The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Imposter Bride defied my expectations. From the book blurb, what appealed to me as a reader was the mystery emerging from World War II Poland: Who is Lily Azerov?I had thought this story would show a daughter involved in a long search for her mother over various countries, continents, and in exotic locales.
Instead, the novel is firmly rooted in Canada and is more the story of the daughter, Ruth, growing up in post-war Jewish Montreal than the concerns of Lily the mother. The question, “Who is Lily Azerov” pulls the reader through the story of Ruth’s life; the plot is carefully crafted not too reveal too much too soon. We know that Lily Azerov is a stolen identity, that the woman comes to Canada for an arranged marriage and that “Lily” disappears, abandoning her three-month old daughter. Despite finding the novel to be a quick and enjoyable read, I was afraid that I would read the entire book and the mystery would not be solved. The writer takes her time revealing all to us through alternating points of view, complicated family relationships, distinctive characters and the subtle layering of clues.
The Imposter Bride is the story of a family and its secrets, the search for who we are, and, yes, lust. “Lust always feels like fate...That’s why it’s so dangerous.” It’s also a beautiful portrait of loss, living with convention and doing the best with what we’ve got.
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