Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman

Image result for love and treasure   This was the book that I chose based entirely on it's cover.  For whatever reason, the peacock really spoke to me.   This is the story of a man, Jack, whose duty it is after the end of World War 2 to guard the infamous Treasure Train in Budapest.  Inside the train, wealth and treasure that was taken from the Jews by the Nazis.   Jack falls in love with a girl who is broken inside.  She can't love him the way he wants and eventually he returns home with a single talisman from the train,  a golden pendent with a peacock on it from the girls hometown as a reminder.

On his death bed, Jack feels guilty about having the peacock and asks his grand- daughter, Natalie, to try and return it to it's rightful owner.  The rest of the story is about Natalie's quest and what she finds along the way.

This was a really interesting story about a part of history that I really didn't know a lot about.  I, of course, knew that the Nazi's had taken treasure and possessions from the Jews but I didn't really realize that they weren't the only ones.  Even our allies were guilty.  I also didn't know about the political power struggle to gain ownership of the treasure nor of the struggle of militarized jews to have the nation state of Israel created.

I loved the symbolism in this book - peacocks being a symbol of disaster and bad luck.  As the history of the pendant is traced back through untold atrocities.... the symbol is always there.  It's a deep book and certainly not a quick read but very interesting.  I'm glad I read it.  4 out of 5 stars.

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