Karolina's Twins by Ronald H. Balson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a book I could not put down. I have read many accounts of the Holocaust but this one had a fresh perspective. Told by an 89 year old survivor, the protagonist provides a personal narrative that reeled me in.
Lena was a youth in a small Polish village when the Nazis arrived. Her experiences are unique because she spends time hiding, she lives in a ghetto, she finds love, works with the Resistance, and is sent to a concentration camp. The narrative lacks the violent and disturbing details of abuse that is often included in books on the Nazis during WWII. It isn't absent, by any means, but the story is gentrified by innuendo. Regardless, it's still a difficult read knowing the subject matter.
The court case was interesting and well presented. I thought that Arthur's character was flat and predictable. But the core of the book, Lena's narrative, made the book impossible to put down. Well timed, it never drags and stays true to historical events.
The most striking moments were Lena's recollection of returning to her village after the Russians liberate them. Her description of the town square nearly broke my heart. How she returned to the concentration camp that was emptied and deserted. Very moving.
Highly recommend this book.