This is a wonderfully told story of 1930s Budapest and starts out just as a young Hungarian Jew, Andras Lévi, departs for the École Spéciale d'Architecture in Paris. He hones his talent for design, works backstage in a theater, and allies with other Jewish students in defiance of rising Nazi influence. And then he meets Klara, a captivating Hungarian ballet instructor nine years his senior with a painful past and a willful teenage daughter.
The historic presentation of the book is as forceful and gripping as it is chilling and haunting. Orringer's ability to translate into words the shattering horror of the Jewish experience of the Holocaust and World War II is masterful storytelling of wrenching emotional intensity.
The first 1/3rd is light and builds the reltionships between Andras, his brothers, his college friends and his lover, before it switches to be more focused on the horrific experiences of WWII. I learned a lot of historic events from this is a beautifully researched old fashioned love story. They could have been a bit more judicious in the editing but, other than that, this is a wonderful book.