Beneath a Glass Bridge

February 23, 2020

 

“I was born in darkness, on a gray winter’s day, into a grim reality.”

Western Austria, winter of 1941. Naomi, a young Jewish woman, gives birth to a baby girl in a remote rural farm. The Nazi foe is everywhere, and Naomi realizes she must do everything in her power in order to save her daughter’s life, even at the expense of her own.

United States, 1990. Helena tells her daughter, Blair, for the first time, the truth about her past, and presents her with a mysterious box that sheds light on her personal story. Blair, stunned and sore by the shattering discovery, storms out of the house and disappears to the other side of the world.

Her family situation unsettled as ever, Helena leaves next. Shadows from her past and the need to cope with them have gradually revealed painfully tangible memories, imploring to be exposed. She travels far, determined to try and build bridges—to her past, to her husband and children, and to her loved ones that are long gone.

Distant and removed from everyone in her life, at a furious pace, she writes down all her secrets, as well as the life story of her extensive family, which was torn to shreds by the Second World War.

When she’s closer than ever to exposing her account, devastating news from home force Helena to expedite her return.

Is her world about to change forever?

Beneath a Glass Bridge raises profound questions about loss, motherhood in times of crisis, hiding and exposure of the truth. Are the decisions we make in our lives reversible? Can we make up for missed opportunities?

 

A powerful and poignant read that will leave you feeling like a better person for having read it.

Reviewed by Piaras on February 23, 2020 for Emerald Book Reviews

Beneath a Glass Bridge by Tali Asnin-Barel is a wonderfully written and richly descriptive novel, with brilliantly drawn characters driven by loss, motherhood in times of crisis, hiding and exposure of the truth. The author weaves a well-crafted story with emotional highs and lows that will captivate the reader’s attention from the beginning. Skillfully constructed, this historical fiction revolves around Helena, a Jewish-American author who was born in Austria during the Holocaust.

The book description gives a sneak preview: ‘Western Austria, winter of 1941. Naomi, a young Jewish woman, gives birth to a baby girl in a remote rural farm. The Nazi foe is everywhere, and Naomi realizes she must do everything in her power in order to save her daughter’s life, even at the expense of her own.

United States, 1990. Helena tells her daughter, Blair, for the first time, the truth about her past, and presents her with a mysterious box that sheds light on her personal story. Blair, stunned and sore by the shattering discovery, storms out of the house and disappears to the other side of the world.

Her family situation unsettled as ever; Helena leaves next. Shadows from her past and the need to cope with them have gradually revealed painfully tangible memories, imploring to be exposed. She travels far, determined to try and build bridges—to her past, to her husband and children, and to her loved ones that are long gone.

Distant and removed from everyone in her life, at a furious pace, she writes down all her secrets, as well as the life story of her extensive family, which was torn to shreds by the Second World War. When she’s closer than ever to exposing her account, devastating news from home force Helena to expedite her return. Is her world about to change forever?’

I’m a big fan of historical fiction, so this for me was a phenomenal read. It’s one of those books that stayed with me for several days after I finished reading it. The vivid descriptions of the settings, situations and the people were stunning and realistic. The use of genuine dialogue further added to the overall atmosphere of authenticity.

Beneath a Glass Bridge had me engaged from the first page to the last. I enjoyed the story, the character development, and dialogue. It’s a well-written Historical Fiction that flows from scene to scene with ease, and the author shows exceptional ability when it comes to storytelling. It’s one of those books that comes along occasionally that will make you want to read it non-stop until you get to the end. For those looking for an interesting, three-dimensional and stimulating read, this would be a great find.  I’m giving nothing further away here. And this, I hope, will only add to the mystery and enjoyment for the reader.

I’ll certainly be looking forward to reading more from Tali Asnin-Barel in the future. Highly recommended, and a well-deserved five stars from me.

 

 

 

 

Tali Asnin-Barel is an attorney and an active community leader. She was born and raised in Israel
and worked as both a lawyer and a magazine editor.
In Israel, she gave lectures on International Relations at the University of Tel Aviv and was a co-founder of an organization that aids at-risk youth.
Tali has a Bachelor of Science degree in Law and a Master of Arts degree in Political Science. Today, she is active in an organization that commemorates the Holocaust in Atlanta,
Georgia.
Beneath a Glass Bridge is her first novel.

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