Saturday, 29 April 2017

"Karolina's Twins" by Ronald Balson

   This book was recommended to me by a fellow reader that I met in a book club.  She thought I would love it.  Well, it is a powerful book and I found it overwhelmingly sad.  Of course, what book about the holocaust is not sad?
   And how are we affected because of the emotional space that we are in from our life or from our last book?
  I had just been reading "The Seven Sisters" novels that have fairy tale elements- large mansion, boats on Lake Geneva, fascinating sisters with a mysterious but wonderful father.  Pure fiction.   "The Storm Sister" had a story within it of a young girl on a farm in Norway, singing as she brought home the cows.  That really drew me in and I was fascinated with this character who became an opera singer.  So much spectacular scenery and music.  I was not emotionally prepared for the horrors of the holocaust.

  Lena Woodward, a wealthy elderly woman was haunted by her life in occupied Poland during W.W. II.  She had promised her childhood friend, Karolina, that some day she would find 2 sisters that were lost during the war.
  And so, Lena hired a private detective and lawyer in her search.  She needed the lawyer because her only son was trying to declare her incompetent so that she would not spend money on this search.
another cover for the book
  The novel began with Lena telling the lawyer of her life during the holocaust.  The details were horrendous and were described day after day.
  When the search for the girls got underway, I was more drawn in to the novel.  The first section was important to the story but told in a blunt way.

  Ronald Balson, the author, is himself a lawyer, practicing in Chicago.  His travels to Europe provided the motivation for his novels.  This novel is inspired by true events.  His other books are "Once We Were Brothers", "Saving Sophie", and "The Trust".

  Readers interested in the holocaust will appreciate this book.  There are twists to the story and the writing is so good, that it has taken me time to be able to write about the story.  I even had difficulty starting into another book.

  I would like to go back to the green hills of Norway with the young girl 'singing the cows home'.
  One thing my new reader friend did not know about me is that I have been known to enjoy living with my head in the sand.

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