We all know the heartbreaking, inspiring story of young Anne Frank. But what if her story had taken a different turn? What if, instead of perishing at Bergen-Belsen, she had made it out alive? This newest tale from David R. Gillam imagines just that.
She would almost certainly reunite with her beloved father who actually did survive. As the sole living members of their family, they’d only have each other. Maybe they’d fall back into their routines, working at the family business. Maybe Anne would pick up where she left off, taking up her writing once again. But it’s just as likely that too many things would have changed, made them all different people.
There are many things to like about this story. It’s full of historical accuracies making it highly believable. It also makes you wonder what might have been…
There’s nothing quite like having a sister to help you through life. In Lucky Us, the expectation is that Iris will take care of her little sister Eva after their loved ones abandon them. But it is Eva who holds together the relationship, with dim hope and quiet strength. The sisters embark on an adventure like no other, opening their eyes and their lives to worldliness and shallow sophistication. They try – but fail – to piece together a family. They try again. And again.
Lucky Us is about losing a family and finding a family. It’s about the damage that a mother and father can do and undo. It’s about making a life out of nothing but the kindness of strangers, and then recognizing that kindness as the only love you’ll ever know.
This book is historical fiction, set during the 1940s, referencing the war and its horrors, and illustrating the stunning commonalities among Jews, Germans, and Japanese. I don’t even like historical fiction, but I was taken in by the human facet of the decade. It read so much like contemporary fiction that I forgot what decade I was in. The crafting of this book is exceptional, the format perfect for the story, and the writing is tight, with every substantial paragraph meaning more than you think.
Lucky Us is hopeful. Eva shows how a young woman can endure much – maybe not with joy but with grace – and find acceptance for the life she has.
I found Eva so impressive, gracious, and strong. The grand finale in Eva’s life is the return of two loved ones. Adding them to the one who never left is Eva’s happily-ever-after finally coming to fruition. Lucky, indeed.
Note: Amy Bloom will give a free talk about LUCKY US on Friday, August 1, at 7p.m. at RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut.