Inspired by an incredible true story of two Jewish friends who survived the Holocaust, this “heartfelt and memorable tale of family, love, resilience, and the triumph of human spirit” (Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author) spans World War II from Budapest to Austria and the postwar years from Naples to Caracas, perfect for fans of The German Girl and We Were the Lucky Ones.
Spring 1946: Best friends Vera Frankel and Edith Ban arrive in Naples. Refugees from Hungary, they managed to escape from a train headed for Auschwitz and spent the rest of the war hiding on an Austrian farm. Now, the two young women are starting new lives abroad.
Armed with a letter of recommendation from an American officer, Vera finds work at the United States embassy where she falls in love with Captain Anton Wight. But as Vera and Edith grapple with the aftermath of the war, so too does Anton, and when he suddenly disappears, Vera is forced to change course. Their quest for a better life takes Vera and Edith from Naples to Ellis Island to Caracas as they start careers, reunite with old friends, and rebuild their lives after terrible loss.
Moving, evocative, and compelling, The Light After the War is a timely and “unforgettable story of strength, love, and survival” (Jillian Cantor, USA TODAY bestselling author).
Abriel's muddled debut, based on her mother's life, centers on two Jewish-Hungarian refugees as they make their way across the world during and after WWII. Best friends Vera Frankel and Edith Ban miraculously escape a train taking them to Auschwitz in 1944. After hiding on an Austrian farm to see out the war, the girls arrive in Naples, Italy, in 1947 and attempt to find work. Vera is hired as a secretary for dashing American officer Anton Wight, who she instantly falls for, though she tries hide her feelings. When Anton disappears, Vera and Edith decide to leave Italy and begin anew once again. They are turned away at Ellis Island, but find refuge in Caracas, Venezuela, where Vera works as a copy editor and Edith chases her dream of becoming a fashion designer. Vera is soon romanced by successful but volatile businessman Ricardo Albee, but she finds it difficult to move on from her love for Anton and her traumatic past. The backdrop of 1940s Naples and Caracas is refreshing if inconsistently researched (including an improbable trip to Venezuela's Angel Falls), and the characters' wartime experiences and their search for a place to carve out a new home give the plot poignancy. Yet the novel as a whole is disappointingly flat: Vera's insights are often pat, and most characters' motivations remain inscrutable. Despite a promising premise, this underdeveloped tale fails to live up to its potential.