SMUGGLED by Christina Shea

SMUGGLED is an historical novel set in Eastern Europe between 1943 and 1991. Eva Farkes is a young Jewish girl caught in Hungary, when her parents decide to hide her in a flour sack and send her over the boarder to relatives in Rumania. Once there, she acquires a new identity, Anca Balaj, and is forced to forget her parents. She is only five years old.

 

I have read other books from this depressing era, and found it hard to keep going. But somehow, author Christina Shea made me keep my nose to the page as I followed Anca grow up, engage in unhappy love affairs, lose a child and all the other painful things that life flings at us. This is especially true if one was unfortunate enough to be living in Communist Eastern Europe. Anca gradually sees her adopted country Rumania grow poorer and poorer, until one day, the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu is deposed and executed. Anca loses no time in packing up her few belongings and heading back to Hungary, where she becomes Eva Farkes once more.

 

The rest of the story I will leave for you to discover. Suffice it to say that Ms. Shea has written a compelling narrative that is so compelling because almost everything is filtered through the viewpoint of this woman who never loses hope, and whose stoic courage keeps you turning the pages. Five stars.

A Bookclub recommendation. 

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