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Karolina's Twins by Ronald H. Balson

Monday, September 12, 2016

From the author of Once We Were Brothers comes a saga inspired by true events of a Holocaust survivor’s quest to fulfill a promise, return to Poland and find two sisters lost during World War II.

Lena Woodward, an elderly woman, enlists the help of both lawyer Catherine Lockhart and private investigator Liam Taggart to appraise the story of her harrowing past in Nazi occupied Poland. At the same time, Lena’s son Arthur presents her with a hefty lawsuit under the pretense of garnering her estate—and independence—for his own purposes. Where these stories intersect is through Lena’s dubious account of her life in war-torn Poland, and her sisterhood with a childhood friend named Karolina. Lena and Karolina struggled to live through the atrocity of the Holocaust, and at the same time harbored a courageous, yet mysterious secret of maternity that has troubled Lena throughout her adult life. In telling her story to Catherine and Liam, Lena not only exposes the realities of overcoming the horrors of the Holocaust, she also comes to terms with her own connection to her dark past.

Karolina’s Twins is a tale of survival, love, and resilience in more ways than one. As Lena recounts her story, Catherine herself also recognizes the unwavering importance of family as she prepares herself for the arrival of her unborn child. Through this association and many more, both Lena and Catherine begin to cherish the dogged ties that bind not only families and children, but the entirety of mankind.

Goodreads Summary

Lena's story is fascinating. I love how the author dug into the mind of his character to produce a realistic account of the Holocaust from Lena Woodward's perspective. Her friend, Karolina, and her had a strong friendship and bond. Lena feels responsible for keeping a secret for decades. She must find her friend's twins. Nazi occupied Poland was a difficult and harsh regime to live under. I could tell the author had done a lot of research to the point of where I could picture it in my mind as I read along.

I enjoyed Lena's character. She was resilient, strong, and intelligent. I did, however, prefer Karolina. Catherine and Liam are a husband and wife team who are hired to track down Karolina's twins. Through their interactions with Lena we learn the true story behind what happened decades ago. I hate difficult choices or choices that are impossible to make and this story is rife with them. The author has a cadence to his writing that makes it easy to read for hours. This book is recommended to historical fiction (though parts of the story are true) readers.

4 Stars

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