Author: Ayelet Waldman

+Blog Book Tour+ Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman

Posted Thursday, 3 July, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 3 Comments

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Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman

Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman

Published By: Alfred A. Knopf (),
an imprint of DoubleDay and part of Random House Publishing Group 1 April, 2014
Official Author Websites: Site | Twitter | Facebook
Available Formats: Hardcover, Audiobook, Ebook Page Count: 334

Converse on Twitter: #LoveandTreasure & #LoveandTreasureBlogTour

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Love & Treasure” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary hardback copy of the book direct from the publisher Alfred A. Knof, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comBook Synopsis:

A spellbinding new novel of contraband masterpieces, tragic love, and the unexpected legacies of forgotten crimes, Ayelet Waldman’s Love and Treasure weaves a tale around the fascinating, true history of the Hungarian Gold Train in the Second World War.

In 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, victorious American soldiers capture a train filled with unspeakable riches: piles of fine gold watches; mountains of fur coats; crates filled with wedding rings, silver picture frames, family heirlooms, and Shabbat candlesticks passed down through generations. Jack Wiseman, a tough, smart New York Jew, is the lieutenant charged with guarding this treasure—a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets Ilona, a fierce, beautiful Hungarian who has lost everything in the ravages of the Holocaust. Seventy years later, amid the shadowy world of art dealers who profit off the sins of previous generations, Jack gives a necklace to his granddaughter, Natalie Stein, and charges her with searching for an unknown woman—a woman whose portrait and fate come to haunt Natalie, a woman whose secret may help Natalie to understand the guilt her grandfather will take to his grave and to find a way out of the mess she has made of her own life.

A story of brilliantly drawn characters—a suave and shady art historian, a delusive and infatuated Freudian, a family of singing circus dwarfs fallen into the clutches of Josef Mengele, and desperate lovers facing choices that will tear them apart—Love and Treasure is Ayelet Waldman’s finest novel to date: a sad, funny, richly detailed work that poses hard questions about the value of precious things in a time when life itself has no value, and about the slenderest of chains that can bind us to the griefs and passions of the past.


Praise on behalf of the novel:

“Love and Treasure is something of a treasure trove of a novel. Its beautifully integrated parts fit inside one another like the talismanic pendant/ locket at the heart of several love stories. Where the opening chapters evoke the nightmare of Europe in the aftermath of World War II with the hallucinatory vividness of Anselm Kiefer’s disturbing canvases, the concluding chapters, set decades before, in a more seemingly innocent time in the early 20th century, are a bittersweet evocation, in miniature, of thwarted personal destinies that yet yield to something like cultural triumph. Ayelet Waldman is not afraid to create characters for whom we feel an urgency of emotion, and she does not resolve what is unresolvable in this ambitious, absorbing and poignantly moving work of fiction.”
—Joyce Carol Oates

Author Biography:

Ayelet Waldman Photo Credit: Reenie Raschke
Photo Credit: Reenie Raschke

Ayelet Waldman is the author of the newly released Love and Treasure (Knopf, January 2014), Red Hook Road and The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was made into a film starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays and profiles of such public figures as Hillary Clinton have been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Vogue, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Her radio commentaries have appeared on “All Things Considered” and “The California Report.”

For more information please visit Ayelet’s website . Her missives also appear on Facebook and Twitter.

Her books are published throughout the world, in countries as disparate as England and Thailand, the Netherlands and China, Russia and Israel, Korea and Italy.

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My Review of Love & Treasure:

Of all the ways in which I had an illusion of how this novel would open and begin, I think the first paragraph for me was an eye opener, as it did not quite match where my mind felt this novel would start. The rest of the first page was a bit jolting as well, as I found I had trouble finding my feet in the narrative. Where I thought the narrative voice would be empathic and soft, I found myself reading a sharpened edge of sound and vision. When Waldman starts to focus on the heart of the story centered around the lost possessions and valuable heirlooms of the Jewish families from World War II, her writing finds its clarity and knits together in a way that is a bit more fluid for me than the opening bits of dialogue being exchanged between a grand-daughter and her grand-father. She writes more into the historical bits than the everyday moments, which lends me to thinking her writing voice is hitched inside the historical elements to where she could write full-on historicals without the modern era attached.

The most tender scenes were exchanged between Jack Wiseman and Ilona Jakab, as each of them during the war were attempting to keep their sanity intact by not losing their humanity. Wiseman deferred to showing kindness during the rehousing of those who were returning from internment camps, and Ilona was electing to show her true strength and spirit, but deflecting her fears as she interacted with Wiseman. I appreciated how they met quite accidentally due to the train Wiseman was in charge of shifting its cargo to a warehouse. It reminded me a bit of a ‘meet cute’ in motion picture, despite the tragedy of their paths crossing during the Allied Occupation of Hungry. They each took each other by a surprise which refreshed their spirits and gave a kind grace to their situations.

I kept finding myself falling in and out of step with this story, because I am not one for crude humour nor crude expressions, and as I tried to continue to read the story with an open mind towards the time and era the story is set, I kept finding myself wishing Waldman had chosen different ways to express what was happening. I have read plenty of stories set during both World Wars, and the writers were not buckling down to this level of bare boned narration. The bits and bobbles I appreciated were starting to grow pale against the increasing tide of what either made me flinch or had my eyes adverting reading the paragraphs completely.

For me the story is told in a bit of a gritty and stark reality vein of dialogue and narrative voice; which made this difficult to read for my own readings tend to be towards a different vein of tact. I appreciate stories set during the wars, as war dramas and war romances are ones I tend to gravitate towards, but there is something different inside this one. I felt there was an undertone that I could not quite put my finger on but it wasn’t something that I felt I wanted to continue to read. I left the story fully intact without reaching the middle because to do so would have not proved enjoyable. I believe this story is best for readers who can appreciate the tone and dictation of action with a language presence that would not affect someone as much as it did me. I was truly disappointed as I was hoping to discover a historical mystery inside of a war drama; leading me through passages of research and provenance of personal property and giving me a historical epic of humanity.

Fly in the Ointment:

There are times where I give a pass on vulgarity but in this particular instance, the inclusion of strong language does not sit well with me because I could think of at least a handful of expressions or phrases to elicit the same manner of empathsis as found on page 6. The most obvious word instead is ‘muddled’. I am not an advocate for vulgarity in literature, and the few times I have given leeway to an author’s choice of inclusion is few and far between; the reasons were valid and if you go through the “Topics, Subjects, & Genres” cloud in the lower sidebar area of my blog, you will discover the reasons why I find strong language offensive and why in certain instances I did not wrinkle a brow over them. This novel kept pushing my envelope for tolerance.

I happen to know a bit about the setting of the story (the state of Maine) and what disrupted me a bit were the observations knitted into the backdrop, most especially about Bangor. I found myself with conflicting information, to where I was thinking to myself, that’s not true! The way in which Maine is represented in the book and specifics such as only one restaurant is open in Bangor during the long Winter months, in all honesty surprised me? I felt like there was a ‘fictional’ representation of Maine happening in this book, rather than an honest window into life in Maine.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis book review is courtesy of: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Virtual Road Map of “Love & Treasure” Blog Tour:

Love & Treasure Virtual Tour with HFVBTs

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comas I am happily honoured to be a blog tour hostess for:

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Previously I  hosted Ms. Waldman in an interview attached to this tour!

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Love and Treasure (book trailer) by Ayelet Waldman via KnopfDoubleday

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “Love & Treasure”, Author Biography, Book Synopsis, and the quoted praise by Joyce Carol Oates  were provided by HFVBT – Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs.   Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. The book trailer for “Love & Treasure” via KnopfDoubleday had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Thursday, 3 July, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Aftermath of World War II, Art, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Trailer, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Judaism in Fiction, Maine, The World Wars, Vulgarity in Literature