by Ronald H. Balson
Description: Elliot Rosenzweig, a respected civic leader and wealthy philanthropist, is attending a fundraiser when he is suddenly accosted and accused of being a former Nazi SS officer named Otto Piatek. Although the charges are denounced as preposterous, his accuser, Ben Solomon, is convinced he is right. Solomon urges attorney Catherine Lockhart to take his case, revealing that Otto Piatek was abandoned as a child and raised by Solomon's family only to betray them during the Nazi occupation. But has he accused the right man? Once We Were Brothers is the compelling tale of two boys and a family that struggles to survive in war-torn Poland. It is also the story of a young lawyer who must face not only a powerful adversary, but her own self-doubts.
My Thoughts: Bummer! Serious bummer. This book just didn't do it for me. I had such high hopes. True, it was very powerful, in the beginning. But I started to lose interest. I've asked myself, "Why? Surely, I will like this. Everyone that I know whose read this book cannot say enough good things about it."
The truth is, I think I would have stayed engaged with the story a whole lot more if it did not toggle between present-day events and Ben's narration of his past in war-torn Poland. Ben's past was highly engaging to me. However, the female attorney annoyed me; her questions were a bit pathetic almost as if I - the reader - needed to be spoon fed details of history. But the thing is, I do not like to be spoon fed. And, it was hard for me to believe that she really did not know much about this period in time. Besides that, I really did not care about her storyline at all. Seriously, Ben's narration I truly liked. His history was compelling. The present-day events, I did not like so much.
There were other books begging for attention; books that were more inline with my current reading mood. So, I have set this book down. I gave up around page 100. Returned it to the library. I will pick it back up again, at a later date. At a time where I may be in a greater mood for a holocaust story of this writing style. Generally, I love reading historical-fiction set during the time of World War II which is another reason why I expected to really fall into this story. With that in mind, I did not put this book on my "Did Not Finish" electronic GoodReads shelf even though technically it belongs there. Instead, Once We Are Brothers is being placed on my Hold shelf (the shelf of books that I will go back to and read; it consists mostly of non-fiction because, you know, non-fiction can be paused and picked up again months down the road). So, yes, I stopped at page 100 so I cannot say for certain if I would have grown more accustomed to this author's toggling approach and/or started to get into the female attorney's storyline. Hopefully, when I pick it back up again, I will fall into the story and not come back out until I've read the last page.
In the meantime, I am going to continue to gorge myself with the likes of Victorian era stories and Susanna Kearsley historical time-slip type novels. Those books are totally feeding my current reading mood.
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