Stones to Fill the Empty Places
I have read lots of novels about people experiencing the Holocaust and WW II. However, this is the first novel I have read that addresses the emptiness that comes from having lived through that kind of pervasive fear and death and how a person can forge a life after. The story is about two women, Lilly and her daughter Ruthie and how they deal with the physical and psychic losses that have occurred in their lives. I really enjoyed the way that the author was able to inhabit the heads of many different characters in the novel and make their motivations understandable. I also liked the way in which certain key pieces of information about the mysteries of Lilly's life were doled out in a way that didn't seem contrived, but still held on to the tension of wondering how those mysteries would be resolved. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys novels about immigrants or about mothers and daughters or about anyone who is interested in learning about European refugees after World War II.
Rated of 5
by Rosanne S. (Franklin Square, New York)
A Diamond of a Book
The summary of The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler intrigued me enough to want to read it. It surpassed my expectations.
Lily arrives in Montreal just after World War II. It has been arranged that she would travel to Montreal from Palestine to meet and marry Sol Kramer. Upon her arrival at the train station, Sol has a change of mind and abandons her there. It is Nathan, Sol's brother, who takes pity on his brother's rejected bride and marries her instead. Lily's traveling papers identify her as Lily Azerov but they are just papers after all. Lily took documents from a dead woman named Lily and traveled with her identity. This was not an uncommon practice after the war, as refugees needed proper papers in order to travel. What "Lily" doesn't realize is that coincidence has placed her with the family of the real Lily. Along with identifying papers Lily takes an uncut diamond that the dead Lily had in her possession.
The qualities of the uncut diamond mirror the story that follows. Like the rough diamond, Lily, her daughter Ruthie and the entire cast of characters have many facets to them. Cut the diamond incorrectly, it will shatter and be worthless. Cut and polished correctly, it will be invaluable. Generation after generation leaves the diamond intact. Generation after generations never discuss the past leaving it imagined.
The Imposter Bride was a strong and engaging novel. The character development was deep and rich. At times, the flow of the story was a bit confusing but it gave the reader the sense of angst that Ruthie was experiencing. I love to become invested in a story and Richler's expert telling made it easy. I highly recommend The Imposter Bride. This would make an excellent book club choice.
Rated of 5
by Donna W. (Wauwatosa, WI)
The Imposter Bride
I was hooked on this book from the minute I started reading until the satisfying end.
This was an excellent unfolding of a story from 2 different perspectives- first the actual story of " The Imposter Bride" and second the story through the eyes of the daughter she left behind.
The author has a beautiful way of making the characters come alive, and an interesting way of exploring relationships, particularly between mothers and daughters. The book is not action packed, instead it is a character driven story dealing with family in the aftermath of World War II, and there is a bit of mystery blended. All in all a very satisfying read.
Rated of 5
by Duane F. (Cape Girardeau, MO)
The Imposter Wife
Nancy Richler presents the reader with a wonderful story of how families are the very soul of a person. She tenderly renders her characters so that we see their strengths and thus, also their weaknesses. These two families struggle with the identity of a young woman who arrives from Israel after World War II to marry a complete stranger she has only been introduced by a supposed cousin through correspondence. Today, this seems far from ideal. Yet in post WWII, it is the answer to any future at all for all too many survivors. The disaster which so many displaced Jews faced, causes many of the victims to have to prove their identity to find a way to survive the aftermath of the Holocaust and leave Germany. Most had survived horrendous circumstance, leaving them shattered, alone and desperate.
Enter, Lilly, a young woman spurned by the young man she thought would save her and help her build her new life. Amazingly, Sol's brother steps in and asks her to marry him instead. She agrees. One might think this book is now going to be about how she pines away after the man who left her to stand alone at the train station, but they would be wrong.
These two brothers both have fallen in love with her spirit and determination to overcome her humble and horrific past. She has traveled thousands of miles to arrive to be assimilated into their family.
Lilly, however has a secret that she feels would shock this family and change her her chances of acceptance. Upon this fact so turns the future of all. The choices this family makes with their heads, while not considering their hearts, isolates them all. Theirs is not a flaw of lies but rather of omissions. All too soon the walls will begin to shift and Lilly will be faced with a terrible decision that will haunt her new born daughter for the rest of her life.
I could not put this book down, I read it almost straight through. The character are so richly presented, the plot so well constructed and the ultimate outcome so beautifully told. I dog eared many pages and highlighted several passages. MS. Richler has given us a book filled with heart and wisdom and yet rings boldly the sound of reality.
This is a book I plan to present to both my book clubs. If it were published, it would on my gift list as well. Enjoy!
Rated of 5
by Deanna W. (Port Jefferson, NY)
Who is Lily Azerov?
This is a novel filled with distinctive characters, complicated family relationships, and alternating points of view. It is not a "page-turner" but a thoughtful and touching story. I always enjoy historic fiction that takes me to another time and place (post WW II Montreal).
Rated of 5
by Diane S. (Batavia, IL)
The Imposter Bride
The title lends one to believe that this is a romance story, but I was very glad it was not. I found the closeness of the Canadian Jewish fascinating and felt that this author was at her best in her descriptive imagery. This is a novel about the after effects of war, relationships and new identities. Many of the characters were fascinating, Sol and Elka, Ida and Nathan himself. This was a pretty solid novel for lovers of historical fiction as well as those who just enjoy stories about family relationships.
Rated of 5
by Lisa R. (Salem, OR)
Beautiful sense of place
I enjoyed this book, and felt like the author really gave me a sense of the family and the emotions. I also enjoyed the Jewish references, and how the family interacted with each other. Also the realistic depiction of the people - not everyone was sweetness and light, but they were more like the everyday people we know.
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