Spotlight & Author Guest Post: The Woman Behind the Waterfall by Leonora Meriel

Book Blurb & Info

Heartbreak and transformation in the beauty of a Ukrainian village.

For seven-year old Angela, happiness is exploring the lush countryside around her home in western Ukraine. Her wild imagination takes her into birds and flowers, and into the waters of the river.

All that changes when, one morning, she sees her mother crying. As she tries to find out why, she is drawn on an extraordinary journey into the secrets of her family, and her mother's fateful choices.

Can Angela lead her mother back to happiness before her innocence is destroyed by the shadows of a dark past?

Beautiful, poetic and richly sensory, this is a tale that will haunt and lift its readers.

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Reviews for The Woman Behind the Waterfall

“Readers looking for a classic tale of love and loss will be rewarded with an intoxicating world” ~~ Kirkus Reviews

“The language is lyrical and poetic and, in places, begs to be read repeatedly for the sheer joy of it… A literary work of art.” ~~ Fiona Adams, The Richmond Magazine

“Rich and poetic in detail, it is an often dreamy, oneiric narrative rooted in an exaltation of nature… A lovely novel.” ~~ IndieReader

Author Guest Post

Hello and thank you for inviting me to your book blog. I am happy to be in any place where there are book lovers and writers and readers!

I would like to talk a little today about the country where my debut novel “The Woman Behind the Waterfall” is set – Ukraine.

I came to the country of Ukraine knowing nothing about it, and was entirely swept away by the beauty, the warmth, the culture, the food, the laughter, the resilience, the intelligence of the people. It is a country which goes very deep into your heart. I ended up living there for 10 years, in which time I explored the cities and the countryside, and made many friends.

I decided to set my debut novel there, in part so that I could create a window for people to get a glimpse of what a beautiful country it is. My main character lives in a small village in the countryside in the western part of Ukraine, near to Lviv. At the beginning of the book, we see the spring time, when everything is breathtakingly abundant and you can feel the plants and flowers growing around you. The noises of the village are special too – the dogs barking, cockerels crowing, children laughing, the babulyas (grandmothers) gossiping, the market humming, the toads cackling, the goats bleating. It’s a time of very intense life and it is especially shocking after the long, long winter, which lasts from November to March, with long periods of deep snow.

The other season I had in my book was the winter, when my main character is very isolated and her life has fallen apart. The winter is the absolute opposite to the abundant spring in Ukraine, and life really slows down or stops during these months. There are weeks when snow falls constantly, and just leaving the house is incredibly difficult. You have to live off the foods you have saved and prepared – pickled vegetables; salted meat; soups. It is a strange and reflective time, but also has its own amazing beauty.

I tried in my novel “The Woman Behind the Waterfall” to create an impression of the beauty of Ukraine, and of what village life is really like. My deepest hope is that it will spark interest in this wonderful country and lead people to find out more about it, or even visit. There is so much there to discover!

Leonora Meriel is the author of “The Woman Behind the Waterfall” (published October 2016, Granite Cloud), called “an intoxicating world” by Kirkus Reviews; “a timeless and universal novel” by Goodreads reviewers, “a strange and beautiful novel” by writer Esther Freud. Her second novel “The Unity Game” was published 1 May 2017.
Author Info

Leonora Meriel grew up in London and studied literature at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and Queen’s University in Canada. She worked at the United Nations in New York, and then for a multinational law firm.

In 2003 she moved from New York to Kyiv, where she founded and managed Ukraine’s largest Internet company. She studied at Kyiv Mohyla Business School and earned an MBA, which included a study trip around China and Taiwan, and climbing to the top of Hoverla, Ukraine’s highest peak and part of the Carpathian Mountains. She also served as President of the International Women’s Club of Kyiv, a major local charity.

During her years in Ukraine, she learned to speak Ukrainian and Russian, witnessed two revolutions and got to know an extraordinary country at a key period of its development.

In 2008, she decided to return to her dream of being a writer, and to dedicate her career to literature. In 2011, she completed The Woman Behind the Waterfall, set in a village in western Ukraine. While her first novel was with a London agent, Leonora completed her second novel The Unity Game, set in New York City and on a distant planet.

Leonora currently lives in Barcelona and London and has two children. She is working on her third novel.

Author Links
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