Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Family Affair

by: Leon H. Gildin

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

After the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto in 1943, Anna Adler, who was then known as Rosa Feurmann, was asked by the partisans to infiltrate the Hotel Polski. Rumor had it that the Nazis were attempting to lure Jews out of hiding by the sale of exit visas from Poland.

Although some thirty years have passed, Anna’s memories of the Hotel Polski remain conflicted by sorrow, guilt and passion. It is some two years since Anna returned from a reunion of the survivors where she was applauded for her courage in testifying against the Commandant of the Polski at his War Crimes Trial. Nevertheless, despite the accolades, her obsession with what took place at the hotel during her period of imprisonment continues to haunt her.

The Family Affair a sequel to The Polski Affair tells of the fortuitous discovery of new members of Anna’s family, bringing her both joy and torment. For Anna, the ties that bind run deeper than she cares to admit and result in explosive revelations that both divide and unite her family for years to come.

I really wasn't sure what to expect from this book. The cover is simple and appealing, so I was initially intrigued. The story is captivating. It's about a fairly small Jewish family living in Israel. The story is told from Sholom's point of view for most of it, but Anna, Josef and Liese join in as well. (You'll have to read the book to find out who those people are.)

Anna and her husband are both survivors of the Holocaust in Poland. They were housed in the Hotel Polski where they met and also lost their spouses and children. Just thinking about that makes me want to sob. Can you imagine your little ones ripped from you, knowing that they would likely be killed? But she survived, and her and Chaim married and had children of their own.

Sholom is their oldest and he was working on his doctorate thesis on the Hotel Polski. What he uncovers will change his family forever. (That's good, right? Makes you want to rush out and read it?)

The story itself is captivating. I really couldn't put it down. But that being said, there was too much emphasis on the dialogue. Lots of he said this, she said this, then she told him that. It made the flow fairly awkward. And they ate ALL THE time. I also felt the relationships were unrealistic. Lots of embracing and kissing that just didn't seem appropriate. I can't really share an example, I don't wish to reveal too much of the plot. I just want to warn you that even though it is a fascinating tale, and I would recommend giving it a go, sometimes it's unpolished and waffling.

This book is a sequel to The Polski Affair, but you can read this without reading the other one first. There is some adult language but for the most part the book stays clean. The story really rushes through any kind of activity going on. There was a war in this story and he breezed through it in a couple of pages. The main character was in the war, and it was still completely glossed over.

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