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.