Monday, May 23, 2011

REview: 21 Aldgate (Hardcover)
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I love books that I can FEEL. Patricia Friedberg, after recalling family memories, doing extensive research, and fictionalizing, allowed me to feel the strength and love of the family as they shared their worries and fears as well as laughter at the nightly dinner gathering. She allowed me to feel the emotions Clara experienced as she made her difficult choices. She allowed me to feel the anxiety of Londoners, their confusion, debates,protests and ultimate acceptance of war. Her characters are vivid and I wish I had known them all. I anticipated each new chapter, wondering who would take me where; to the front window at 21 where Nelly sat and observed the activities on High Street each evening? To artist Paul Maze's beautiful homes far from the East End? To his bed? To Munich where the intrigue and action were suspenseful? This novel is a learning experience as well. Of particular note is the extent of anti-semitism and the well described development of Winston Churchill's rise to power. The communal spirit that held together the family and Londoners alike was evident and enviable as we read Friedberg's description of utter destruction and devastation. We smile though as we watch spirit, determination and love survive. What a fabulous film this will make...I want front row!

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