Sanctuary by N.E. Julian
ISBN: 978-1440133091
Publisher: iUniverse

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Sanctuary, by N.E. Julian, is a modern day romance novel that takes place in the 1990’s in war-torn Yugoslavia. The setting is the Balkans; the Serbs and the Muslins are fighting for the dominance of religious beliefs killing families, murdering woman and children. When her family flees persecution nineteen-year old Lea Kostovic, refugee and casualty of the war is left behind.

For six months she wanders the countryside hiding in stranger’s home. Sick with pneumonia, emaciated, and in need of medical treatment, the young woman stumbles across an army check-point and is brought to the attention of thirty-six year old tough-minded highly disciplined army Major Russell.

Betrayed by his former wife, Russell is a lonely man recovering from a bitter divorce. He too was abandoned and is estranged from his beloved son. Frail Lea captures his heart. Major Russell offers her a deal. He will take care of her if she will be his mistress. She is too sick to turn down his offer. Major Russell is Lea’s only hope for survival.

She agrees to his offer and becomes his mistress and eventually his wife. A former University student fluent in several languages, Lea works for Major Russell as a translator; compiling documents sorting papers and articles summarizing the current events of the day interpreting a language the Major doesn’t understand. He falls deeply in love with Lea; a woman whose heart has been broken and whose mind withdrawals from the memories of the war and the loss of her family. Major Russell hopes his care and strength will heal her. Perhaps one day Lea will be able to return his love and passion.

Major Russell and Lea overcome obstacles including the demands of military life, the jealousy of other officers, age differences, and rules and expectations imposed on an army wife.  But in the deepest part of Lea’s soul she is wounded, abandoned and hurt. She fears loving again. Major Russell hopes as the reader does that he may have enough love for both of them healing the broken places inside her heart and mind. Lea finds solace and sanctuary not in Major Russell, but in the solitude of her first love, learning and books.

Sanctuary, by N.E. Julian is a highly recommended novel. The book keeps the reader engaged hoping that two lonely people from different parts of the world, one sixteen years older than the other will find a way, despite the unusual circumstances that brought them together, to establish a loving and trusting relationship, and heal their hearts.

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