Karolina's Twins: Book summary and reviews of Karolina's Twins by Ronald H. Balson

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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  • Published in USA  Sep 2016
    320 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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About this book

Book Summary

In the tradition of The Nightingale, Sarah's Key, and Lilac Girls, comes a saga inspired by true events of a Holocaust survivor's quest to return to Poland and fulfill a promise, from Ronald H. Balson, author of the international bestseller.Once We Were Brothers.

She made a promise in desperation.
Now it's time to keep it.

Lena Woodward, elegant and poised, has lived a comfortable life among Chicago Society since she immigrated to the US and began a new life at the end of World War II. But now something has resurfaced that Lena cannot ignore: an unfulfilled promise she made long ago that can no longer stay buried.

Driven to renew the quest that still keeps her awake at night, Lena enlists the help of lawyer Catherine Lockhart and private investigator Liam Taggart. Behind Lena's stoic facade are memories that will no longer be contained. She begins to recount a tale, harkening back to her harrowing past in Nazi-occupied Poland, of the bond she shared with her childhood friend Karolina. Karolina was vivacious and beautiful, athletic and charismatic, and Lena has cherished the memory of their friendship her whole life. But there is something about the story that is unfinished, questions that must be answered about what is true and what is not, and what Lena is willing to risk to uncover the past. Has the real story been hidden these many years? And if so, why?

Two girls, coming of age in a dangerous time, bearers of secrets that only they could share.

Just when you think there could not be anything new to ferret out from World War II comes a spellbinding new novel by the bestselling author of Once We Were Brothers and Saving Sophie. In this richly woven tale of love, survival and resilience during some of the darkest hours, the unbreakable bond between girlhood friends will have consequences into the future and beyond.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Readers who crave more books like Balson's Once We Were Brothers and Kristin Hannah's bestselling The Nightingale will be enthralled by Karolina's Twins." - Booklist

"Balson's dialogue is stilted and his prose is workmanlike, but the survivor's tale is the main attraction and does not disappoint." - Kirkus

"Readers interested in the continuing manifestations of the horrors of the Holocaust will find this tale compelling." - Library Journal

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Reader Reviews

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Linda Zagon

"Discovery of Past Secrets"
I enjoyed reading "Karolina's Twins" by Ronald H. Balson, author of "Once We Were Brothers" And "Saving Sophie". The genre of this book is Historical Fiction. The fictional story is the retelling of the Holocaust and life in Poland,by Lena, one of the characters. Lena wants to hire Liam Taggart private investigator and Catherine Lockhart, attorney to help with the discovery of past secrets. Lena is now in her eighties, and is determined to put her mind at ease. The author writes about hope, faith, strength,courage,family at such a terrible time in history. I did have some Kleenex moments, and would highly recommend this book.

Bev C

Karolina's Twins
"Lena Woodward, elegant and poised, has lived a comfortable life among Chicago Society since she immigrated to the US and began a new life at the end of World War II." (from Amazon synopsis)

There is a particular reason that it is time to honor an unfulfilled promise she made long ago. She requests the assistance of lawyer Catherine Lockhart and private investigator Liam Taggart and it's in their presence that this poignant tale unfolds.

I was thoroughly engaged in the life story of Lena Scheinman. Chrzanow, Poland was her birthplace (1924), the earlier years of loving familial covenant are in place and the story develops with fervor as Germany invades Poland in 1939.

Love, survival and resilience are the cornerstone of this novel,
Nazi-occupied Poland and the bond Lena shared with her childhood friend, Karolina are developed in rich detail. There is, of course, specific emphasis on the Jewish population and the injustice dealt them under Nazi occupation.

There is a subplot, which will be successfully resolved. Lena's son Arthur has reason to pursue a declaration of incompetence for his mother.

I found this rewarding historical fiction. Balson successfully transported me to this era and I came away enlightened.

The following is an author acknowledgment:

"Karolina's Twins is a work of fiction.
The story was inspired by the life of Fay Scharf Waldman...Karolina's Twins is not intended to be a biographical account of Fay's life. Lena Woodward is a fictional character. who experienced many of the travails described to me by Fay, but, some of the episodes,mthough authentic in their occurrence to others, did not involve Fay," The author has also drawn upon memoirs, Yizkor Books, museum archives and personal stories conveyed to the author.

I hope I have encouraged you to review the history of World WarII Poland and engage in a heart warming/breaking tale.

Diane D. (Blairstown, NJ)

Fascinating Book!
I have to thank Ronald H. Balson for writing this book. I feel privileged to have been able to read it before its publication date.

I've known most of the things that went on, during the Holocaust, for many years, and it still upsets me to read about it. I have to say that I think I was more upset about Arthur's pursuit of a lawsuit trying to have his mother, Lena declared incompetent & suffering from dementia in her efforts to find her friend's twins. It's obvious that he is just trying to control her money, and that really bothers me. I guess, since I'm almost 80, it brings home how vulnerable we all are, as we age.

Every time I read about what happened to the Jews, during that time, I wonder if any of my ancestors suffered in those ways. Since I have both German & Jewish ancestors, those things bother me even more. It's amazing that Lena & others were able to make it through the atrocities wreaked upon them and go on to live full lives. I know this is a novel, but it seemed SO REAL to me, and I shed many tears over it.

I enjoyed all the characters, especially Catherine and her husband, Liam. They were perfect in their roles.

Kathryn

Never forget the past...
If you like historical fiction, this is a book to consider reading. I couldn't put the book down once I started it. It is spell-binding!
Ronald Balson wrote about a difficult topic---the Holocaust---and made it very real through Lena's voice.
I am going to the library to check out more of this author's books. Well done!

Tillie

Excellent book about the Holocaust
Wow! A well-written book that was hard to put down. Although this is another book about the Holocaust, it was also a book about determination and finding love and joy amidst the horrors of the war. It is definitely a book I will consider for my senior book club. Love this book!!!!!

Carol R. (Foster City, CA)

Read This Book!
I knew I'd love this book from the very first page. Ronald Balson has written a compulsively readable book that will grip you and not let go until you've finished the last page. Even after that, the compelling story will stay with you. The writing is so fluid that you will have trouble putting the book down. i wanted to jump into the pages and help Lena find the twins. Wonderful book!

...25 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Ronald H. Balson Author Biography

Ronald H. Balson is a Chicago trial attorney, an educator and writer. His practice has taken him to several international venues, including villages in Poland that inspired his first novel, Once We Were Brothers.

Link to Ronald H. Balson's Website

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