale of love and loss, not just on a personal scale, but on a national scale, as the Polish nation is finally taken over by the Russians in 1794. “Push Not the River,” is a story based on the Countess Anna Maria Berezowska’s diary which she kept from 1791-1794. Her story is fascinating, compelling, and will have the reader anxiously turning the page to find out what happens next.

The story begins with seventeen-year-old Anna reeling from the loss of her immediat
...more
Wanda
Mar 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: those wanting an escape
This book disappointed me. I learned very little about the partition of Poland in the eighteenth century that I did not already know, and felt that there could have been more historical detail woven throughout. The author tried, but failed. Good historical fiction should use the fiction and history organically, but there was more of a flavor of a romance novel, than good historical fiction to this book. Despite the fact that this was based on a real live person’s diary, I found the characters no ...more
Danielle Gonzalez
This book was amazing. I am not really good with history, so I was not familiar with a lot of the background in this story. However, in addition to reading a great book, I also had a good history lesson. This is the story of Anna Maria Berezowska, a Polish girl from the town of Sochaczew. When she is 17, she suffers a great loss in her life that leads her down a twisted path. The whole book takes you on peaks and valleys as she suffers then finds happiness over and over again. While she is portr ...more
Nikki
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Overall? I was bored. I did not enjoy Martin's writing, his voice did not feel authentic for a female perspective. I absolutely could not stand Zofia, such a miserable character. Anna was either extremely and foolishly trusting or clueless. It took her nearly the entire book to even understand her cousin's (Zofia's) intentions. Since this is based on an actual journal I fear Anna was foolish and slow. However, I do not know how much creative license Martin used. I definitely hope that the "thoug ...more
Anne
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction lovers
What an absolutely stunning novel this is. I was taken in by the first chapter and became deeply involved as the story went on. Lady Anna Bereszowa, a Polish countess is sent to live with relatives after the tragic death of both her parents within days of each other. There she meets dashing Count Jan Strelniki. By now you may wonder if this is just another silly romance story. absolutely not. Anna has a devious cousin whose machinations cause Anna to endure untold tragedy and misery beginning wi ...more
Kami Reeve
I picked this up to read after reading Seton's Katherine as the time periods are similar and I thought it would be interesting to learn what was happening in Poland during the French Peasant Revolt in the late 1700's. While the historical backdrop of this book is interesting and informative, the author focused too much on the bed business of the people of that time period. However, the good people are good in the book and the bad people are a chaos of good and bad intentions. It reads a bit like ...more
Phyllis
I had the audio version of this book and didn't like it. The first part of the book was hard to get through but the second half got more into Polish history in the 1790's and I enjoyed it. I might have given it 4 stars if I would have read it instead of the awful voice on the audio version.
Thom Swennes
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes you must put yourself in the way of destiny.
Poland, without a doubt, may be the most inauspicious country in Europe. Its long and turbulent history is filled with a multitude of invasions, occupations, and divisions. From all directions, foes lay in wait to cross her borders and enslave her peoples and partitioned her lands. With no real topographical barriers to protect her from the invading hoards, Poland lay at the mercy of fate and fate seldom smiled on her. With the terror of the
...more
Kerry
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There is very little that could be considered "historical" in this work of fiction. It's always a shame when a less-known historical period/geographical area is appropriated and the exploited without thorough research. It insults the reader who may know something about it and who is eager to read a well-written fictional account of people who may have lived during that time.

The premise of this book has such potential, set in 18th-century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It makes references to Pol
...more
Bobby
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me begin by saying I'm not big into Romance stories and I had a good scare as this one certainly starts out that way. But I had won this in a Goodread Giveaway and I am faithful to reading the books I have obtained in the Giveaways, so I stuck with it....and am I glad I did! The history of Poland and it's preservation of language and culture was not something I would ever had pursued had I not won this book. James Martin certainly did his homework before venturing into the writing of this no ...more
Maria Aenlle
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book seemed long at first but I got into it right away. This historical novel takes place during the 1770's in Poland while the French Revolution was developing. Many Polish aristocrats wanted to make reforms not only to save themselves from the guillotine but because they believed in a more democratic way of life for all. Catherine of Russia had her sight on Poland and it was not too long before she helped to divide the opinion of the aristocracy to take over the country aided by Prussia a ...more
Elaine
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
According to the author's notes, James Conroyd Martin based "Push not the River" on the unpublished diary of 18th century Polish Countess Anna Maria Berezowsky. I love a good historical novel; "Push" is not one of them. The characters are totally flat (as an aside, a funeral director in this book would be the richest of the rich), and the episodes spin at a fevered pitch, one after another, each with its own far-fetched solution. The book reads very quickly; there are no subtleties to miss. The ...more
Deena
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book, as a historical novel it brought some of Poland's history to life for me. It had just enough of everything to keep me turning pages and although I could do without profanity completely, it was sparsely used. I appreciated that the author did not bring what I considered a modern element into the relationships and views of the characters, as I have seen happen in so many other 'historical' fiction books I've read. I loved the Polish proverbs at the head of each chapter, too. Defin ...more
Crystal
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A Polish Gone with the Wind the cover said. Lush. Romantic. So far so good. What they should have added - for truth in advertising's sake - was: Melodramatic. Overwritten. Improbable. There was hardly a main character I found believable, nor did the author miss any opportunity to include set pieces - rape, murder. If there had been rail service at that time, I am certain he would have had Anna Maria tied to the tracks.

If you want a saga about the tragic history of Poland, you'd be better off wi
...more
Rani
Feb 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
If you loved Gone with the Wind, then pick this one up! I actually would give it 4.5 stars. Historical Fiction based on the unpublished diary of Countess Anna Maria Berezowska. Rich with romance,intrigue, drama,suspense,jealousy and greed,all the while detailing an account of the turbulent times in 18th century Poland.
Chrissie
Jan 10, 2011 rated it did not like it
No, I cannot stand this. I'm dumping it. I am not going to force myself to wade through writing that does not appeal to me. I believe this book is more for those who enjoy fiction of the romance genre.
Cecilia
Dec 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is bar none my favorite book. I feel drawn to the Countess in this story because she is a pillar of hope, faith and patriotism in ones country... She works to overcome all obstacles in order to continue to live even when adversity is thrown into her path. I highly recommend this book.
Rachael Knudsen
Dec 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, romance
A stunning historical work that was rich in depth. I could not put it down. There was not enough of a reprieve in the midst of the story, from the endless miseries of her life, that could allow me to truly love it; despite Anna's miraculously ending up with Jan in the end
Mary Evers
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Such an amazing book! It was an interesting/addicting way to look at the first partition of Poland. I've read it several times, used it as the basis for a college history paper, and was lucky enough to get a copy signed by the author at Milwaukee, WI's Polish Fest.
Zak
Jul 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Though this book seems intended more for women, I learned a lot about Polish history during the late 18th century. The story itself is exciting and interesting enough for everyone to enjoy.
Megan
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would give this book 6 stars if I could! While a little slow to start, once the action began, the shocks flew thick and fast. Set in a tumultuous time in Poland's history when the country is being torn apart by outside forces, Push Not the River's focus is the personal, not necessarily the historical, which for the majority of the novel occurs in the background. Knowing much of the history already, I did not mind this and became thoroughly engaged in the life of Anna Maria Berezowska and her f ...more
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Ticket to Read Bo...: Push Not the River, Book 1 of the Poland Trilogy 2 5 Feb 06, 2018 04:29AM  
A good piece of historical fiction.... 4 23 Jan 31, 2017 12:12PM  
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James Conroyd Martin is the author of Push Not the River, a novel based on the diary of Anna Berezowska, a Polish countess who lived through the rise and fall of the Third of May Constitution. After working on the project for some years without raising interest within the publishing community, Martin self-published in 2001. Just one year later, St. Martin’s Press purchased the book and released a ...more
More about James Conroyd Martin

Other books in the series

The Poland Trilogy (3 books)
  • Against a Crimson Sky (The Poland Trilogy, #2)
  • The Warsaw Conspiracy (The Poland Trilogy #3)

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“What is past, one cannot change,
so each backward glance is a bit of the present slipping away.”
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“If there is no wind, you must learn to row.   —Polish Proverb” 1 likes
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