A touching, memorable novel that goes into the horror of the Holocaust, how people lost everything and how it marked their lives. Be prepared to grieve and to hope.
This novel tells the story of two different people, Arthur Mandelkorn and Suzy Kohn. Arthur is desperately trying to find the sister that he was separated from during the war. At the same time, he tries to rebuild a life for him and his family in Israel. His story takes him around the world from London to Canada and back home where he tries to find lost family members. Suzy Kohn is a young teenager living in Toronto, whose life is turned upside down by the sudden death of her uncle. As her family shatters, Suzy finds comfort in the arms of a musician, but their relationship is far from being smooth. Their stories eventually intertwine in Israel by a love and an understanding that will change their lives forever.
This novel is truly something else. The storyline goes back and forward between the past and the present without being confusing. The reader is able to follow the story of each character in each timeline without losing the line of thought or mixing them up. For me, it was easy to understand how the two stories were connected almost right from the beginning but it didn’t damage any of the story’s beauty. The narrative moves at a steady pace and I just couldn’t get enough even when it brought tears to my eyes.
The settings change but the main treed of the story is always the same: the carnage and the suffering of the Jewish people. The author doesn’t sugar the facts of this horrifying time and even though I’m fully aware of what happened and the dimension of the damage, it was still not easy to read. The book not only gives the dark side of WW2; it also shows the length of the human endurance and the strength when hope and life seem lost. There is a contrast of settings in the novel, which completes the plot perfectly. On one side, we have Palestine in 1947; on the other, Toronto in the late 1960s.
The style of writing is beautiful and it definitely helps in the transition between timelines. It’s descriptive but not too much as to bore the reader. The writing flows and brings out all the right emotions throughout the story. I was taken on a rollercoaster of emotions with this book.
Sharon Hart-Green did a great job in creating and developing these characters. You really want to know more about them and walk with them through the novel, which is why the novel is so hard to put down. For me, it was easier to fall more into Arthur’s story than Suzy’s.
This novel is very well written and it portraits perfectly the struggles of the survivors of the Holocaust. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Thank you Sharon Hart-Green for reaching out and sending me your book in exchange for an honest review.