The Things We Cherished: Book summary and reviews of The Things We Cherished by Pam Jenoff

The Things We Cherished

A Novel

by Pam Jenoff

The Things We Cherished
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2011
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

Set during the Holocaust and rich in historical detail, this suspenseful story of love and betrayal by the author of The Kommandant's Girl is a testament to true love under the worst of circumstances.

Spanning decades and continents, The Things We Cherished tells the story of Charlotte Gold and Jack Harrington, two fiercely independent attor­neys who find themselves slowly falling for one another while working to defend the brother of a Holocaust hero against allegations of World War II–era war crimes.

The defendant, wealthy financier Roger Dykmans, mysteri­ously refuses to help in his own defense, revealing only that proof of his innocence lies within an intricate timepiece last seen in Nazi Germany. As the narrative moves from Philadelphia to Germany, Poland, and Italy, we are given glimpses of the lives that the anniversary clock has touched over the past century, and learn about the love affair that turned a brother into a traitor.

Rich in historical detail, Jenoff's astonishing new work is a testament to true love under the worst of circumstances.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A powerful novel rich in period detail, The Things We Cherished is a fascinating contemporary and historical drama, a unique glimpse into a disappearing world, and a reminder that past and present often come together in unexpected ways." - Booklist

"Unlike much romantic historical suspense, this is quiet and credible - even the surprise twists - further cementing Jenoff's reputation for adeptly using the harsh realities of WWII Europe as a context for a timeless love story." - Publishers Weekly

"...Jenoff pins her tale on a near impossibility. The author might know her European history, but she hasn't quite figured out how to tell a convincing tale." - Library Journal

"[A] skillfully rendered tale of undying love, unthinkable loss and the relentless grip of the past on the present." - Kirkus Reviews

"Pam Jenoff weaves an intriguing and intelligent story with a delicacy that is captivating. The triangular love stories are threaded together with skill and passion, while at the heart of the tale ticks the clock that holds the answers. Jenoff evokes in touching detail a significant point in twentieth-century history and makes it resonate for readers today." - Kate Furnivall, author of the national bestseller The Russian Concubine

The information about The Things We Cherished shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Marlys D. (Grand Rapids, MI)

The Things We Cherished
I found this book very engaging. The back-and-forth between present-day and the past, and the tracking of the clock through history were well done and held my interest throughout. I did think there could have been a bit more historical background in the "past" chapters (for instance, details of what happened to Johann's wife) but I did like following the clock's travels. Some of the characters could have been developed a bit more as well, but overall I found it a good read if not particularly deep. I think it would make a pretty good "beach read" because it isn't too long or detailed--easy to pick up/put down without losing the thread of the story & characters.

Gee (Troutdale, OR)

The Things We Cherished
This was a marvelous story spanning many years and locations. It is the story of two attorneys who while working to defend a man against charges of war crimes during the Holocaust find themselves falling in love. The accused is the brother of a man who was deemed a hero during the time. It's the story of their mutual love for the same woman and the significance of an anniversary clock. The book is part love story, mystery and historical fiction.

Bob W. (Oakland, TN)

The Things We Cherished
I was initially drawn to the book by its title and close behind by it's historical fiction subject matter...and I was not disappointed.  Using her personal background of law and history she skillfully weaves the story from the past (beginning in 1903) to the present (2009), and throughout various cities in Europe.  And she ties it all together in a most interesting and unique way: an anniversary clock handmade in Bavaria in 1903 and the several lives it touches.  Ms Jenoff also does an excellent work of developing personal relationships, both in the past and the present, and in her character development.  All in all quite an accomplishment for under 300 pages.
 
If you enjoy fact-based historical fiction you should enjoy her efforts.  Romance is also prominent, but is in no way overpowering. 

Shirley D. (Amherst, MA)

THE THINGS WE CHERISHED
Once I understood the sudden shifts in time, locale and characters, I was drawn into the personal pain of brothers and the women they loved and the pain of the Holocaust repeated in the present day struggle of two brothers and a woman, a survivor of the Holocaust herself. My heart ached again for the Holocaust victims as highlighted by Jenoff. Having lived in that era, I felt again the madness of those times, the old struggle of love and pain in wartime, everything loosely held together here by a clockmaker, the Nazis and an antique clock.. It is a novel of love in the horrors of war and in the sufferings of the men and women who lived it.

Linda Z. (Corydon, IN) Crawford Co. Library

The Things We Cherished
This book should appeal to both women and men who are interested in World War II, the Holocaust and would also appeal to mystery lovers. I had read two previous books by the author and enjoyed both. The moral dilemma was very interesting. Was Roger right or wrong in what he did or is there no easy answer? I intend to read other books by this author.

Sandra M. (Valparaiso, IN)

The Things We Cherished
The Things We Cherished is a powerful reminder of horrific war tragedies and the stories of those who survived and those who did not. (I recently read Sarah's Key and this novel complimented that reading experience.)

The one thing that confused me was the changing character narration, time period and location of each new chapter. I had to stop and really think about who each character was and the context in which I knew him/her since things jumped from 1903 through 2009, with numerous stops in between.

The Things We Cherished is a good read and I recommend it.

...16 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Pam Jenoff Author Biography

Photo: Dominic Episcopo

Pam Jenoff is the author of The Kommandant's Girl (a Quill Award finalist, a Book Sense pick, and a finalist for the ALA Sophie Brody Award), The Diplomat's Wife, Almost Home, and Hidden Things. She attended George Washington Univer­sity, Cambridge University in England, where she received a master's in history, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. A former Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army and State Department Officer, she lives in Philadelphia where she works as an attorney.

Author Interview
Link to Pam Jenoff's Website

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