Monday, November 4, 2013

The Secrets of the Notebook: A Woman's Quest to Uncover Her Royal Family Secret by Eve Haas

This story starts with the author as a young girl in Germany with family and friends.  Life is good.  Then the Nazi's come into power and her life changes.  Her family is Jewish, so they immigrate to England.  Her biggest regret was leaving her grandmother behind...

Arcade Publishing sent me a copy to read for review (thank you).  This book has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This story does not sound like a memoir.  It reads like fiction and the facts are unbelievable.  There's sacrifice, romance, death, and love all twisted together in this tale.  It all starts with a small notebook that her father showed her during bombing in Germany.  He tells her she's too young for it, but never to lose it.  Later in life, she opens the book and that's when her life changes.

The notebook has a secret in it.  Her great-great-grandmother married a Prussian prince secretly.  The King wanted no part of her, since she was a commoner and he gave her nothing when the prince died.  She was set adrift and for years no one knew anything about her circumstances or death.  But Eve is like a dog with a bone.  The notebook is her bone and she's looking for answers.

The story of her search, the troubles she had getting access to records and the amount of time it took to track it down is impressive.  Many of the answers she found made her sad.  At the end, she has found enough to prove that the hints in the notebook were true.

In many ways, this quest was painful for Eve but she didn't give up.  You have to admire someone with her tenacity.  She uncovered the family secret and now knows her family history.  It didn't improve her fortune but knowing the past has given her comfort.

European history is filled with turmoil and wars.  What happened to Eve's family is not unusual.  My grandparents on my Dad's side immigrated from Czechoslovakia after WWI.  Grandpa had translated for the US troops and got citizenship for doing it.  Three years later, my Grandma and Aunt joined him in the US.  They left to avoid war and communism.  I wanted to track down some of our genealogy on the Stajduhar side but I found all the birth certificates were destroyed when they had a courthouse fire in Zagreb that burnt all the records.  I also found out Stajduhar is like "Smith".  Eve was a lot more successful than I was.

I found this read enjoyable and entertaining.  The interaction in her family is sweet and supportive.  It took their help for her to achieve her goal.  This is a story worth reading.

Happy reading. 

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