I’m going to finish this week in blogging by FINALLY posting reviews of two books I read last summer. These books have been staring me down for months, but I just haven’t been motivated to blog about them. Well, I figured it was time for me to share a few thoughts on them so I can finally put them away. Stay tuned for the second mini-review on Friday. Also, I may not be around much for the next month or so, as I’m busy with some freelance editing projects. I can’t wait to tell you all about the books I’ve been editing! Anyway, on to today’s mini-review:
Publisher’s summary: Elliot Rosenzweig, a respected civic leader and wealthy philanthropist, is attending a fund-raiser when he is suddenly accosted by Ben Solomon and accused of being a former Nazi SS officer named Otto Piatek, the Butcher of Zamość. Although the charges are denounced, his accuser is convinced he is right and engages attorney Catherine Lockhart to bring Rosenzweig to justice. Solomon reveals that the true Piatek was abandoned as a child and raised by Solomon’s own family, only to betray them during the Nazi occupation. But has Solomon accused the right man?
Once We Were Brothers is the compelling tale of two boys and a family who fight to survive in war-torn Poland, and a young love that struggles to endure the unspeakable cruelty of the Holocaust. Two lives, two worlds, and sixty years converge in an explosive race to redemption that makes for a moving and powerful tale of love, survival, and ultimately the triumph of the human spirit.
My thoughts: I had such mixed feelings about this book. The narrative set during World War II was very interesting, as was the quest in the present to bring a Nazi war criminal to justice. However, I had some issues with the structure of the narrative. Despite all the time constraints on the legal side, Ben insists on telling the story in chronological order, and with Catherine always cutting him short, it seemed to drag it out longer than necessary. And the author would insert information/statistics about the Holocaust into the dialogue, which was unnecessary and felt forced. I also felt it was unnecessary to focus on Catherine’s life outside of the case; I didn’t find her to be very interesting. I liked the book overall, but it could have been a great book if it had been structured differently, without Catherine’s story and without all the shifts from past to present.
Disclosure: Once We Were Brothers is from my personal library.
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