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I loved the premise of the book and wanted to find Lily perhaps even more than her daughter did. But I didn't find the characters or the storyline very compelling and only finished the book because I was supposed to write a review. While parts of it were well written, there was a disconnect throughout too much of it. I felt it was a book that didn't like up to its potential.
Carm D. (Omaha, NE)
The Imposter Bride
If you like mystery or historical novels this is the one to read. It kept my interest for most of the book, It did bog down a bit after about 1/2 way through but I would recommend this highly. It would especially be a great book club selection and I think it is the one I will choose when it's my turn. Looking forward to more from this author.
Sarah W. (Lufkin, TX)
The Imposter Bride
The Imposter Bride is a story of a family. Lily Azerov has immigrated to Montreal to marry a man she doesn't know. He takes one look at her and refuses to marry her. His brother, Nathan, comes to apologize but on seeing Lily decides to marry her. They marry and live with his mother until he is financially able to afford an apartment.
Sarah B. (Streamwood, IL)
The story is told alternately by Lily; her daughter, Ruthie, whom she leaves when Ruthie is three months old; and a third person. Ruthie is lovingly cared for by her father and Elka, Nathan's sister-in-law who becomes her surrogate mother, his mother Bella, and Elka's mother, Ida Pearl.
When Ruthie is six years old she receives a package containing a piece of quartz and a note in her mother's handwriting telling where and when she picked up the rock. For the first time Ruthie begins to wonder about the woman who is her mother. Over the years she receives more rocks and with each her curiosity grows: where is her mother and why is she sending her the rocks?
Of the large cast of characters, Lily and Ruthie are the most vividly formed. The author provides this cast of characters to help tell the story. Throughout the novel we want to know who Lily is, why did she take on another's identity, why did she leave, will Ruthie ever find her, and why did she send rocks to Ruthie?
The main themes of the story are loss and family relationships. It is the opinion of this reviewer that many plot elements and scenes could easily have been left out without taking away from the overall story. The author does, however, manage in the end to make sense of the characters and events.
I would recommend the book to book clubs, especially those made up of women. They would probably want to discuss Lily, and Elka, Ida Pearl and Bella to see what they really added to the story and what their backgrounds were. And they would probably want to empathize with Ruthie, take her character apart, literally, and putting it back together with a better understanding of her.
I enjoyed the book even though it wasn't easy skipping from one narrator to the next. I would recommend the book to libraries, book clubs, and friends.
I fel this book had potential, I flew through the first half of the book, and was enjoying it, but the second half felt like a slog. I normally love the changing of time periods as device, but I felt as though it fell flat in this book.
Martha L. (Warner, NH)
searching for answers
The book was enjoyable, but was not what I was expecting.
The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler is story with a richness of emotions. The main character Ruth spends most of her life wondering about her mother, a woman who left within months of her birth. The tale begins with Ruth's mother's marriage to her father. Tied within that story is a story of the past with all the pain and anguish of being Jewish during WWIII in Europe.
Kenan R. (Liberty, MO)
A Solid Read But...
The layers of the story that unfolded held the emotion that engages the reader. The characters with all their flaws were imminently vulnerable and endearing. The new life many Jews came for in Canada, specifically Toronto, after WWII is the setting of the story. With the story came the whispers of survival and ghosts of the lost.
The novel reads quite quickly and kept your attention. I did find it could be unrelenting at times with the heaviness of the story line, but not enough so to take away from the novel or readability. This was a quality book with a quality story. A four star book, albeit heavy with emotional turmoil.
It kept me too much at arms length. While the author did a great job of interesting me in Lily, her past, and her new family in Canada, I was left feeling distinctly unsatisfied by the answers I received. The characters were interesting, but not as vivid or textured as I had hoped. Perhaps it was a plot device to make us feel as disconnected from Lily as Julia, her abandoned child, was. A story told in alternating timelines about a mysterious young WWII Jewish refugee, her appropriation of dead woman's identity to escape to the safety of Canada to start over, and the daughter and husband she left behind when she could not bear to live out her lie could have been dense & rich. It read more like a cream puff to me. Nice, but not very filling.
Neil W. (Tavares, FL)
A Good Read
In Europe, a young Jewish woman takes the identity of a dead girl while escaping at the end World War II. She relocates to Canada and tries to begin a new life only to discover a relative of the dead girl. She flees from her "new life" after the birth of Ida, her daughter. The story demonstrates the tragedy of war beyond the battlefield -- affecting many lives in families and following generations. While strongly written in some areas; it is also has weaknesses in others, where it over-explains many of the details in the story. Overall, it is a good book.
Rebecca K. (Ilinois)
I thoroughly enjoyed the first third or so of "The Imposter Bride". It had a bit of mystery and lots of family drama. After that, it got incredibly boring. I only finished it because I have to write a review.
Additionally, while I usually enjoy when authors switch between the past and the present, the technique is usually done with something to distinguish between the time periods (a heading or italics). Nancy Richler did nothing to indicate the time period, and with the same characters both in the present and the past, it became convoluted. It's a technique that other authors have employed with much better success.