Rivka's War: A Novel
Rivka is a young Jewish girl in WWI-era Russia. While visiting her brother, she hears an inspirational speech by Yashka, a Russian woman and war veteran. Yashka is so zealous in her patriotism that she is formulating a battalion of women, a "Battalion of Death." Several young women, including Rivka, are inspired to follow her. The battalion goes into combat, fighting against the German enemy and the skepticism of fellow Russians. Oser's tale should be riveting, but the novel meanders significantly. Rivka herself is a compelling heroine, representing both the Jewish diaspora and the precarious politics of the time very well. However, there are too many stories, which are given too little time and focus, leaving a feeling of being rushed and scattered.