Haunting and unforgettable story


The Fortunate Ones by Ellen Umansky

Book Review:  4 out of 5 star rating


This book tells the story of the Zimmer family, a Jewish family living in Vienna in the late 1930’s, and the parents’ decision to send little Rose and her brother to England on a kinder transport to keep them safe from the oncoming war. The children are devastated to be sent off to different households in England.  They are told that it will only be for six months but of course the horrendous war lasts much longer.

The Zimmer family possess a valuable painting by Chaim Soutere of a bellhop, which the mother has a particular love of. After the war when Rose is trying to deal with the grievous losses she has endured, she fixates on trying to find the painting and other family belongings that were lost or stolen by the Nazis.

The missing painting finds its way to the Goldstein family in America. However, the painting is subsequently stolen during a party thrown by teenager Lizzie.  Lizzie carries the guilt of that theft and likewise is searching for the painting.  The loss and search for this painting forge a friendship between Lizzie and Rose and reveal painful family secrets.

This is a haunting and unforgettable story of loss, love and forgiveness and the “fortunate ones” who survived the war but bear the scars. Recommended.

This book was given to me by the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.



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