Friday, January 24, 2014

Degrees of Courage by Shari Vester

Angela was the beginning and Ilonka was the end....two amazing women in DEGREES OF  COURAGE.

Angela Bohaczek's life was put on hold at the age of 18 when her mother died.  She had to take care of her nine brothers and sisters and her father since she was the oldest and her father had no interest in taking care of the family.  

You will follow Angela's life through this ordeal as well as many other situations both pleasant and unpleasant. Angela's daughter, Lensie/Ilonka, is the other major character along with her children.

The book flows nicely and has very interesting characters who will win your heart as well as make you hate some of them.   Ilonka was my favorite because of the love she had for her family and how she carried on through thick and thin times.  Ilonka's life was the main focus of the book.

Ms. Vester did a fantastic job of keeping my interest and creating an excellent storyline for the entire 600 pages. You will love the family saga and the historical facts about Europe and Hungary from the year 1900 to 1970.  DEGREES OF COURAGE did get a bit slow with all the political topics, but they were necessary for the gist of the book.

Despite the political aspect, it is well worth the 600-page read because of the storyline and because of the characters, the excellent writing, and the detailed descriptions. The book was mainly in the narrative style.  You will feel as though you are with the characters sharing all their love, their turmoil, their sadness, and their happy times.

DEGREES OF COURAGE is about strong women who unquestioningly loved their families.  I loved the old-fashioned dating with chaperones that was part of the book and the homey feeling the story and the characters gave the reader.

I also really liked the way the author would make a statement at the end of a chapter that was stating something that was to come in upcoming pages of the book.  It kept up the suspense.
The characters were wonderful, and when the book was over or when I put the book down, I missed them and wanted to know what was going to happen next.  I became very attached and interested in their lives, and it was sad to close the last page.

I enjoyed DEGREES OF COURAGE and am going to rate the book a 4/5.  

My rating of a 4/5 is because of the book’s length and the political information, but DEGREES OF COURAGE was excellent because the marvelous characters drew you in and kept you reading.

This book was given to me free of charge by the author and publisher in return for an honest review.



  1. I hope you get to read this book.

  2. I'm very interested in Eastern Europe, thanks for the review of this book.

  3. THANKS for stopping, Teresa.

    The characters were wonderful. I hope you get to read it.

  4. That is a great feat, keeping the story flowing for 600 pages. Sounds like a good one. Thanks for sharing.

  5. It was good.

    THANKS for stopping, Laurel.

  6. i found this book superb. My feeling is that the main goal of the book was actually to present the history of Hungary, but to make it lively, she chose to present it through a historical novel based on the strong women of her family.
    as Ken Follet said somewhere: readers enjoy more fiction than nonfiction, so some choose to write histfic instead of history

  7. I enjoyed it too...loved the characters.

    THANKS for stopping, wordsandpeace.

  8. fascinating human interest stories - def a change from fiction!

    Have a good week Elizabeth...

  9. THANKS for stopping, Faith Hope Cherrytea.