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Monday, February 20, 2012

Pictures of the Past...Review

About the book:
Pictures of the Past is a compelling saga sweeping through Chicago, Paris and Berlin, reliving events from pre-World War II Europe, but beginning in contemporary times. An Impressionist painting, hanging for decades in the Art Institute of Chicago and donated by the charismatic philanthropist Taylor Woodmere, is challenged by an elderly woman as a Nazi theft. 

Taylor's gripping and passionate story takes us back to 1937. Sent to Paris on family business, he reluctantly leaves his girlfriend Emily, a spoiled debutante from Newport, Rhode Island. But once in Europe, he immediately falls in love, first with an Henri Lebasque painting, and then with the enchanting Sarah Berger of Berlin. After Taylor returns home, the Berger family becomes trapped in the Nazi web, and any attempts for the new lovers to be reunited are thwarted.

Interwoven with this narrative is the story of Rachel Gold, a beautiful and bright Chicago girl caught up in the times of the late 1960's. Pregnant and abandoned by her boyfriend Court Woodmere, Taylor's son, she moves to New York to live with her aunt, a Holocaust survivor. Years later, as the controversy surrounding the provenance of the painting becomes public, Rachel's grown son is disturbed by his inexplicable familiarity with the work of art. And it is only Taylor Woodmere who can unravel the complicated puzzle of their lives. 

With a heart-grabbing ending, Pictures of the Past is historical fiction, giving a personalized window to the powerful events and intriguing venues of the eras. From a world torn by the horrors of war, a love story emerges that endures through years of separation.

I enjoy historical novels.  The World War II years are a time that fascinate me.  I love art.  Package all three of those together in one novel and I'm hooked.  That the story is compelling is even better.

Taylor Woodmere's story begins in 1937 when he travels to France and Germany on business.  He leaves behind a girlfriend and doesn't anticipate falling in love with the daughter of his German associate or a painting.    What follows is a story I was quickly drawn into and one that spans oceans and generations.

Deby Eisenberg has crafted a terrific debut novel that has not only captured the essence of pre- and post-war Germany and the hate and fear that was so prevalent, but also the strength and resilience of the Jewish people.  Often books with chapters that alternate between characters and even past and present can be confusing.  However, here,  the alternating chapters and time periods merge together smoothly and the reader discovers a rich, heartwarming story of love lost and love found and family secrets. 

Thanks to Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book Promotion for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Deby Eisenberg here.  You can purchase your own copy here.  You can see other tour stops and reviews here.

Monday, February 6
Book reviewed at Year of Jubilee Reviews

Tuesday, February 7
Book reviewed at Book Nook Club

Wednesday, February 8
Book reviewed at Acting Balanced

Thursday, February 9
Guest blogging at Acting Balanced

Friday, February 10
Book reviewed at Moonlight, Lace & Mayhem

Monday, February 13
Book reviewed at True Media Solutions

Tuesday, February 14
Book reviewed at Bookworm Lisa

Wednesday, February 15
Book reviewed at Books in the Burbs

Thursday, February 16
Book reviewed at Hands and Home

Friday, February 17
Book reviewed at Everyday Is An Adventure

Monday, February 20
Book reviewed at 2 Kids and Tired Books

Tuesday, February 21
Book reviewed at Library of Clean Reads

Wednesday, February 22
Book reviewed at Bags, Books & Bon Jovi

Thursday, February 23
Book reviewed at Hey, I Wanna Read That

Friday, February 24
Book reviewed at Celtic Lady’s Reviews

Monday, February 27
Book review & interview at S.O.S. Aloha

Interviewed at Literarily Speaking

Tuesday, February 28
Book reviewed at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, February 29
Book reviewed at The Bookish Dame

Read 2/11

* * * *
4/5 Stars

1 comment:

  1. This sounds great, and that it had the full package for you and were hooked that says a lot! I'll keep an eye out for this one.