Smart, fierce, lovely, and intricate.

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CARTIER'S HOPE

A crusading Gilded Age journalist makes a soul connection with a jeweler, who unwittingly helps her leverage the mystique of the Hope Diamond as she fights for justice.

New York heiress Vera Garland has a secret: She’s also the popular female journalist Vee Swann, a secret identity she maintains through a no-nonsense disguise and backstory that depends on her living in a significantly less upscale part of town than her family. She feels it’s necessary to stay in touch with the stories of the day, especially those that deal with tenements, immigrants, and the struggles of the less privileged, including working women. Her mother disapproves of her work, so Vera depends on the love and approval of her father, Granville Garland, owner of a Fifth Avenue emporium. Going undercover in a tenement, Vee befriends a young neighbor, but when the girl falls ill and Vee offers to pay for a doctor, the child’s drunk, enraged father throws her down a stairway. Severely injured and emotionally wounded by the child’s death, Vera moves into the beautiful Tiffany-designed penthouse apartment above her father's store. She is just beginning to feel herself again when her father dies from a heart attack. Vera inherits the apartment and, in clearing out his things, discovers a letter that makes her realize her father had deep secrets, including a love affair with a man that predated his marriage. She suspects he died of a broken heart since his lover committed suicide to protect them both from a blackmailer. Meanwhile, the Hope Diamond has come to New York, residing in Cartier’s Fifth Avenue shop. Vera suspects Cartier is playing up the jewel's dramatic history to try to increase its value. She effects an accidental meeting with Jacob Asher, an enigmatic jeweler whose renowned family was decimated in the Russian pogroms and who now works with Cartier. When the two become close, she blurs the lines between her professional and personal lives, gaining information from their relationship that reflects badly on Cartier in order to expose her father's extortionist. When justice is served, however, Vera must decide what she’s willing to fight for in her personal life. Rose’s newest title is complex and compelling, with many threads of history, plot, and character that weave together into a bold, satisfying tapestry. Along the way, she touches on issues society still faces: power, privilege, anti-Semitism, women’s sexual, social, and professional rights, and the never-ending struggle for tolerance and equality.

Smart, fierce, lovely, and intricate.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7363-9

Page Count: 334

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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Though gripping, even moving at times, the novel doesn’t do justice to the solemn history from which it is drawn.

CILKA'S JOURNEY

In this follow-up to the widely read The Tattooist of Auschwitz (2018), a young concentration camp survivor is sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor in a Russian gulag.

The novel begins with the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops in 1945. In the camp, 16-year-old Cecilia "Cilka" Klein—one of the Jewish prisoners introduced in Tattooist—was forced to become the mistress of two Nazi commandants. The Russians accuse her of collaborating—they also think she might be a spy—and send her to the Vorkuta Gulag in Siberia. There, another nightmarish scenario unfolds: Cilka, now 18, and the other women in her hut are routinely raped at night by criminal-class prisoners with special “privileges”; by day, the near-starving women haul coal from the local mines in frigid weather. The narrative is intercut with Cilka’s grim memories of Auschwitz as well as her happier recollections of life with her parents and sister before the war. At Vorkuta, her lot improves when she starts work as a nurse trainee at the camp hospital under the supervision of a sympathetic woman doctor who tries to protect her. Cilka also begins to feel the stirrings of romantic love for Alexandr, a fellow prisoner. Though believing she is cursed, Cilka shows great courage and fortitude throughout: Indeed, her ability to endure trauma—as well her heroism in ministering to the sick and wounded—almost defies credulity. The novel is ostensibly based on a true story, but a central element in the book—Cilka’s sexual relationship with the SS officers—has been challenged by the Auschwitz Memorial Research Center and by the real Cilka’s stepson, who says it is false. As in Tattooist, the writing itself is workmanlike at best and often overwrought.

Though gripping, even moving at times, the novel doesn’t do justice to the solemn history from which it is drawn.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-26570-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as...

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THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ

An unlikely love story set amid the horrors of a Nazi death camp.

Based on real people and events, this debut novel follows Lale Sokolov, a young Slovakian Jew sent to Auschwitz in 1942. There, he assumes the heinous task of tattooing incoming Jewish prisoners with the dehumanizing numbers their SS captors use to identify them. When the Tätowierer, as he is called, meets fellow prisoner Gita Furman, 17, he is immediately smitten. Eventually, the attraction becomes mutual. Lale proves himself an operator, at once cagey and courageous: As the Tätowierer, he is granted special privileges and manages to smuggle food to starving prisoners. Through female prisoners who catalog the belongings confiscated from fellow inmates, Lale gains access to jewels, which he trades to a pair of local villagers for chocolate, medicine, and other items. Meanwhile, despite overwhelming odds, Lale and Gita are able to meet privately from time to time and become lovers. In 1944, just ahead of the arrival of Russian troops, Lale and Gita separately leave the concentration camp and experience harrowingly close calls. Suffice it to say they both survive. To her credit, the author doesn’t flinch from describing the depravity of the SS in Auschwitz and the unimaginable suffering of their victims—no gauzy evasions here, as in Boy in the Striped Pajamas. She also manages to raise, if not really explore, some trickier issues—the guilt of those Jews, like the tattooist, who survived by doing the Nazis’ bidding, in a sense betraying their fellow Jews; and the complicity of those non-Jews, like the Slovaks in Lale’s hometown, who failed to come to the aid of their beleaguered countrymen.

The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as nonfiction. Still, this is a powerful, gut-wrenching tale that is hard to shake off.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-279715-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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