Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Imposter Bride

Author: Nancy Richler

Publisher: Harper Collins Canada
Publication Date: March 20, 2012
Print ISBN: 9781446404020
eBook ISBN: 9781443404051

Pages: 352
Genre: Historical Fiction/Canadian

First Line: "In a small room off a banquet hall in Montreal, Lily Kramer sat in silence with her new husband."

Synopsis: World War II has just ended when a young woman named Lily Azerov arrives in Montreal prepared to start a new life. It soon becomes clear to her new husband and his family that she is not the woman she claimed to be. This is made even more evident when she suddenly disappears leaving her infant daughter and husband with only two journals and an uncut diamond to remember her by.
As the daughter grows up she receives occasional and confusing gifts in the mail from her mother which only leave her with more unanswered questions. Why did her mother abandon her? What is her mother's true identity? Where did she go? These unanswered questions lead her to begin a search for her mother.

My Thoughts: I was excited to read this Advanced Reading Copy for a few reasons. First, I have always loved reading about the World War II era. While it has always fascinated me, the books that I usually read on that subject tend to focus on the actual war and don't use the historic backdrop of the aftermath of the war. I loved that The Imposter Bride shows that the devastation didn't end with the war. Richler not only focuses on Lily's character but how the war affected the Jewish community in Montreal as well.
Secondly, the story had many criteria that I feel make up a great read. There was mystery, family drama, history and the fact that it was set in Canada was icing on the cake for me.

Being a very proud Canuck I loved reading a book set in Canada. When I came across a paragraph that mentioned Trout Lake in the Laurentians I was more than a little thrilled (I have spent many summers on the shore of Trout Lake in North Bay, Ontario). But it's with more than a little embarrassment that I admit that I don't read nearly enough Canadian fiction. Yes, I have my favourite Canadian authors (Kelley Armstrong, Susanna Kearsley and Lawrence Hill to name a few) but I know that I need to take a jump into the Canadian author pool more regularly to find those Canadian gems and experience the talent that is right in my own backyard!
Richler definitely knows how to draw the reader in with her writing. Right from the start of the book I loved Richler's voice which was engaging and made me want to keep reading to find out more about her characters. While Ruth was the main character of the story it was Lily who drew me in and kept me reading. Lily was a very complicated and tragic character. Here's this woman who survives the war, steals the identity of another woman in order to have a chance at a better life only to find that things don't go as smoothly as she had planned. I do wish that we had heard more from Lily's point of view after she left her family. I would have loved to have heard Lily's inner dialogue about why she left and what she was feeling at the time.

Overall, I liked this book. The characters were interesting, the plot had a good pace but, if I'm being honest, I felt a little let down when I learned why Lily left her family. I suppose I was expecting some huge family secret to be unleashed on the family. When I read the real reason she took off on her infant and husband it was less dramatic than I was expecting.
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. On one hand I loved the subject, the era and the characters but unfortunately it just didn't grab me as much as I had hoped.

My Rating: 3/5 stars
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Harper Collins Canada, through NetGalley.

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