To Live the Future by Hayuta Katzenelson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is one powerful story about Rivka who was a spy gathering information for the Jewish underground. It is based on history starting in 1938, in Poland, and it spans time and country. It is a real eye opener to the sacrifices many had to make during that time. Although the book centers around a main character, Rivka, it is clear to see that there are many others who were faced with the same or similar circumstances of sacrifice and loss as her family.
Rivka is a well developed character and although I don’t agree with her actions all of the time. She is so strong in many ways yet so vulnerable in others. I can't help liking her and feeling a connection with her so intense that I feel the emotions she is feeling at the time. For example, when her family left for America (the promise land) and she had to stay behind. She was unable to tell her husband why she couldn't go with them and he told her how she was abandoning him and the children. I know this killed her inside and I wanted to cry with her. She was faced with so much tragedy and uncertainty, it was a wonder she was able to function as a human being at all.
The secondary character, Menachem, is more of a mystery although he is well rounded as a character, His feelings and thoughts are well known but I can't help but feel I don't really know him or his past; like he is hiding something. Then again, he also is a spy so there is that bit of secrecy and mystery just because of that. It may be that this was the intentions of the author to carry this feeling of mystery about him throughout the whole story and in either case, it doesn't take away from him as a character, it just makes me as the reader cautious in connecting with him.
There are many other characters in the story, from friends to family. They are all developed enough to understand their place and intent. Many of these are vital for understanding the story and events that took place while others help keep this story moving at its comfortable, consistent pace.
Although I would not say this is not a feel good story by any means, it is believable, and based on real historical events. I should mention that there are a couple of times when Rivka is having sex however it is not detailed or explicit and done in very good taste. There are some of the happy times but I use that term loosely. They were happy times as far as being positive in the character's life at a time when so much heartache and misery is taking place. Even with all these uncertainties about the character's future throughout the book, the twist toward the end really caught me by surprise.
I recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fictions.
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