ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS by Ronald H. Balson
Paperback: 400 Pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Synopsis: The gripping tale about two boys, once as close as brothers, who find themselves on opposite sides of the Holocaust.
Elliot Rosenzweig, a respected civic leader and wealthy philanthropist, is attending a fundraiser when he is suddenly accosted and accused of being a former Nazi SS officer named Otto Piatek, the Butcher of Zamosc. Although the charges are denounced as preposterous, his accuser is convinced he is right and engages attorney Catherine Lockhart to bring Rosenzweig to justice. Solomon persuades attorney Catherine Lockhart to take his case, revealing 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 Ronald H. Balson’s compelling tale of two boys and a family who struggle 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.
* * *
If I could only use two words to describe this book it would be: LIFE CHANGING.
At first, I was hesitant to read a fiction book based on the holocaust. Would it be accurate? Would the story be as captivating if it wasn’t true? After reading the first three chapters of this book, all my hesitations were lost, and I could not put the book down.
Balson did an amazing job of captivating the emotions of holocaust victims. While there are some events and remarks that are a little ‘off the mark’ in regards to historical accuracy, the author is not claiming this is a true story – but rather fiction. It is for these reasons that I felt I could let the little ‘off the mark’ comments and events go, and instead I was able to focus on the story and the characters.
The characters in this book are so life-like they literally came to life in my mind – I found myself completely immersed in the story and needing to know what was going to happen! The story was very powerful, and stayed with me long after I finished reading it. Truly an amazing read from a first time author.