Push not the River

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Push Not the River is a historical romance novel by author James Conroyd Martin. The setting takes place in Poland in the times leading up to and during the 1792 Partition of Poland. It is based on the unpublished diary of Countess Anna Maria Berezowska.

Plot summary[edit]

The story starts when the 17-year-old Anna's parents die. She moves in with Aunt Stella and Uncle Leo and her cousins Walter and Zofia, a very manipulative and promiscuous girl. Anna later meets Jan Stelnicki and falls in love almost instantly and remains obsessed with him for most of her life. Zofia, however, wanted Jan and out of her jealously she tricks Anna into coming into the forest with her where she abandons her. While there Anna is raped by a stranger and Leo goes to where Anna was raped, but he gets stuck and Zofia and Walter watch him die. Anna is married off shortly after her attack to Antoni and the rest of the family move to Warsaw.

Now living in Warsaw, Anna's life changes drastically. The Constitution of May 3, 1791 is signed by King Stanisław August Poniatowski, giving the peasants human rights. Many Polish nobles are enraged by the new laws, and call for Catherine the Great of Russia to deliver them. Anna discovers she is pregnant from being raped and gives birth to a son. It is revealed that it was Walter, who supports the Russians, was the one who raped Anna. Anna becomes a supporter of Polish independence, but is forced to watch as her country is overrun by hostile powers. As the victorious Russians march on Warsaw, Zofia sacrifices herself to buy time for Anna and her family to flee the war torn city.

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