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Karolina's Twins

by Ronald H. Balson

Karolina's Twins by Ronald H. Balson X
Karolina's Twins by Ronald H. Balson
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  • Henry W. (Lake Barrington, IL)
    A Fascinating journey
    i am constantly amazed by the stories of Holocaust survivors. While this is a book of fiction it is a based on the real life experiences of incredibly brave women.At times you need to suspend belief but you know that these incredible people did many incredible acts. i could not put the book down, having some idea of the ending but eager to see how it comes to pass.The characters are true and leave you wondering where is the source of their strength. While the ending is intended to be a surprise it is amply foreshadowed. The author writes clearly and is focused on a story without embellishment. Clearly a book to be savored.
  • Bobbie D. (Boca Raton, FL)
    "What are my footprints on the earth? I want to do something. I want to make my father proud" (Lena).

    Karolina's Twins, Ronald Balson's new book, deals with determination against all odds. There are many books detailing the horrors and atrocities of Hitler and the Germans against the Jewish people and others, creating the ghettos in Poland and then sending those that are still alive to slave labor and ultimately to their death in concentration camps like Auschwitz-Birkenau where they are gassed and the bodies sent to the crematoriums. Having visited these camps, one can only begin to imagine the suffering! Balson's fictional story, based on true documented history, follows Lena from a young girl, living a happy life in Chrzanow Poland in the early 1940's to present day Chicago where she is now almost 90 years old. She tells her story to an attorney Catherine and her private investigator husband Liam. We previously met them in Balson's last novel, Finding Sophie. She tells them of her search for twins born 70 years ago and her promise to her friend Karolina to find them. Hiring an attorney becomes necessary when her only child Arthur, is trying to declare her incompetent and take over her estate. He insists there were never twins! The characters in this story are well developed. There are those you love and those you hate! Lena and Karolina, best friends from childhood, form a special bond that will also include Muriel. Finding these twins, if in fact they ever existed, and also might they still be alive is the story. This novel should appeal to everyone, adults and young adults as well. The story of the holocaust needs to be told and never forgotten.
  • Molly B. (Longmont, CO)
    Difficult subject, lovely story
    I really enjoyed this story. It was constructed in a way that kept my interest - going back and forth. Before the story within the story got to be too much to bear, Blason pulled back to the present story. It was a nice balance and a relief, making it easier to bear the excruciating inner story. A big secret kept things interesting, and the fact that I guessed the secret before it was revealed didn't diminish my appreciation for this book. For me, it was a page turner, an easy read for someone who needs to be really engaged in order to keep reading. I finished it in just a few sittings. The author provided good historical context about possibly the worst time in the history of humankind. And a happy ending. Elie Wiesel's recent passing makes this story all the more poignant and important. I'll look for more of Balson's books.
  • Paula W. (East Wenatchee, WA)
    Karolina's Twins a Novel by Ronald H. Balson
    During the past few years I have read many novels about World War II and I was not sure if I wanted to read another one, but I am glad that I did. Lena Woodward is a Holocaust survivor from Poland. She is now 89 years old. All her adult life she she been wondering what became of her best friend Karolina's twin daughters, that had to be abandoned during the war to save their lives. She hires a husband and wife team, Catherine Lockhart is an attorney and Liam Taggart is a private investigator. She needs Catherine because her only son is taking her to court, as he is claiming she can no longer take care of herself. He feels she is obsessed with finding these twins, that he thinks never existed and are just in her imagination. She needs Liam to find the twins for many reasons. From her conversations with Catherine we learn her devastating story, starting as a teenager with her father hiding her in the attic while her invalid younger brother and parents are being taken away by the Germans. Meanwhile Liam is searching for the twins who would now be in their 70's if they are still alive. This is a well written fast moving novel. I bonded with Lena and her story and liked the husband and wife team. I did not know until after I finished this book that this is # 3 in a mystery series about Catherine and Liam. I am now looking forward to reading #1 and #2.
  • Barbara Z. (Cherry Hill, NJ)
    Karolina's Twins doesn't have the opening chapter hook that would not let me put down Once We Brothers. This story is told from the prospective of Lena Scheinman, a fictional character.
    Once a again, Ron Balson writes a historical fiction novel with a gripping backstory and this time focused on women during the Holocaust. The story has the emotional grip of The Nightingale.
    The beginning is choppy, dialogue dry, but once the woman characters become slaves of the Nazi regime, I could not put the book down. In-depth historical content, ethical dilemmas, strong women and romance.
    There is a very relevant and important contemporary legal story involving elder care and dementia threaded through the Holocaust recollections.
    Some of the pieces of story didn't make sense to me, but in order to convey historical context characters experience a composite reality.
    This is a good selection for bookclubs.
  • Tracy L. (Wesley Chapel, FL)
    Karolina's Twins by Ronald H. Balson
    Karolina's Twins was an interesting story. It had a fascinating story line and it was easy to imagine it happening during that horrific time in Poland.
    While I enjoyed the overall story, I did find it somewhat disjointed. There did not seem to be much connection between the different elements and characters. The characters had a lot of potential but their interactions felt somewhat flat to me. Also, the back story about Lena's son, Arthur, felt like an add on. It did not tie the story together as well as it should have.

    Overall I was glad I read it. I would be curious to read Mr. Balson's future works to see if more character depth develops over time. He definitely has an eye for a compelling story.
  • Cam G. (Murrells Inlet, SC)
    Karolina's Twins
    What I liked about this book was the way the author depicted the young Jewish women: having to live their lives in fear of being sent away, of the losses of their homes, and families, as well as being hungry and living in dire circumstances.
    I did, however, feel that the ending was bit too pat; otherwise, Karolina's Twins held my attention..."man's inhumanity to man" certainly applies here.


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