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In 1930s Poland, the economy is crumbling, the government is in chaos, and Jewish groups argue over how best to deal with the worsening situation. Among them are the Guardsmen, daring and organized young Zionists who are determined to start a new life in Palestine.
A Suitable Husband brings this vibrant period alive with the story of Bianca Lieber, caught between the pressure to marry Alex, the intelligent but staid doctor presented by the matchmaker, and Wolf, the intrepid Zionist leader who can help her get to Palestine.
This story is told from 3 perspectives, Danka the mother and her 17 year old twins Natan and Bianca. They are a poor Jewish family in Poland prior to WWII. It was eye opening to say the least. I think we forget that it wasn't just Germany against the Jews, it really was the entire world.
Danka has an alcoholic husband who also has a gambling problem. She managed to save a small dowry for her daughter and there is a new doctor interested in marrying her, but Bianca wants to marry for love. I not only feel sorry for Danka because of her husband, but also because she works so very hard to scrape together money for food and shelter. Even that is not enough when Poland sets up a Jewish boycott and she can no longer sell her shawls.
Natan has his own problems as a young Jewish male, he can't even defend himself without getting thrown in jail. The abusers are allowed to walk every time. While he doesn't want to leave Poland and go to the new settlement in Palestine, he is not sure what his options might be when he finds himself involved in the Bund, a Jewish-Polish group that feels the same way, which is that running will solve nothing.
A of course Bianca, who has to choose between what is the best thing to do for her family and where her heart wants her to go. There were times when Bianca bugged me, but then again she IS a teenage girl - lol. Once reality sets in, I think she makes the best choices she can given the situation.
This story isn't necessarily short, but it moves so fast. I couldn't put it down. My heart broke for this family and their struggles. I would classify this as historical chic lit, there is some romance but it doesn't run the story.