Eve A. (Henderson, NV)
As I was reading this book, I kept thinking of one tree standing as part of a forest. This story is one of many that make up the Holocaust. Painful at times to read because of the harshness of the details, there was a definite uplifting quality to it. It is a story about the fight between the desire for revenge and the desire for a new life filled with hope and love. It is the past waging war against the future. I found this book to be well written and thought provoking. There is much in this story that can be discussed.
Zonetta G. (Winter Springs, FL)
Having read more than one book about the Holocaust, there are always similarities. What sets this book apart is the love story amid the ruins and destruction and more importantly the effort it took the main characters to maintain and/or regain their humanity amid all the inhumanity. I thought the characters were well developed and mostly--but not completely believable. Overall it was a good read.
This book would probably generate an interesting discussion in a book club, and I would recommend it for a book club selection.
Linda C. (Carlisle, MA)
Aftermath of WWII
Not often does one find a book that focuses on the plight of the refugees at the end of WW II, and almost never a very real insight into the overwhelming challenges the Holocaust survivors faced. This book quickly drew me in, and gave me a capsule view of two such survivors. Jacob and Sarah meet in a very unlikely way in Heidelberg at the end of the war. Both have survived unimaginable horror and trauma. Jacob, with a deep, revengeful anger toward his brother's SS murderer, and Sarah with unfathomable pain from the horror and loss she endured. Together they have to try and work through this past into beginning to build a future and this is the focus of the story. It was informative, emotional, suspenseful, and I find myself thinking about it over and over. Great book group book!
Lauren T. (Orlando, FL)
Jacob's Oath by Martin Fletcher
Why return to a place when there is nothing left? Why not return? "When can a good person do a bad thing?" These are the primary questions dealt with in this very well-written novel about the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust. The story follows two young Jews who have had very different war experiences but are both broken in their own ways. The reader learns who they were and who they have become and watches them struggle with making a new life while still dealing with what happened to the old one. This book will make you think. It made me want to read more by this author.
Joan B. (Ellicott City, MD)
I wanted to give this book a 5 since it is more than just good. The few reservations I have come from the slow moving story. I did fall asleep several times while reading.
That being said, the plot was so true to the quandary generated by the difficult decisions of love and life. I could relate to Jacob's indecision. I would like to know Sarah better.
I think that the story is missing some emotional interaction since the author is a news correspondent and not a novelist. He includes great nuggets of interest about Germany's WWII trials. I will recommend this book to my book club for that reason.
Anne M. (Austin, TX)
This is the story of two survivors -- both Jews, one of whom survived Bergen-Belsen and one of whom survived living in bombed-out houses and other inhospitable spaces during the war. The title's "oath" refers to the promise Jacob made to his little brother, Maxie, to kill the camp guard who killed the boy; but it also refers to the vow Sarah made to make a life for herself, despite having lost everyone she loved.
Jacob and Sarah meet in Heidelberg after his concentration camp is liberated; Jacob finds that he has a talent for making money in all sorts of semi-questionable ways, and Sarah is still trying to recover from a rape that was perpetrated by a Russian soldier. "Jacob's Oath" is the story of their growing love for each other, and the choices they make as they decide whether to live in the past or create lives for themselves for the future.
Steve B. (Spring, TX)
The Holocaust and its Aftermath
This is a novel about one of the most horrific periods in our history; the holocaust and its aftermath. Author Martin Fletcher does a masterful job of capturing the essence of the heart rendering atrocities committed, and the despair created in the death camps. Jacob was interred in a concentration camp and was subjected to the cruelty and inhumane treatment of the Jews but was able to survive. His brother was less fortunate, dying in Jacob's arms.
The major portion of the novel deals with the time after the end of the war. Jacob meets Sarah, a survivor who was able to hide out and escape capture. She is also a victim, but at the hands of the liberators. Jacob is obsessed with fulfilling a promise made to his brother that he would avenge his death. This obsession threatens their relationship and their future.
Author Fletcher has created a story that held my interest throughout. It is a love story that has all the suspense, anxiety and pity that ones emotions can endure.