Thursday, March 10, 2016

Fever at Dawn by Péter Gárdos, Elizabeth Szász (Translated by)

He's been sent to a faraway hospital to recover from his injuries and illnesses from the war.  He's told that he only has six months to live.  He doesn't give up.  He starts writing letters to Hungarian women refugees, looking for a wife.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 12th.

What makes this book special is that this a fictional story about the author's parents.  He found out years after his father died that the letters still existed.  He used them to provide the bones of this story.

This a sweet and sad tale about the end of WWII and the Jewish survivors.  The woman he feels closest to has a kidney problem.  He has tuberculosis.  They have to struggle and lie a bit to even get to see each other.  The courtship is short because they don't know how much time they have.  But love is love and they found it despite the war and the naysayers.  One jealous girl keeps trying to keep them apart but it doesn't happen.

Religious beliefs cause some problems, too.  The girl has changed her name and said she wasn't Jewish anymore.  He was more of an atheist than a Jew.  They decide to get married Catholic.  However, the Rabbi almost blackmails them so they stay Jewish.  He helped them with their quest to get married but it was an odd way to do it.

Needless to say, the man lived longer than six months.  This is sweet story overall about a couple who fought all the odds not only as a Jew during the holocaust but in trying to marry each other.  I'm glad it ended happily ever after.

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