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March 27, 2014 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Waldman has an impressive list of accomplishments including a New York Times best seller, Bad Mother, personal essays in The Washington Post and commentary featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Her husband is Pulitzer prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon, but her works have proven time and again that they stand on their own.
In 1945 Salzburg on the heels of World War II, American troops intercept a Hungarian train and learn that it’s laden with gold, jewelry and family heirlooms pillaged from the homes of Hungarian Jews. This discovery sparks Lt. Jack Wiseman’s quest to return the items to their rightful families. At the same time, Wiseman finds himself falling for Ilona, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor with a dark wit and fierce disposition.
Now, in the present day, a dying Wiseman entrusts his granddaughter with his life’s work by finding the owner of a single enamel pendant taken from the train.
Waldman skillfully crafts her story in three threads before, during and after the war, each awash in the poignancy of loss that grew out of the Holocaust. Love and Treasure invests in deeply complex characters, all searching to uncover a shared history connected by WWII.
Love and Treasure is Waldman’s first stab at historical fiction, but preliminary praise from Joyce Carol Oates and Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), coupled with Waldman’s established talent for strong fiction writing, makes for the promise of an exhilarating read that is as thoughtful as it is provocative.