“Words on Fire” by Jennifer Nielsen appeared on the FLVS Book Club’s 2022-23 reading list. If you liked this book review, perhaps the Book Club is a good fit for you!
Title: Words on Fire
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Genre: Historical fiction
“Words on Fire” is a historical fiction novel set in 1893 Lithuania, following the journey of a girl named Audra. Faced with the decision to carry on her parents’ work, Audra must overcome her fears and fight to preserve her culture.
Moments before the Russian Cossacks burn Audra’s home and take her parents away, her mother instructs her to deliver a package to Milda, a woman residing in another village. Along her journey, Audra meets Lukas, a boy her age, and discovers her parents’ involvement in book smuggling. Initially hesitant, Audra gradually develops an appreciation for books after Lukas presents her with an alphabet book. Meanwhile, the danger to Audra and her parents persists. Uncertain if they are imprisoned in Lithuania or destined for Siberia where survival is unlikely, Audra wonders if book smuggling can provide a chance to save them.
“Words on Fire” captivated me with its thrilling storyline. One aspect I particularly enjoyed was Audra’s numerous encounters with the Russian Cossacks and her resourcefulness in evading them. For instance, she saves Lukas from the Cossacks by using a snake to startle their horses. As the horses flee, the soldiers give chase. This book had me on the edge of my seat.
I highly recommend “Words on Fire” to anyone seeking a fast-paced and gripping historical fiction narrative.