Official Review: The Vine and the Cross by Jean Marie Ivey

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
Forum rules
Authors and publishers are not able to post replies in the review topics.
User avatar
Cecilia_L
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 3517
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 278
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: Flavours of Australia by Jonette George

Official Review: The Vine and the Cross by Jean Marie Ivey

Post by Cecilia_L » 23 Aug 2019, 09:05

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Vine and the Cross" by Jean Marie Ivey.]
Book Cover
4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


Set in 1987 USSR in the Republic of Georgia, The Vine and the Cross by Jean Marie Ivey is historical fiction that intertwines themes of romance, faith, and mystery. Alexandra visits the country during a singing tour with the Surry Opera Company and is transported through the beautiful Georgian music to 4th century AD. On her mystical journey, she witnesses sacrificial love, martyrdom, and the origin of Christianity in the country.

During her singing tour, Ivey was haunted by “the feeling that she had lived there before" and inspired to write the book. I found the 107-page read beautifully written and professionally edited. The timeline alternated between 1987 and the 4th century. Throughout the book, adaptations of classic Bible stories were woven through dialogues between characters. Through her artwork, photographs, and skillful use of imagery, Ivey effectively intertwined the Georgian culture, roots of Christianity, and the opera company performance. A photograph of Saint Nino's Grapevine Cross and the iconic legend of the robe of Jesus provided further insight into Ivey's fondness for the country. Like her main character, Alexandra, I felt transported in time.

Ivey's love for the Georgian culture was evident, and I particularly enjoyed her enchanting descriptions interspersed throughout the book. Alexandra's reactions to savoring Turkish coffee, perusing the charming markets, and awe upon visiting the Sioni Cathedral of Dormition were conveyed in exquisite details. I also appreciated Ivey's inclusion of the beautiful Georgian alphabet symbols in many of the subtitles. Additionally, Ivey's lovely paintings were a treat and showcased the vine and cross referred to in the title, Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, and Jvari Monastery.

At the beginning of the book, Ivey expressed gratitude to Walter Nowick, the founder and director of the Surry Opera Company. I understood Ivey's desire to retell her story as historical fiction, but Walter was mentioned by the fictional character, Alexandra; the resulting confusion was the only thing I disliked about the book. Alexandra's character seemed to be a representation of Ivey, so I wondered why she didn't also rename Walter for the sake of consistency, which would have prevented confusion.

Even so, this is a minor inconsistency in an otherwise engaging story. I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to fans of historical fiction and those interested in Georgian music, opera, and culture. While the book emphasizes Christianity, Walter is Buddhist, and the book also includes spiritual mysticism. For this reason, it may appeal to readers of various religions. It contains no profanity or sexual content.

******
The Vine and the Cross
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

User avatar
Michelle Fred
Posts: 465
Joined: 19 Mar 2019, 05:19
Favorite Book: Sugar & Spice
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 38
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-michelle-fred.html
Latest Review: The Cartel Crusher by Dan E. Hendrickson

Post by Michelle Fred » 24 Aug 2019, 04:32

The book seems interesting based on your review, but I'm not really drawn to the themes explored; the time period is too dated for me. Thanks.

User avatar
OuKoyoo
Posts: 178
Joined: 20 Jul 2019, 17:01
2019 Reading Goal: 40
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 7
Currently Reading: The Barnyard Buddies Meet a Newcomer
Bookshelf Size: 24
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-oukoyoo.html
Latest Review: Do I Need a Will or a Trust by Taylor Willingham

Post by OuKoyoo » 24 Aug 2019, 11:37

I love the themes that the author explores in this book even though I am not a fan of historical fictions. Thank you for the insightful review.

User avatar
Cecilia_L
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 3517
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 278
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: Flavours of Australia by Jonette George

Post by Cecilia_L » 24 Aug 2019, 13:32

Michelle Fred wrote:
24 Aug 2019, 04:32
The book seems interesting based on your review, but I'm not really drawn to the themes explored; the time period is too dated for me. Thanks.
Thanks for your comment, Michelle.

User avatar
Cecilia_L
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 3517
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 278
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: Flavours of Australia by Jonette George

Post by Cecilia_L » 24 Aug 2019, 13:33

OuKoyoo wrote:
24 Aug 2019, 11:37
I love the themes that the author explores in this book even though I am not a fan of historical fictions. Thank you for the insightful review.
Thank you.

User avatar
Amanda Deck
Posts: 467
Joined: 02 Jun 2018, 21:00
Currently Reading: A Sight For Psychic Eyes
Bookshelf Size: 91
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-amanda-deck.html
Latest Review: Disappearance by Julien Ayotte

Post by Amanda Deck » 24 Aug 2019, 14:27

This sounds really interesting to me. I love time travel books and this sounds beautifully written and illustrated. It makes me remember a trip I made once to (then) Czechoslovakia and how totally different everything was compared to America. Also, I knew a family from Moldova and heard all the troubles and persecution they suffered there as Christians. A story about that part of the world and Christianity sounds like something I want to read.

User avatar
AntonelaMaria
Posts: 400
Joined: 17 Apr 2019, 14:31
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 113
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-antonelamaria.html
Latest Review: Cynthia and Dan by Dorothy May Mercer

Post by AntonelaMaria » 24 Aug 2019, 16:34

I'm intrigued by this book. Also, the time jump is really interesting I don't think I ever read a historical fiction book like that. I like your review. It is very on point.
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
The Minpins by Roald Dahl

User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 9292
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2019 Reading Goal: 95
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 77
Currently Reading: Sunshine at the Academy
Bookshelf Size: 308
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kandscreeley.html
Latest Review: Forever Will End: Gospel of Chaos Book One by Dom Brandt

Post by kandscreeley » 24 Aug 2019, 17:18

I'm glad that there book is clean as that makes it quite appealing to me. The way some things are stated, though, I wonder if it discusses reincarnation? Thanks for the review.
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
-Louisa May Alcott

kdstrack
Posts: 3894
Joined: 10 May 2017, 19:49
2019 Reading Goal: 100
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 104
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 106
Currently Reading: Deadly Waters
Bookshelf Size: 287
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kdstrack.html
Latest Review: True Grit and Grace by Amberly Lago

Post by kdstrack » 24 Aug 2019, 18:57

There is so much to like about this book. The alternating timelines and the historical insights intrigue me. You had me when you mentioned "savoring Turkish coffee!" I think the paintings would also enhance the story. Thanks for this fantastic review.

User avatar
Cecilia_L
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 3517
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 278
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: Flavours of Australia by Jonette George

Post by Cecilia_L » 24 Aug 2019, 19:47

Amanda Deck wrote:
24 Aug 2019, 14:27
This sounds really interesting to me. I love time travel books and this sounds beautifully written and illustrated. It makes me remember a trip I made once to (then) Czechoslovakia and how totally different everything was compared to America. Also, I knew a family from Moldova and heard all the troubles and persecution they suffered there as Christians. A story about that part of the world and Christianity sounds like something I want to read.
Thanks for your comment.

User avatar
Cecilia_L
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 3517
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 278
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: Flavours of Australia by Jonette George

Post by Cecilia_L » 24 Aug 2019, 19:48

AntonelaMaria wrote:
24 Aug 2019, 16:34
I'm intrigued by this book. Also, the time jump is really interesting I don't think I ever read a historical fiction book like that. I like your review. It is very on point.
Thank you.

User avatar
Cecilia_L
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 3517
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 278
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: Flavours of Australia by Jonette George

Post by Cecilia_L » 24 Aug 2019, 19:55

kandscreeley wrote:
24 Aug 2019, 17:18
I'm glad that there book is clean as that makes it quite appealing to me. The way some things are stated, though, I wonder if it discusses reincarnation? Thanks for the review.
There is a reference to reincarnation, but it's more about Christianity, and the character trying to understand her experience. Thanks for your comment.

User avatar
Cecilia_L
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 3517
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 278
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: Flavours of Australia by Jonette George

Post by Cecilia_L » 24 Aug 2019, 19:56

kdstrack wrote:
24 Aug 2019, 18:57
There is so much to like about this book. The alternating timelines and the historical insights intrigue me. You had me when you mentioned "savoring Turkish coffee!" I think the paintings would also enhance the story. Thanks for this fantastic review.
Thank you. The author's descriptions were truly excellent.

User avatar
cpru68
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1191
Joined: 14 Feb 2018, 19:21
2019 Reading Goal: 24
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 100
2018 Reading Goal: 24
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 229
Favorite Book: What My Dog Taught Me About Jesus
Currently Reading: Gnarlys of the North Woods
Bookshelf Size: 148
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cpru68.html
Latest Review: Commissioner of Garbage by Cathy Hodsdon
Reading Device: B00HCNHDN0

Post by cpru68 » 24 Aug 2019, 20:13

Such a short book with what seems like a lot jam-packed into it. I love historical fiction if it has the right combination of subjects, and this one sounds like it does. I will look into this one further. Thanks for the insight to this.
Everything happens for a reason...

User avatar
reneelu1998
Posts: 199
Joined: 30 Mar 2019, 16:27
2019 Reading Goal: 50
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 130
Favorite Book: The Outsiders
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 94
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-reneelu1998.html
Latest Review: The Broadcast by Liam Fialkov
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by reneelu1998 » 24 Aug 2019, 20:26

Oh, I love historical fiction! With it being only 107 pages, that sounds like a quick and enjoyable read. Thanks for the review!

Post Reply

Return to “Historical Fiction”