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Flights of the Herons

  • Also available as: Perfect Bound Softcover
  • Published: November 2001
  • Format: E-Book
  • Pages: 212
  • Size: 5.5x8.5
  • ISBN: 9781462809837
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Far from being a treatise on birds, “Flights of the Herons” is about people.

Emily Dickinson wrote: "Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul." What else but hope drives the suffering to continue searching for that brightly-lit doorway that leads to freedom from oppression?

"Flights of the Herons" binds three members of the Reyher family together in their flights from oppression in a seamless narrative that will keep you spellbound until the very end.

Frank, a professional man living in Youngstown, Ohio, and grieving over the death of his wife, takes up genealogy.  He uncovers fascinating facts regarding his REYHER ancestral history, (Reyher means heron in German) and plans a trip to Germany with his mother to obtain further information. Two weeks before their departure, Frank learns that a possible relative, Katie, whom he has not heard of before, has won a literary award.  On the assumption they are related, he decides to write her to suggest collaboration on a genealogy-inspired book that would tell the captivating story of their common great-great-grandfather, Johann Gotthard Reyher, who in 1819 fled the oppression of mandatory mercenary servitude in the German Kingdom of Wuerttemberg to emigrate to the United States.

Frank’s mother cautions this Katie he seeks is from an Old Order Mennonite family.  Since that religion prohibits school attendance beyond the eighth grade, she could not possibly have won a literary award.  Frank perseveres and writes the letter.

Katie, married, is an attractive housewife who lives in Arkansas, and is painfully embarrassed over a limp, {a metaphor for women who suffer the battering effects of emotional abuse}, she acquired in an accident a couple of years earlier.  Her husband Ken, an ambitious advertising executive, is extremely controlling and subjects Katie to disastrous emotional and verbal abuse. Although terrified when first receiving Frank´s letter, Katie finds solace within his words. Through sneaky emails, she converses with Frank and eventually agrees to a clandestine meeting at her childhood homestead, which is the homestead Johann Godhard Reyher purchased when first coming to America. The story, a fiction, nevertheless contains true genealogy information on the Hans Gotthard Reyher family, and dates back to even a much earlier ancestor, Hans Reyher, who migrated to Wuerttemberg from Switzerland after the Thirty Years’ War.

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