The story is at its most successful when exploring Heddy’s loss of innocence as she comes of age during a period of intense turmoil. She is precocious and observant, and glimpsing a father’s predicament through the eyes of a child is noteworthy. While the dehumanizing treatment Oscar faces will deeply affect readers, the pursuit of wealth-based reparations can feel cold in the context of such widespread suffering.
This bold narrative is remarkably different from typical novels and novelizations of World War II. The bureaucratic villains are respected real-life political figures (Charles de Gaulle, Raoul Nordling), and, rather than focusing on the cruelty of the Nazis, the horrors of the Holocaust, or the war itself, Frosell da Ponte explores how greed and self-preservation can corrupt anyone. Though the historical accuracy of the story is largely unknown (the records of this affair are not readily available), this provocative work illuminates an atypical battle against oppression and intimidation.
Takeaway: This challenging, original historical dramatization is perfect for those interested in moral grey areas and corrupt bureaucracy.
Great for fans of: Amor Towles’s A Gentleman in Moscow, John le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-