Tag Archives: Hungary history

Review: Love and Treasure

The novel, Love and Treasure, is a book with three distinct stories, that connect. I liked the first two stories, especially the information regarding the “Gold Train”. I had not known about that historical event before reading the novel. I found that part fascinating.

In the first story, Jack is a soldier in Salzburg guarding the “Gold Train” at the end of World War II. He is cognizant of the fact that the items on the train belonged to Hungarian Jews. As the days go by Jack finds it arduous and difficult to protect the items, not necessarily from looting, but from the commanders of the army wanting to requisition some of them in order to elevate their lifestyle. Silverware, china dish sets, candelabras, crystal, bedding, etc., all fall prey to the hands of the military authorities.

Jack finds a locket, and in an impulsive move takes it. He eventually gives it to the woman he loves, Ilona, a Hungarian Jew released from a war camp. The reader is taken on a journey through Jack’s moral code, and how it affected his entire life, up until his dying days.

As he lays dying, he gives the locket to his granddaughter, Natalie. The locket holds a photograph of two women. He asks her to find the owner of the locket, which means she must travel to Europe in order to do so. Natalie is reluctant, but does his bidding.

From Budapest to Israel and points in between, the story moves through time and location. Natalie’s search results in meetings with individuals who have been trying to move on with their lives. It also results in her meeting an art dealer who is trying to find the source of a painting, a painting which revolves around the locket. Her research garners her information regarding possible links to the locket. The information also connects her to people who were circus performers and who were part of the wealthy and artistic scene.

I felt the story dragged on, once I got past the second story. The third story seemed absolutely unnecessary to me. It held no relevance to the first two stories. I felt it could have been narrowed down to a few pages of information inserted within the second story.

Overall I would rate Love and Treasure a 3 out of 5.

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Filed under Blogrolls, Fiction, Historical Novels, Holocaust History, World War II

Book Diva Review: I Kiss Your Hands Many Times

ikissyourhandsmanytimes I Kiss Your Hands Many Times is a non-fictional story, spanning prewar and post World War II. It is the story of Marianne Szegedy-Maszák’s parents and other family, members, and how they went from riches to basic poverty during the most horrific of times.

Initially there seemed to be a sense of denial that events were actually happening, and the family stayed, rather than emigrate. Whether through ignorance or denial regarding the entirety of the situation, the family felt they were being noble in their choice. Many individuals felt the same way during World War II, and they were not the only ones. This decision proved to be one that contributed to their eventual and negative fate.

Szegedy-Maszak’s father was a well off man, who was arrested and sent to Dachau. Her mother was the granddaughter of a Jewish aristocrat, a man who owned several factories. Those very factories were used as collateral in order for her mother and family members to escape death and enable them to emigrate to Portugal.

Szegedy-Maszák details with vivid word imagery and intense prose the extremes to which the Nazis went to in order to overtake Hungary.

There is a lot of historical information within the pages, information that is not only relevant to the time period, the war, and the events that occurred, but information that is extremely important documentation.

The book details a series of letters written between both Szegedy-Maszak’s parents, and the defining moments of their experiences during the Holocaust. Throughout all of the atrocities, their love survived, and they were eventually married in Budapest, after liberation.

The book is an intense look at the Hungarian situation during the war, and how it affected Szegedy-Maszak’s family, and their future together. It is an inspiring love story and one that depicts the face of survival under extreme odds.

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Filed under Blogrolls, Book Diva's Book Reviews, Family Dynamics, Holocaust History, Jewish History, Non-Fiction, World War II