Read advance reader review of Karolina's Twins by Ronald H. Balson, page 4 of 5

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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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  • Susan R. (Julian, NC)
    Holocaust Intrigue
    Karolina's Twins is a book about the Holocaust. Even though there is a modern day story line going on too, the primary story is about what happened to Lena Woodward in Poland before and during the dark days of WWII. At the start of the book, she approaches a lawyer and investigator to help her find the twins of her best friend from home. She had promised Karolina that she would find the babies after the war but had waited over 70 years to start looking for them. Even though they all feel that it may be impossible to find the babies after so many years, Catherine and Liam listen to the horrific story of her life and try to help her.

    The book is very dark, as are all books about this time period, but there are also some bright spots in the modern story line. I found the characters interesting, especially Lena and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It's one that you won't want to put down until the end.

    My only complaint is that there is no mention in the blurbs for this book that it is part of a series. There are a lot of references to previous cases that Catherine and Liam worked on and it would have been nice to have read those books previous to this one. I plan to go back and read them now.

    This would be a very good book for book clubs because there is a lot of information contained in the book that would generate some good discussion.

    Thanks to BookBrowse for a copy of this book for a fair and honest review.
  • Leslie G. (Peabody, MA)
    Fast-Paced but Familiar
    As someone who has read numerous Holocaust-related books, I surmised early on the manner in which the women would attempt to save the babies. Still, I found myself engrossed in Karolina's Twins in order to find out the futures of the children and the complicated role Lena played in the situation. At some points, however, Lena's dialogue seemed almost too "literary" to be believable. While it might have sacrificed some of the intimacy of Lena's presence, a third-person narrator would have made the language used appear more plausible. Despite some flaws, the novel did keep my interest to the end.
  • Kate S. (Arvada, CO)
    Well Researched Book
    I feel that the author did an excellent job of researching the history,events, and time period. I enjoyed all of that part of the book very much! I did feel however that the writing lacked detail, and sophistication. As another reviewer stated it felt like a book written for YA audiences. It was a book I read, instead of a book that I savored while reading. It would however be a great book for a book club discussion.
  • Lee M. (Creve Coeur, MO)
    Never Forget
    Having read Mr. Balson's previous book, "Once We Were Brothers" I spent the first third of the book feeling like deja vu. Older person goes to Lawyer, and Detective to find information on a person and/or story that occurred during the Holocaust. His very repetitive background information was superfluous and had I not volunteered to review this book I would have stopped reading. About half way through, his extensive research started to come together and then he began a very unusual story. More substantive horrors piled on a mountain of unforgettable and unforgivable history. I firmly believe there are never enough stories to remind us of our tragic history. So a solid 5 for writing and research but minus 2 for desperately needed editing.
  • Madeline (Florida)
    Missing Something
    Overall, I enjoyed the story, and I thought Lena - both in the past and in the present - was a great character. But I felt the writing was stiff and kept me at a distance. I also didn't connect with Catherine and Liam at all. I just wasn't able to become as involved, as caught up in the novel as I would've liked.
  • Bess W. (Marlton, NJ)
    I look forward to reading books about the Holocaust but was disappointed in this novel. I had read ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS and was looking forward to this new novel by Ben Elton The historical aspect dealing with the Holocaust was well researched. I felt that the characters were "flat" and could have been better developed and also felt the writing style was more for a teenager than an adult. Although I didn't love the book it would lend itself to moral issues in a book club discussion group.
  • Ginny B. (Lansdale, PA)
    Not great, But Readable
    I have read a good number of books about the Holocaust, some of them history books and others being novels set in that era. Although I am by no means an historian, it seems to me that Mr. Balson did his homework, in terms of the historical facts. I also read his previous book, Once We Were Brothers, which I very much enjoyed. But I have mixed emotions about this book. The story itself was a good one and held my interest throughout, so anyone looking for a good read with an uncritical eye would not go wrong with this selection. However, I frequently found myself distracted by awkward phrasing and stilted sentences that did not flow naturally, none of which I experienced with the author's previous book. I hate having to include this criticism because I so much enjoyed the previous book and was looking forward to reading this one. Unlike some of my compatriots on BookBrowse, I have to admit that I did not guess the secret which was revealed at the end, but it seemed to me a somewhat appropriately happy ending, for those who really like happy endings. Karolina's Twins is not a bad book, but definitely not as good or as well-written as Once We Were Brothers.

    Editor's note: Some of the awkward phrasing that Ginny comments on maybe because she was reviewing an advance reading copy (ARC) which is produced before the final round of editing.


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