KAROLINA’S TWINS by Ronald Balson
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin Press (September 6, 2016)
Synopsis: She made a promise in desperation. Now it’s time to keep it.
Lena Woodward, elegant and poised, has lived a comfortable life among Chicago Society since she immigrated to the US and began a new life at the end of World War II. But now something has resurfaced that Lena cannot ignore: an unfulfilled promise she made long ago that can no longer stay buried.
Driven to renew the quest that still keeps her awake at night, Lena enlists the help of lawyer Catherine Lockhart and private investigator Liam Taggart. Behind Lena’s stoic facade are memories that will no longer be contained. She begins to recount a tale, harkening back to her harrowing past in Nazi-occupied Poland, of the bond she shared with her childhood friend Karolina. Karolina was vivacious and beautiful, athletic and charismatic, and Lena has cherished the memory of their friendship her whole life. But there is something about the story that is unfinished, questions that must be answered about what is true and what is not, and what Lena is willing to risk to uncover the past. Has the real story been hidden these many years? And if so, why?
Two girls, coming of age in a dangerous time, bearers of secrets that only they could share.
Just when you think there could not be anything new to ferret out from World War II comes a spellbinding new novel by the bestselling author of Once We Were Brothers and Saving Sophie. In this richly woven tale of love, survival and resilience during some of the darkest hours, the unbreakable bond between girlhood friends will have consequences into the future and beyond.
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When I received this book to review, I was ecstatic. Ronald Balson’s first book (Once We Were Brothers) is one of my all time favourites. Balson has an amazing ability to perfectly capture the horrific time of the Holocaust and creature engaging characters that you fall in love with from the first page. And this book did it magnificantly.
Karolina’s Twins follows Lena Woodward through her personal Holocaust tale as she explains it to Catherine and Liam – the protagonists that follow through all of Balson’s books. While she recounts the horrors she endured, Lena is also involved in a legal battle with her son, who is trying to have her deem incompetent.
What I found particularly amazing about this novel, was how Balson based it off of a true story he heard from a woman at a book signing. The journey of Lena, and her best friend Karolina, is gripping and moving. Their story will leave you on the end of your seat and with your eyes glued to the page.
However, while reading this book, I couldn’t help but miss Ben Solomon – the main character (and Holocaust survivor) from Once We Were Brothers. Ben was truly one of a kind and as much as I loved Lena, she was no Ben. Amazing addition to the Balson collection.
*I received this book for free from St. Martin’s Press for an honest review*