Inspired by a true incident that took place in Poland in 1941 but was concealed for 60 years, Diane Armstrong's gripping novel is a detective story that is part mystery, part history, and part forensic investigation. It is also a tale of love, loss, and unimaginable sacrifice.
©2005 Diana Armstrong; (P)2005 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
"The best and worst of the human spirit are dredged up in this profoundly moving, compelling, and superbly written story." (Australian Women's Weekly)
First, the good news: the reader was excellent. She was able to bring to life Jewish, Polish, & Australian characters with just the right accents and inflections. Now, the bad news: there were a few too many coincidences for me with regard to the main character; and in the end I realized she would be a much older character than she seems throughout the novel. I do enjoy listening to novels that have some basis in history - so I would still recommend the book even though I found some flaws in the timeline.
I too enjoyed the narrator and appreciated the recounting of this important story. I kept having to check historical events, as the protagonist mentions contemporary happenings, such as the Pope's visit to Poland. That made me place the age of the storyteller at 70 or more, much too old for some of the adventures and romantic interludes described. But maybe not? Or maybe it was written ten years ago, or more. Otherwise, a great book and narrator.
After the first 15 minutes, I was not able to listen to the rest of this book. It probably is well written and compelling, but the horrendous Nazi crimes (with Polish assistance) about to be detailed was more than I could bear.
In light of the keystone tragedy in the story, the main character's personal crisis is narcissistic and in self-pitying. The author tends to state (and re-state) the obvious and by over-explaining the characters and the science she leaves little suspense and nothing for the reader to discover. Not recommended.
First, the reader gets 5 stars. She was wonderful. The burning of the Jews in the barn was a very sad event and I am glad the author wrote a book about it. The world needs to know about it. However, while listening to the book, there were times that I just wanted to hit the fast forward button. Parts of the book were so melodramatic and half way into the book, you know the truth about the main character. The book would have been better with some abridgement. Also, parts of the book (not related to the burning) were unbelievable.
Starts off okay but then it gets very predictable and a bit over the top. I was engaged for the first half, but then I just couldn't take it any more and had to put it down
While I agree that the age of the main character did not jive with the timeline, the storytelling was strong and moving.
I love all genres of books. However, when I listen to audio books as I clean, garden, drive they are better with a lot of heat!
I really enjoyed this book it was wrtten excellently, interesting subject matter and well researched actual events. Very moving.
Very informative story. Lead me to research the area in Poland and learn more about the event. It was an enticing story. I particularly enjoyed the reader.
I liked this book, the little intricacies that the author leaves you with here and there. Helena learns the lesson so many people never learn, though she did learn it too late. Talk to your ancestors, learn their stories. The author Weaves the story of life in a small Polish village that existed in our grandparents and great grandparents time.
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