THE GIRL THEY LEFT BEHIND by Roxanne VeletzosHardcover: 368 Pages | Publisher: Atria Books (October 9, 2018)
A sweeping family saga and love story that offers a vivid and unique portrayal of life in war-torn 1941 Bucharest and life behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet Union occupation—perfect for fans of Lilac Girls and Sarah’s Key.
On a freezing night in January 1941, a little Jewish girl is found on the steps of an apartment building in Bucharest. With Romania recently allied with the Nazis, the Jewish population is in grave danger, undergoing increasingly violent persecution. The girl is placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by a wealthy childless couple who name her Natalia. As she assimilates into her new life, she all but forgets the parents who were forced to leave her behind. They are even further from her mind when Romania falls under Soviet occupation.
Yet, as Natalia comes of age in a bleak and hopeless world, traces of her identity pierce the surface of her everyday life, leading gradually to a discovery that will change her destiny. She has a secret crush on Victor, an intense young man who as an impoverished student befriended her family long ago. Years later, when Natalia is in her early twenties and working at a warehouse packing fruit, she and Victor, now an important official in the Communist regime, cross paths again. This time they are fatefully drawn into a passionate affair despite the obstacles swirling around them and Victor’s dark secrets.
When Natalia is suddenly offered a one-time chance at freedom, Victor is determined to help her escape, even if it means losing her. Natalia must make an agonizing decision: remain in Bucharest with her beloved adoptive parents and the man she has come to love, or seize the chance to finally live life on her own terms, and to confront the painful enigma of her past.
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MY REVIEW: (LAWonder10)
I highly recommend this book, based on factual events and some real individuals! In a world where confusion exists so strongly on what life in Socialism is like, this book gives the general public a good view.
This story covers the time period from the beginning of World War ll, then into the 1960s.
The author has done a lot of intense research to bring the fiction portion of the book as close to fact as possible.
Based on the lives of real individuals, this is the story of a young Jewish couple with a small child fleeing place to place for safety as they flee persecution of Jews in Romania. They find refuge at a home of a friend of the young man's father. However, they have to live very quietly in the small attic.
Knowing they couldn't remain hidden with a small child, and if she were discovered on a resident's step, she wouldn't be killed, the parents very reluctantly leave the child behind. Upon the discovery of the little girl, the resident took her in her home for the night then to the orphanage the next day.
A volunteer at the orphanage told a cousin, who had not been able to complete her pregnancies, of the little girl who had not been speaking, eating or drinking since they found her. The couple eagerly made arrangements and adopted the young girl.
This is a story of complete of of two couple for one little girl. It is, also, a story of the successes and devastation occurring during that time period. It is very interesting and, at times, emotionally stirring. The reader's interest is maintained throughout the story.
The characters are very real and the reader is'brought into: the story in a way one can imagine one's there.
The Title and Cover a a terrific "fit".
I offer a Four and a Half Stars rating
*This book was gifted me with not request of a positive review. This is my honest review.
About Roxanne Veletzos:
Roxanne Veletzos was born in Bucharest, Romania and moved to California with her family as a young teen. Already fluent in English and French, she began writing short stories about growing up in her native Eastern Europe, at first as a cathartic experience as she transitioned to a new culture, then simply to pursue what had become an unrelenting passion. She has worked as an editor, content writer, and marketing manager for a number of Fortune 500 companies and has been writing fiction since 2012. Her first novel, THE GIRL THEY LEFT BEHIND, is based on her family’s true story.
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