by Carrie Brown
Category: Fiction / Historical
356 pages; ISBN: 0425200272
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Berkley. Mar 2005, $14.00, 356 pp.
In 1939 Jewish tailor Arthur Henning accompanied by his wife, their son and their infant daughter barely escapes the Nazi invasion of his hometown of Vienna. He relocates in London, but ironically tragedy occurs about a year later when his spouse and daughter die during a Nazi air assault.
In 1946 Arthur and his son Toby immigrate to the United States. In the New York City suburbs, he becomes a chauffeur to wealthy banker Mr. Duvall and his wife. However, Toby impregnates the Duval daughter Aggie, who refuses to reveal the identity of the father to her parents. Having no say, Aggie is sent to Mrs. MacCauley’s house for unwed mothers. When the child is born, the baby is given away for adoption. Over the years the five participants increasingly feel betrayed by their loved ones.
This character driven historical tale uses flashbacks to provide insight into war years and the beginning of the boomer era. The story line is cleverly designed so that the audience knows how the key quintet feels especially Arthur who believes that life is one big tragedy. Though quite dark in outlook fans of deep pessimistic mid twentieth century stories will want to be confined with Carrie Brown’s gloomy tale.
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