Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Young lovers are torn apart when Lili Rosenswig flees Paris with her family as the Nazis invade and her husband-to-be stays to defend his country. When the Nazis loot the family’s gallery, including a beloved portrait of Lili's mother, art, love, and war are entwined in an enthralling new historical novel, Portrait of a Woman in White by Susan Winkler.
Susan was captivated by French art and culture as a young child. Her appreciation deepened through a grad school degree in French literature and a career writing non-fiction guidebooks to Paris. Historical accounts of how the Nazis appropriated French art collections – primarily artwork owned by Jewish families – during World War II fired her imagination, inspiring a story of one fictional family’s loss and struggle to rebuild the family identity and fortune in a new country.
The book works all the way through. The story is compelling and well-told, with a lot of plot packed between the covers. The characters are believable people who change in believable ways as the story unfolds. Lili in particular becomes more interesting as she matures from a sassy pre-war teen ager to a responsible adult with difficult choices to face.
With war-torn lovers, a family saga plot, and a stolen Matisse, Portrait of a Woman in White is a terrific novel. Each copy should come with a "Perfect for Book Club" sticker on the cover!
If you would like your review of this book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.
Read my interview of Susan Winkler here.
Also recommended: "French Impressions: Susan Winkler’s Portrait of a Woman in White on love, loss, and the human ability to reinvent oneself" on A Woman's Paris.