General Rating: A World War II story about the perseverance of three sisters, whom survived Auschwitz and Birkenau.
Who should read: Those interested in touching stories about holocaust survivors. Sisters. Women who have survived similar atrocities, and certainly survivors and children of holocaust survivors.
Skip factor: 8%. I skipped more than a little between 60% and 85%. In the first half and the ending, I skipped nothing.
Storyline: This is the holocaust survival story of sisters Cibi, number 4560; Magda, number 25592; and Livi, number 4559. Before their father’s death, he insisted the sisters promise they would stay together and take care of one another if anything happened to him.
Sometime after his death, Hlinki guards make their rounds in Slovakia, commanding young people to report to the synagogue under the auspice they will be transported to work for the Germans. A kind doctor admits the middle sister, Magda Meller, into the hospital to avoid going. Magna is of the age when most Slovakian teenagers are to report. When the guards knock on the door of the Meller home and find Magna gone, however, they sequester Liv, who is only fifteen years old and small for her age. At the time, the eldest daughter, Cibi, is not at home. She is off in the woods with other teenagers, training to migrate to the promised land, but when she hears her sister must report, Cibi reports with her.
The two spend two years in Auschwitz before their sister, Magda, mother, and grandfather arrive. Immediately, their mother and grandfather are sent to the gas chamber. The story follows all three sisters through the war, and their lives afterward.
Characters: While the three sisters’ personalities differed greatly, I liked all three. Each held admirable strength in their own way. Morris’s good character development wasn’t confined to the sisters. I felt myself loving many other characters throughout the novel. Of the three girls, however, Liv, the youngest, was my favorite.
Writing/summary: The writing is excellent. Normally, I would report a book like this as too wordy after the halfway point (into the girls’ lives after the war). The stories were more detailed than I like, however, I do understand, for historical purposes, why Morris recorded finer details of their lives. It proved how their devastating time in Auschwitz affected their entire lives.
Read this author again? I’ve already read The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Morris.
CJ Zahner is the author of The Suicide Gene, Dream Wide Awake, Project Dream, Friends Who Move Couches and Don’t Mind Me, I Came with the House. Zahner’s Dream Series novels were inspired by true-life experiences. Listen to her interview about her 9/11 a premonition here. Download her Beyond Reality Radio podcast here or her Online Book Circle podcast here. Read more about Zahner in Voyage Raleigh. Purchase her books on Amazon and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, BookBub, or LinkedIn.