Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Sweetness Book Review

I have a VERY GOOD book to share with you today called The Sweetness written by Sande Boritz Berger that I hope all of you will take the time to read.

Vilna 1941. An inquisitive young girl asks her grandmother why she is carrying nothing but a jug of lemons and water when they are forced by the Germans to evacuate their Vilna ghetto. "Something to remind me of the sweetness," the wise woman tells her, setting the theme for what they must remember to survive.  
Set during World War II, the novel is the parallel tale of two Jewish girls, cousins, living on separate continents, whose strikingly different lives promise to converge. Brooklyn-born Mira Kane is the talented eighteen-year-old daughter of a well-to-do manufacturer of women's knitwear in New York.  
Her cousin, eight-year-old Rosha Kaninsky, is the lone survivor of a family abroad exterminated by the invading Nazis. Yet, unbeknownst to her American relatives, the orphaned Rosha did not perish. Desperate to save his child during a round-up, her father thrust Rosha into the arms of a Polish Catholic candle maker, who hides her─ putting her own family at risk.  
The headstrong Mira, who dreams of escaping Brooklyn for a career as a fashion designer, finds her ambitions abruptly thwarted when, traumatized at the fate of his European relatives, her father becomes intent on safeguarding his loved ones from all threats of a brutal world. Everyone must challenge his injurious and spiraling survivor guilt. Though the Kanes endure the experience of the Jews who got out, they reveal how even in the safety of our lives, we are profoundly affected by the dire circumstances of others.  
Like The Book Thief and Those Who Save Us, The Sweetness is a poignant portrait of life during a most tragic time in history.
My Thoughts:
This story will definitely make you cry, so I am going to warn you now. It gives another and different look at how bad things were in Europe while Hitler was getting rid of the Jewish people left and right.

This particular story is about a courageous woman who took in a little girl and hid her in her cellar during the war so that she would not suffer the same fate as her parents. I can't imagine living in a cellar for years at a time, always afraid to go outside. I can also imagine it must have been filled with fear for the woman who was hiding her and looking over her shoulder constantly to see if anyone was watching her.

It's also a story about the other side of the family that had escaped to America and lived in New York and became quite wealthy and how one man felt survivor's guilt for the ones that perished and he could do nothing to help.  One lone survivor, Rosha is the girl who is hidden by the woman who risked it all.

And just so you know, this book is based on true events, which makes it even more precious to read.

Happy Reading!
About the Author: 
"I can still remember dragging my pink desk chair over to the wall beside my bed and scribbling words between the vines of the rose-patterned wallpaper in my attic bedroom. They were mostly words of longing, anger, and hurt that I'd carefully hidden from the world. Years later, when I saw a construction crew tearing down my childhood home, I imagined me flying up the stairs to find glimpses of that girl one last time. But instead, I sat in the car and just watched, glancing up at that one small window, knowing that all I'd written would be easily recalled. All I had to do was close my eyes."

After two decades as a scriptwriter and video/film producer for Fortune 500 companies, Sande Boritz Berger returned to her passion: writing both fiction and non-fiction full time. Her stories and essays have been published in The Rambler Magazine, Every Woman Has a Story by Warner Books, Ophelia's Mom by Crown Publishing, Aunties: Thirty-five Writers Celebrate Their Other Mother by Ballantine and others. Sande received an M.F.A. in Writing and Literature from Stony Brook Southampton College where she received the Deborah Hecht Memorial prize for fiction.
The Sweetness was a semi-finalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel awards. The author lives with her husband in Manhattan and Bridgehampton. She has two daughters.
Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours. 


Janet W. said...

I typically like to read murder mystery books, but your review caught my eye. I'll have to check this out. Sounds good!