Tuesday, June 21, 2016

REVIEW: Karolina's Twins by Ronald H Balson

Karolina's Twins
by Ronald H. Balson

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Page Count: 320
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Format: ARC Kindle copy

How got: free ARC from NetGalley

First attention getter: setting and synopsis


From GoodReads:

From the author of Once We Were Brothers comes a saga inspired by true events of a Holocaust survivor’s quest to fulfill a promise, return to Poland and find two sisters lost during World War II.

Lena Woodward, an elderly woman, enlists the help of both lawyer Catherine Lockhart and private investigator Liam Taggart to appraise the story of her harrowing past in Nazi occupied Poland. At the same time, Lena’s son Arthur presents her with a hefty lawsuit under the pretense of garnering her estate—and independence—for his own purposes. Where these stories intersect is through Lena’s dubious account of her life in war-torn Poland, and her sisterhood with a childhood friend named Karolina. Lena and Karolina struggled to live through the atrocity of the Holocaust, and at the same time harbored a courageous, yet mysterious secret of maternity that has troubled Lena throughout her adult life. In telling her story to Catherine and Liam, Lena not only exposes the realities of overcoming the horrors of the Holocaust, she also comes to terms with her own connection to her dark past.

Karolina’s Twins is a tale of survival, love, and resilience in more ways than one. As Lena recounts her story, Catherine herself also recognizes the unwavering importance of family as she prepares herself for the arrival of her unborn child. Through this association and many more, both Lena and Catherine begin to cherish the dogged ties that bind not only families and children, but the entirety of mankind.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - none given since DNF-ed @ 20%

I must be in the severe minority when it came to this book and author. Maybe it was trying to get into characters and story while starting with book three; don’t know. Yet, I found myself disappointed, DNF-ing at 20% because I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Given the hype this author has garnered, there’s got to be something to his writing. I heard his first book was on book club reading lists, a bestseller, and the rights have recently been optioned for a movie. So obviously something good is going on here.

Apparently I’m not like most folks. Maybe books one and two were better. However, this one was a chore to get through, even up to the point of the 20% where I dropped it. Except for a few scenes between Catherine and Liam, the entire first 20% was one huge information dump in the form of a lawyer interview, conveying Lena’s story of Holocaust survival.

While the information and story doesn’t lend itself to boredom, I found myself slogging through one endless conversation. I couldn’t immerse myself into Lena’s story as we were just told everything. The sights, sounds, and emotions of that suspenseful tale were lost in the format in which they were told. I never thought I’d come across a book that would make the Holocaust boring, but this book accomplished that.

Sad to say I wasn’t thrilled with this one, especially since I dropped it so quickly. The endless slog of a lawyer interview/conversation that lasted chapters killed it quickly. Maybe if the author had chosen a different layout or format to tell the story. Who knows? I might give books one and two a look; maybe I’ll get the author’s writing style and Catherine’s and Liam’s characters better then. Sad I started with this one, though.

Note: Book received for free from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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