Set against the background of Hungary’s rich peasant culture and rigid class divisions, spanning the years from 1880 to 1944, Anna & Elizabeth tells the story of two very different women and their unlikely friendship --- Anna, a Baptist woman from the countryside, and Elizabeth, her one-time Jewish employer. The story shows how their bond develops and survives, despite war, revolution, and the ravages of time. Inspired by the author’s grandmother and the friend who tried to protect her during the Holocaust, this novel explores the strengths, joys, and sorrows of personal and family relationships.
Set mostly in what is now Hungary, this century-spanning account of friendship between two women and their families has a straightforward, authoritative voice, thanks to the author’s use of her own background and many graceful, modest turns of phrase. But ,while the reader learns much about both history and day-to-day life through several generations, the story rushes through many key events and missed opportunities; the uneven mix of POVs is unpredictable and the epistolary sections are too many and too expository. Still, the novel is a pleasurable read.
Date Submitted: July 09, 2016