The Barefoot Road is set in a remote village surrounded by mountains in Transylvania. But, it could be Nazi Germany, Cape Town, South Africa or Des Moines, Iowa, the story is the same—people fear what they do not understand.
There is little understanding in The Barefoot Road, and when people don’t understand, those with an agenda can manipulate them.
To raid villages, murdering women and children.
To send a message by gouging an eye from a woman’s head.
To see evil spirits in the innocent dancing of children.
To slit the throat of an old woman.
The saddest part of it all is while the fearful may not be the ones to perpetrate the violence, they are as guilty for not speaking up or out. They watch and wait then return to their dreary lives where each day is only distinguished from another by birth, death or marriage.
Early in the story, it says, “… that a hunger lay under the earth. It would sleep for a while, a generation perhaps, until, fed on old blood and fear, it would rise again, claiming the land, and the people who lived on it, as its own.”
Nature’s elements and the earth have a starring role in The Barefoot Road, exacting their due even in good weather.
But do I blame a hunger in the earth?
Set aside some time to take this journey and you’ll understand why I don’t blame possessed land but ignorant, foolish men who never learn from life and history and doom us all to repeat it.
The Barefoot Road isn’t pretty or joyous, but it is honest, intense, relatable, and an excellent read.
Vivienne Vermes’ debut novel is a gripping read which will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction, thrillers and evocative themes. The book begins with a young woman found, emaciated and unconscious, in the mountains surrounding a village in Transylvania. When it is discovered that she is of an ethnic group which was violently driven out of the regions many years before, old wounds are reopened as the villagers are reminded of their role in the bloodshed.
An uneasy peace is maintained until a young married man falls in love with the girl, and tension begin to rise within the community. The mysterious disappearance of a child causes this tension to mount into hysteria, driving the story to its chilling outcome.