Friday, December 12, 2008

Review: Keeping Hannah Waiting


I loved the concept of this book enough to put down everything else I was reading and pick this up as soon as it came in the mail on Friday last week. Thank you Nanci Mora (from Hologram Publishing) for sending me a review copy of this book!

In this book, Kate's mom dies leaving behind a house full of books. Books that she has "rescued" over the years from various places. And better still, all kinds of books. User manuals, log books, novels, etc. Kate needs to sell the house and has no idea about what to do with all the books around the house. While poking around the attic one day, she comes across a log book with a hidden painting. After meeting with experts, she finds out that the painting was a never-publicized work of a renowned artist Marc Chagall. Even before she realizes it, she becomes a millionaire after selling the painting at an art auction.

With the newly obtained money, she decides to take a vacation in Europe. By chance she comes up on a photograph that will eventually lead her to the rightful owner of the painting and the story behind the lady in the painting.. Fascinating premise, right??

The book was well written and a light and easy read. It was fairly captivating and I didn't really put it down once I started reading it. Luckily, it didn't take me too long to get done with it or else I would have done nothing else the whole weekend!

There are a couple of things that I could complain about though. First, the cover art. I am a sucker for interesting looking covers. This cover of this book, though interesting, wasn't really what I would have expected for the book. The art in the cover is supposed to be "The Lady with the Flowers" or the painting that Kate discovers in the book. Sadly, the cover lacks all the magic that the painting is supposed to have. Considering that the painting is the central theme of this book, I would have preferred to see a better representation in the cover. For example, the painting's background is the parlor in Hannah's house. Secondly, Hannah eyes are supposed to be open! All through the  book you read about the captivating blue eyes and the cover doesn't do any justice to the description. In fact, I think that the cover was a distraction.

Anyways, the second thing that I wasn't particularly thrilled about was the fact that Hannah's story reminded me a great deal of the movie - Titanic. Take a look at this:
Rich girl meets poor boy while traveling. Poor boy is an artist. Rich girl is already engaged to boring rich boy. Later, poor boy takes rich girl from stuffy rich people's party to a high energy poor people's folk dance party. Rich girl even manages to show off some of her trained dancing in the party. Finally, poor artist boy paints rich girl in the nude. You tell me.. don't you see the similarities??

In spite of these 2 shortcomings, I would still like to recommend the book. The book gives us a peep into the lives of eastern European Jewish life before the advent of Hitler. From Hannah's story we can see how the rich and influential Jews hardly expected what eventually happened to them. In spite of dealing with a subject like the holocaust, Dave Clarke manages to keep the mood of the book light and makes it an enjoyable read.

Here's another interesting tidbit that I got to know. Dave Clarke is the child of two holocaust survivors.. and the proceeds from the sale of every book will be donated to the Survivor Mitzvah Project to support aging Holocaust survivors in need around the world. Now, that gives you an incentive to buy this book, right?

I definitely enjoyed the read. It was well written and easy to read.. and definitely entertaining.

Let me know your thoughts!

15 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Well it sounded good until you said it reminded you of Titanic. That doesn't appeal to me.

S. Krishna said...

Despite the drawbacks, I still think I'll give this one a try. Thanks!

Dar said...

Hey girl, where have you been? I haven't seen you at my blog in ages. I hope you haven't forgotten me. lol.

I've seen this book reviewed elsewhere although I can't remember where and thought it was an interesting premise. I'll admit to loving Titanic so that wouldn't bother me. I'd still like to give this one a go one day.

Corinne said...

Since I'm an avid reader of Holocaust era books, I'll probably try this one - I just maybe won't purchase it :)

Priya Iyer said...

sounds interesting.. the concept sounds very different from what i have read so far... but the similarities to titanic kinda demotivate me :(

thanks for this suggestion, ramya!

Nymeth said...

Hmmm..that plot does sound exactly like Titanic. But it sounds like it could be a good read regardless.

Kaye said...

Despite a few annoying similarities, it sounded as though you did enjoy the book. I got an e mail from Bostitch about this book and I agreed to reveiw it. I haven't received it yet but when it does come, if it is an easy read, I might just start it right away and ignore the warning eruption signs from Mt. TBRARC

Veens said...

thats too much of a similarity with Titanic :)And I dnt like similarities :(

Trish said...

I haven't heard of this one, but the Eastern Jewish history pre-WWII does sound really interesting. And yes, your description does sound an awful lot like Titanic. Was there a sweaty hand slapped against a car at any point? Sorry--couldn't help myself. :P

Ramya said...

@all - i hope it was clear in my review that i am recommending this book in spite of that little bit strongly resembling the titanic.. i hope that doesn't determine if you want to read this book or now.. i must say that this was a pretty enjoyable book and i liked reading it!:)

Dar said...

Ramya, I rec'd this one in the mail this morning.

Serena said...

I have this one in my TBR pile as well. I can't to read this one...hopefully it will qualify for the War Through the Generations challenge I am hosting with Anna.

Dar said...

That would be great SErena if this one qualifies for the War Challenge as I'll be reading it in January.

Ramya said...

dar,serena - can't wait for you guys to finish reading the book.. I'm curious to read your reactions:)

Anna said...

You mentioned that you reviewed this book in your comment on my review a couple of months ago. I can't believe I'm only getting around to reading it now!

Would it be okay to link to your review on War Through the Generations?

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric