Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Love and Treasure: Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour









Love and Treasure
By Ayelet Waldman
Publsished by Knopf 


I am so happy I was given the opportunity to read Love and Treasures. I would like to thank Amy from, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for asking me to host.  I am so honored with this wonderful book.
Thank You Amy! :) 

  I learned about this novel months ago by the Jewish Book Council.  I contacted the publishers with great excitement. Asking if they would like to participate in donating a few copies for our Jewish Night Out with Rabbi Debbie. They gladly gave us a few copies.

But then, Amy also helped me out, because I didn't receive them.  She asked if I would like to review.  Of course, she didn't have to break my leg or anything. I have always wanted to read Ayelet Waldman's work.  I have not read any of her novels.  But, this one sounded so interesting and something I did not know anything about.  It is rich in history and detail I couldn't pass it up.  But also, it may be a book that we will pick for our Jewish Grand Strand Reads which will be decided on in August.

This is one book I want to do justice to. After I finished it I had to absorb, digest and process my thoughts and then ponder it again. There is so many themes, and resources on the internet. After you read the novel, if you are like me you want to do your own research.




From the book Jacket: A spellbinding new novel of contraband masterpieces, tragic love, and the unexpected legacies of forgotten crimes. Ayelet Waldman's Love and Treasures weaves a tale around the fascinating true history of the Hungarian Gold Train in the Second World War.


Love and Treasures are three inter-related stories. From the beginning of the novel at present day.  Her grandfather, Jack served in the military during WW2. Natalie came to visit her grandfather. Natalie, has come to visit since her marriage is already in shambles.  On his last few days before he dies he wants Natalie to make a promise. He has something that he wants her to find the rightful owner of a piece of Jewelry that he has kept in his possession since the war.  He doesn't care if she gives it to the rightful original owner. He just wants her to give it back to the family, someone that is still alive.

We then turn back the clock to Salzburg, Hungary in 1945. The short history lesson is here, or you can read the longer version here. I will just warn you it is extensive. Jack, a Jewish American soldier. He is guarded the train. Because what is inside is very valuable. Millions of stolen contraband and treasures are stolen from the holocaust prisoners. It is not junk, but watches, jewels, fur coats, wedding bands, expensive family heirlooms that are stolen and put on this train to Hungary

Jack meets a red headed beauty named, Ilona and falls deeply in love with her. She is a holocaust survivor. She is starving, with clothing tattered, but she is still a raving beauty. He feels responsibility for her. He tells her about the contraband, and shows her the peacock necklace. He thinks this will win her over.
The United States officers start helping themselves of the linens, towels, dishes, furs, silverware, silver frames,, painting, and expensive jewels, that have been confiscated.  But, what can he do. So, instead he helps himself too to it.
Ilona invites him to a party. He meets organizers that are taking survivors over the Italian alps to Palestine. But, he doesn't trust them.  The Mossad( which is not the entire name, it is not connected to the Jewish secret police). They are a group trying to get the Jewish survivors over the Italian alps, Iliona leaves him and goes with the group to Palestine. They never see each other again.

Part 2 then bring us back to present day. After Jack dies Natalie searches out for a art dealer that will help her find out about the Peacock necklace and bring her to the owner of the necklace. But the art dealer, Amatai,  is a shady, Israeli art dealer. The art dealer recognizes the necklace and thinks it is the same necklace from a  famous painting he has seen.

Then the third part of the book was about Nina and a psychoanalyst named, you guessed it Freud. It takes place in Budapest, 1913.   Nina's father had thought she was having a medical condition called hysteria. All caused because of her ideas of women's suffrage. He thought it was interconnected with her menstrual cycle. This was the original owner of the necklace.Then we have a young girl back in 1913, and her father has her seen a psychoanalyst by the name, you guessed it, Freud.  This part of the story deals with dwarfism and Mengele.  It is a very interesting interlocking story how the three stories finally connect.

At first, when I was reading the third part of the story I thought this was far fetched. But after reading and pondering about it. I thought how original. I did read other people's take on this part. Some people liked it, others didn't.  But I did.

My Thoughts, I loved Love and Treasures. It is thick in history and very multi-layered. There is so much information. But still the story works.  While reading Love and Treasures I did a lot of research on my own. I found so many resources about this time period.  There were many events and government legalities that were going on.

The story is not heavy handed in atrocities during the holocaust.  There has been too many books written about the holocaust that unfortunately too much has caused people to shy away from it. But this book, Love and Treasures doesn't make it heavy handed

.I enjoyed her writing style, and her prose. The story is very different how it develops. By the third part you may have a hard time dealing with it.  Many people I saw said that didn't like the third part, and what was the point.


There is so much history and background information why the Hungarian Gold Train is important to the United States, to the Jews, and even to holocaust survivors that are trying to escape through the Italian Alps to Palestine( Israel).

I am still trying to decide if this will be contention in the Jewish Grand Strand Reads. Or if it would do better in one of my two book clubs.  The last book I felt this way was Golem and the Jinni. That one was also rich in history, and character.  There is controversy in this story as well.  The United States was involved with theft of millions of contraband. There were some of the military that were stationed here. They wanted comfort of living at home. They needed towels, blankets, dishes, silverware. The comforts of home. So where do you think they got it, of course the Hungarian Gold Train.  There was a settlement a few years ago in the United States ruling of what restitution will result.

If you like historical fiction, and you are Jewish you most likely will love it. But, even if you are not Jewish the writing is wonderful, and beautifully written.

I also want to share with you a conversation that I found on youtube with her at the Strand Book Store.



About the Author




Ayelet Waldman is the author of the newly released Love and Treasure (Knopf, January 2014), Red Hook Road and The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was made into a film starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays and profiles of such public figures as Hillary Clinton have been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Vogue, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Her radio commentaries have appeared on “All Things Considered” and “The California Report.”
For more information please visit Ayelet’s website. Her missives also appear on Facebook and Twitter.
Her books are published throughout the world, in countries as disparate as England and Thailand, the Netherlands and China, Russia and Israel, Korea and Italy.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tuesday, May 27
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Wednesday, May 28
Guest Post at Passion for Novels
Thursday, May 29
Review at Mari Reads
Friday, May 30
Review at She Reads Novels
Review at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog
Monday, June 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, June 3
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, June 4
Review at Seaside Book Corner
Thursday, June 5
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Friday, June 6
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Monday, June 9
Review at Closed the Cover
Tuesday, June 10
Interview at Closed the Cover
Wednesday, June 11
Review at A Bookish Girl
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, June 13
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, June 16
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection
Wednesday, June 18
Review at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, June 19
Review at Book Nerd
Friday, June 20
Review at Curling Up with a Good Book
Monday, June 23
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, June 24
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Wednesday, June 25
Review at Lit Nerd
Thursday, June 26
Review at The Little Reader Library
Friday, June 27
Review at Man of la Book
Monday, June 30
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Just One More Chapter
Interview at Layered Pages
Tuesday, July 1
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Wednesday, July 2
Review at From L.A. to LA
Review at Mina’s Bookshelf
Thursday, July 3
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews






1 comment:

John Michael Cummings said...

Dear Susan,

Will you please consider reviewing my new novel DON’T FORGET ME, BRO, to be published later this year by Stephen F. Austin State University Press?

DON’T FORGET ME, BRO deals with themes of childhood abuse, mental illness, and alienated families. (See synopsis below.)

My award-winning debut novel THE NIGHT I FREED JOHN BROWN (Philomel Books, Penguin Group, 2009) won The Paterson Prize for Books for Young Readers (Grades 7-12) and was one of ten books recommended by USA TODAY. For more info: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/john-michael-cummings/the-night-i-freed-john-brown/

In addition I've published a collection of short stories, UGLY TO START WITH (West Virginia University Press) Here’s a link to some information about my collection: http://www.amazon.com/Ugly-Start-With-Michael-Cummings/dp/193597808X

My short stories have appeared in more than seventy-five literary journals, including The Iowa Review, North American Review, The Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Chattahoochee Review. Twice I have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. My short story "The Scratchboard Project" received an honorable mention in The Best American Short Stories 2007.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

My email is johnmcummings@aol.com

Thank you very much.

Kindly,

John Michael Cummings

P.S. Could you kindly give me a reply back to let me know you received this email?

Synopsis of DON’T FORGET ME, BRO

DON’T FORGET ME, BRO deals with themes of childhood abuse, mental illness, and alienated families. The book opens with the main character, forty-two-year-old Mark Barr, who has returned home from New York to West Virginia after eleven years for his older brother Steve’s funeral. Steve, having died of a heart attack at forty-five, was mentally ill most of his adult life, though Mark has always questioned what was "mentally ill" and what was the result of their father’s verbal and physical abuse during their childhood.

The book unfolds into an odyssey for Mark to discover love for his brother posthumously in a loveless family.

DON’T FORGET ME, BRO is a portrait of an oldest brother’s supposed mental illness and unfulfilled life, as well as a redeeming tale of a youngest brother’s alienation from his family and his guilt for abandoning them.

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