Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Book Review: Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman

Title: Love and Treasure
Author: Ayelet Waldman
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Source: Library Copy
Content Alert: Some sex

When Natalie's beloved grandfather Jack is dying of pancreatic cancer, she leaps at the opportunity to escape her life in New York to help him in his final days. Just before his death, he gives her a mission-- to return a peacock necklace he stole from the Hungarian gold train when he was an Army officer at the end of World War II. Readers follow the story of the necklace from the recent past to the distant past, tracing its provenance and searching for the relative who should inherit it.

I'd never heard of the Hungarian gold train, a train filled with the spoils taken from the homes of Hungarian Jews by the Nazis. And the historical sections of the novel, which take place primarily in the 1940s and the 1910s, are fascinating. I loved reading about the feminist movement in Budapest, and psychoanalysis at the same time period. But the modern story of Natalie was not nearly as powerful as the historical stories. I've read other books by Waldman, and I don't think Love and Treasure is her best.

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