Since historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, I was excited when this book arrived and couldn’t wait to dive in. The story is told from 2 different perspectives: modern-day Alice, living in America, and young Alina, living in Poland during the Nazi occupation. It combines love, heartbreak, rediscovery, determination and family secrets that will keep your attention until the last page.
Alice is a stay at home mother who strives to be everything to her husband and 2 children. Alice struggles to keep family structure but typically ends up exhausted and loses her identity in the process. When her aging grandmother suffers a stroke and loses the ability to communicate verbally, Alice again struggles to fulfill her grandmother’s last wish even though it may send her away from the family that defines her and relies on her completely. Reluctantly, Alice agrees to travel to Poland even though she isn’t completely sure what she’s looking for or what she’ll find. During her journey, she learns more about herself than she ever dreamed and it changes everything she thinks she already knows about her family.
Alina is a teenager and ready to marry her true love, Tomasz, when he returns from medical school. However, as the Nazi occupation continues to gain momentum, Tomasz is missing and no one knows if he’s dead or alive. When Tomasz unexpectedly shows up at Alina’s farm in the middle of the night, her excitement is short-lived and she learns the trouble Tomasz has encountered for helping his Jewish friends. As the war continues, they know they cannot stay in Poland and make plans to leave together. Through devastating circumstances, Alina knows she must leave Poland without Tomasz and in the company of a Jew.
This book is easy to follow while switching between the two time periods and the two stories intermingle and mysteries begin to unravel. The storyline was predictable but well written with relatable characters who were easy to fall in love with. I think there just may be a little bit of both Alice and Alina in all of us.
Join us in Toronto, Canada on April 3rd as GBC Founder, Erin Woodward, sits down with authors Pam Jenoff, Molly Fader, and Hannah Mary McKinnon for a panel discussion and Q&A. 100% of proceeds will be donated to Canadian Women’s Foundation.