The Light After the War

Atria. Feb. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781982122973. $27. F
DEBUT Based on the true story of her mother’s life, Abriel’s first novel, set during and immediately following World War II, is moving and captivating. Vera and Edith, Jewish teenagers in Budapest, narrowly escape from the cattle car headed to Auschwitz. Believing that their parents and Edith’s true love, Stephan, were killed in labor camps, the best friends hide out on an Austrian farm until the war ends. The 19-year-old girls then start new lives in Naples. Vera, who dreams of being a playwright, begins a secretarial job at the American Embassy, working for Capt. Anton Wight, son of a wealthy American hotel chain owner. Vera and Anton quickly fall in love, allowing Vera a bit of happiness after so much loss. Yearning to be a famous designer, Edith sews dresses while mourning Stephan. After Anton disappears, Vera and Edith move to Caracas, Venezuela, where Vera meets wealthy, handsome Ricardo and her life changes forever.
VERDICT Fans of Marta Hall Kelley and Kristin Hannah will delight in this powerful tale of strong female friendship and second-chance romance set in picturesque Naples, Venezuela, and Australia.

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