This book delivers all the promise and drama imaginable from one family’s true story. Awarded five stars on Goodreads.
Georgia Hunter’s novel presents the story of her own Jewish ancestors, from their successful lives in Poland in the late 1930s through the end of World War II, and a bit beyond. And through them we witness all the danger, courage, and determination that is so often part of any survivor’s story.
Sol and Nechuma Kurc and their five grown children live lives rich in culture, tradition, and love. All are multi-dimensional characters you will come to care about.
Slowly, the war encroaches on those lives. First, affecting only distant lands. Soon, arriving on their doorstep. What is most believable is their continual optimism and belief that things can’t get worse – when we know as readers what lies ahead of them. This, for me, was a source of continual tension as I read this story.
Through the story of the Kurcs, we explore so many different facets of the war. Like the difference between Soviet-occupied Poland and German-occupied Poland (there wasn’t much difference.) Like the need to pose as non-Jews, banishment to Siberia, work in the resistance, seeing non-Jews sheltering Jews, Jews turning in other Jews, hiding, beatings, starvation, and sudden disappearances. In short, through this one family, we see it all.
One thing that is hard to envision for us, until reading this book, is the impact unreliable and sporadic communication had, leaving family members in the dark for years about those they most care about. Georgia Hunter has given us and her family a well-written, intense, and moving gift. I suspect, like me, a few tears will be shed by all readers.