Author: Ruth Minsky Sender
Published: August 1, 1997
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 23- July 2, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
After Mama is taken away by the Nazis, Riva and her younger brothers cling to their mother’s brave words to help them endure life in the Lodz ghetto. Then the family is rounded up, deported to Auschwitz, and separated. Now Riva is alone.
At Auschwitz, and later in the work camps at Mittlesteine and Grafenort, Riva vows to live, and to hope – for Mama, for her brothers, for the millions of other victims of the nightmare of the Holocaust. And through determination and courage, and unexpected small acts of kindness, she does live – to write the unforgettable memoir that is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.
“As long as there is life, there is hope”.
This is a powerful memoir of the author’s experience in WWII and the concentration camps, including Auschwitz. Riva loses her mother in a raid and begins to raise her younger brothers. They face many unbelievable hardships and you wonder how much more they must go through. Will they all survive? There are also some unexpected kindnesses by some Nazi captors. At times it is hard to believe that this is a memoir. We humans can be so inhumane to each other for no reason.
This is written for the younger audience and would be appropriate for at least ages 12 and up. I listened to the Scholastic audiobook which is meant to be listened to as you read the book. There is a ‘narrator’ to help with understanding the novel.
Author: Pam Jenoff
Published: January 29, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
1946, Manhattan. Grace Healey is rebuilding her life after losing her husband during the war. One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, she finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.
Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a ring of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.
Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war, and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances
I’ve been eyeing this book for weeks now. It was on sale at Target so I snatched it up. I read it sitting on the beach in the sunshine and loved it! This is easily my favorite of Jenoff’s works. This book was far more plot driven than some of her others. I also loved the historical research side of this story. I kept asking myself why they didn’t just google some of the names of the girls, but then I had to remind myself that there was no internet back in 1946 . . . Duh. And did she portray government in a completely accurate light! T
he mystery surrounding the photos and the girls kept me guessing through the whole book. I would tell you why I gave it 4 stars, but I’d be giving away too much so I can’t. This is a really good look into espionage in WW2 and I liked all the detail. I think this is a great book for anyone who likes historical fiction. The characters were all likable and believable. I definitely recommend it!
Author: Pam Jenoff
Published: September 22, 2016
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Nineteen-year-old Emma Bau has been married only three weeks when Nazi tanks thunder into her native Poland. Within days Emma’s husband, Jacob, is forced to disappear underground, leaving her imprisoned within the city’s decrepit, moldering Jewish ghetto. But then, in the dead of night, the resistance smuggles her out. Taken to Krakow to live with Jacob’s Catholic aunt, Krysia, Emma takes on a new identity as Anna Lipowski, a gentile.
Emma’s already precarious situation is complicated by her introduction to Kommandant Richwalder, a high-ranking Nazi official who hires her to work as his assistant. Urged by the resistance to use her position to access details of the Nazi occupation, Emma must compromise her safety—and her marriage vows—in order to help Jacob’s cause. As the atrocities of war intensify, so does Emma’s relationship with the Kommandant, building to a climax that will risk not only her double life, but also the lives of those she loves.
Y’all know I’m all about WWII fiction. I saw this on sale and jumped at it. I’ve never read Jenoff before so I was excited to read a new author. Overall, I liked this book. It’s not really a plot driven book, definitely all about the characters and philosophy. I liked the premise of looking at the ethics of many of the Resistance members’ actions throughout the war. It’s an interesting perspective that not everyone thinks about.
On the other side though, I think “hindsight is 20/20” actually hurts the story. Most of the time when Emma questions herself and her actions, I was sitting there condemning her indecision because why wouldn’t you do everything possible to defeat the Nazis?? But the more I read, the better it got. But having said that, I don’t know if single people would react the same way that attached people would. I can definitely say that if I didn’t know Ivan and I was single, I would totally have been harder on Emma. Get your feelings under control girl and do your job! But reading it as a married chick who is completely in love with her husband, the lines were blurrier.
Basically this book is one big ethical dilemma that will certainly keep you thinking, even after you finish it. And that’s why I gave it a higher rating than I was initially thinking. A good historical fiction book with interesting and relatable philosophizing thrown in.