Friday, December 2, 2011

Emeralds Never Fade, Stephen Maitland-Lewis (5 stars)

For a girl who falls asleep as soon as her husband turns on the History channel, I love historical fiction. My first foray into the genre was Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross, another highly recommended 5 star novel.

So imagine my delight when I saw an historical fiction novel awaiting review at Rebeccas Reads. I took it and am so glad I did.

From Amazon:
Before World War II, two German boys enjoy playing piano, and one visits each week to teach the other. When the Nazis seize power, the lessons must end -- one of the boys is Jewish. Leo Bergner, the Jewish pupil, escapes Germany while his piano teacher, Bruno Franzmann, is called to serve the Fatherland. As the war ends, Bruno escapes to Buenos Aires and Leo begins a career in banking, only to uncover a conspiracy of Jewish persecution that puts him in direct opposition to his beloved Israel, while also jeopardizing his career, his marriage, and his life. In Argentina, Bruno hatches an unscrupulous plot to finance a multi-national corporation, and in time, his efforts require a business trip to London -- his first visit to Europe since he escaped. After forty years, a lost family heirloom will decide their fate.

My full Rebeccas Reads review can be found here. But here's an excerpt:

The author intricately weaves together the stories of Leo and Bruno throughout the novel. Each man is affected by the war, but uses different means to cope and move on. From the moment Bruno steals the emerald, we know their fates are intertwined. With each page turn, we eagerly anticipate how the two stories will collide. The author leaves us guessing until the very end.

Although the novel is a thrilling page-turner, it is still steeped in emotion. Both men are victims of circumstance. I found Leo’s letters from his mom particularly touching, and Bruno grew up under the thumb of selfishness and judgment. Neither man’s character is clear cut, both are just men held strongly in the often cruel hands of fate. You will enjoy this rich story, and its well-crafted characters, from beginning to end. An amazing cover seals the deal.


I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well-told tale, full of twists and turns and memorable characters. If you love historical fiction, move it to the top of your to-be-read pile.

5 stars

For more information, please visit the author's website.