The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler is an unforgettable novel about a mysterious mail-order bride in the wake of WWII, whose sudden decision ripples through time to deeply impact the daughter she never knew.
In the wake of World War II, a young, enigmatic woman named Lily arrives in Montreal on her own, expecting to be married to a man she’s never met. But, upon seeing her at the train station, Sol Kramer turns her down. Out of pity, his brother Nathan decides to marry her instead, and pity turns into a deep—and doomed—love. It is immediately clear that Lily is not who she claims to be. Her attempt to live out her life as Lily Azerov shatters when she disappears, leaving a new husband and a baby daughter with only a diary, a large uncut diamond – and a need to find the truth...
Who is Lily and what happened to the young woman whose identity she stole? Why has she left and where did she go? It's up to the daughter Lily abandoned to find the answers to these questions, as she searches for the mother she may never find or truly know.
PARTICULARS OF THE BOOK:
Published by: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
Author: Nancy Richler
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
NANCY RICHLER's short fiction has been published in various American and Canadian literary journals, including The Fiddlehead, Room of One’s Own, and The New Quarterly. Her previous novel, Your Mouth is Lovely, published in eleven countries, won the 2003 Canadian Jewish Book Award for fiction and Italy’s 2004 Adei Wizo Award. Nancy is the cousin of the famed Canadian writer and literary critic Mordechai Richler. She lives in Montreal.
THE BOOKISH DAME REVIEWS :
What could be more heart-breaking than to arrive in a strange town after a grueling journey, only to find those you hoped would greet and accept you warmly reject you? Such is the beginning of this novel. Nancy Richler holds us spell-bound in a trance showing us the pain of rejection, and then the humility of being taken up by another in a town that has its "eye" on you. I was cringing and feeling for the protagonist from the start. But, more than that, I was caught up in the beautiful writing of this author.
This is a psychological novel of loss and redemption. We are told bits and pieces of the story through the characters, but mostly through the eyes of Lily's daughter, Ruth. Throughout the novel, the author focuses on the emotional and psychological responses of her characters to the situations they find themselves in. She highlights mother-daughter relationships throughout. She also focuses on the cultural "heritage" and abuse the Jewish community has experienced through the horrors of WWII.
Nancy Richler is an author whom I highly regard. Her style is strong and her prose is beautiful. I love the strength with which she draws Lily. Lily is not a victim of her time and circumstances, rather she is a heroine, a strong and educated woman, and a woman who chooses her path in life. While her choices are not always those all of us would make, we still recognize the courage and will to survive in Lily. Richler examines this spirit of humanity in the face of what seems or is real impending "death," whether physical, emotional or psychological. An amazing study. Lily's resilient spirit is seen, as well, in Ruth's tenacity to find the mystery of who her mother was and why she left her as a child.
While I started out thinking this was just another book about a WWII refugee war bride, I came away with much more. This is a novel I can strongly recommend for the reasons stated above. The story is captivating, but the writing is amazing!
5 stars Deborah/TheBookishDame