No matter how many novels I read about WWII and what happened during the Holocaust, I’m always open the reading another and thereby learning something new about this horrific time in our history.
Anita Abriel’s debut historical novel, THE LIGHT AFTER THE WAR (Atria) is inspired by her mother’s story of survival from Auschwitz. It centers on two young girls, Vera Frankel and Edith Ban who grow up a privileged life together in Budapest, Hungary and end up becoming refugees. They barely escape being sent to Auschwitz, when their mothers throw them off a train on it’s way to the notorious prison camp.
Abriel’s novel is one about the power of friendship, empathy and the determination of the human spirit to survive. Vera and Edith barely escape starving and freezing to death or being shot by Nazis. They’re determined to live. They travel across the country to Naples with a letter of recommendation from an American soldier that Vera presents at the American Embassy and gets a job. Their journey takes them from Naples, to Austria and Ellis Island where they are turned away, to Caracas, Venezuela and finally Sydney, Australia.
They pursue their dreams of Vera writing and Edith becoming a fashion designer. There are romances scattered throughout the novel, but the most important part of the story for me was reading about the absolute resilience of these women to face adversity and move forward. There are several instances of setbacks actually instilling motivation. They experience the ultimate tests of survival physically and mentally, but help each other continue on.
This book is romance author, Anita Hughes’ debut at writing historical fiction. Obviously she had her mother’s story to refer to while writing THE LIGHT AFTER THE WAR, but I hope she continues to write novels of more substance and with more soul.
NOT TO SAY, romance doesn’t have substance… I can hear all the reprimands from readers sent my way. I just enjoyed reading a story inspired by true events, another facet of Anita’s writing talent.
Anita Abriel was born in Sydney, Australia. She received a BA in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from Bard College. She lives in California with her family and is the author of The Light After the War which was inspired by her mother’s story of survival during WWII.
A LIGHT AFTER THE WAR will be published February 4th. Now is a good time to pre-order your copy from your favorite independent bookstore.
We have one copy of THE LIGHT AFTER THE WAR to giveaway. Just tell us your favorite historical novel about WWII. We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.
GIVEAWAY: USA only please.