The Crooked Path

the crooked path

The Crooked Path
Irma Joubert
Thomas Nelson, 2017

Life is pretty good for Lettie Louw. She has parents who love her, friends she loves, and she is bright enough to become a doctor like her father. But Lettie is also on the heavy side, and as she goes through high school and college watching her thinner friends pair up, she eventually believes that it will never happen for her. On her first day as a new partner in her father’s practice she treats Marco Romanelli, and her life begins to change.

Marco doesn’t like to relive the past. Memories of his time in the concentration camp and the loss he experienced are painful, to say the least. But as Lettie treats him for the illness he contracted there that has ravaged his body so badly that he was forced to leave Italy and his family, he begins to open up and find healing. The unlikely pair are drawn to each other, but they must face many twists and turns as they navigate the crooked path of life together.

This post contains affiliate links. Read more about that here. Thanks to TLC Book Tours for including me in the book tour for The Crooked Path and for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

I can’t say enough good things about this book. The Crooked Path is a story of love, loss, friendship, and so much more. Set primarily against the back drop of South Africa before and after WWII, and Italy during the war, this story took me to places I’m not used to going. And even though I read a lot of historical fiction, I haven’t read extensively in this time period. I realize that that is unique to me and might not be the case for everyone, it was a nice change of pace for me.

It didn’t take long for me to become emotionally invested in these characters and to feel deeply for them as they went through so many painful struggles. The part of the book that follows Marco through his time in a Jewish concentration camp and how he came to be there was heartbreaking. And then when things are beginning to look up you hit chapter fourteen. I may have shed a small tear in chapter fourteen, which is unusual for me. I’m generally a pretty stoic reader, but that chapter gut punched me.

There are two other particular things that I wanted to mention that make The Crooked Path so great. The first is that the author does an outstanding job of incorporating world and local history of the time into the story so that it comes alive in a really rich, full way. The second thing is that this book addresses a topic that I have very, very rarely encountered in historical fiction, and that is body image. Body image is a hot topic in our current culture, but I don’t think it was something that was a frequently discussed issue in the 1930’s and 40’s. That was such an interesting addition to the story for me, and I felt like it really fleshed out Lettie’s character in a way a lot of readers would be able to relate with.

Two thumbs up for The Crooked Path. If you like books that give you all the feels then you definitely need to give this one a try!


  1. OOOOhhhh!!! So many things about this book make me want to carve out some time to read it. My favorite time period, one of my favorite countries, a historical event that intrigues me and the topic of body image. Thanks for suggesting it!

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