Love and Treasure

A Novel

Waldman, Ayelet

Book - 2014
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Love and Treasure
A spellbinding new novel of contraband masterpieces, tragic love, and the unexpected legacies of forgotten crimes, Ayelet Waldman's Love and Treasure weaves a tale around the fascinating, true history of the Hungarian Gold Train in the Second World War. In 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, victorious American soldiers capture a train filled with unspeakable riches: piles of fine gold watches; mountains of fur coats; crates filled with wedding rings, silver picture frames, family heirlooms, and Shabbat candlesticks passed down through generations. Jack Wiseman, a tough, smart New York Jew, is the lieutenant charged with guarding this treasure--a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets Ilona, a fierce, beautiful Hungarian who has lost everything in the ravages of the Holocaust. Seventy years later, amid the shadowy world of art dealers who profit off the sins of previous generations, Jack gives a necklace to his granddaughter, Natalie Stein, and charges her with searching for an unknown woman--a woman whose portrait and fate come to haunt Natalie, a woman whose secret may help Natalie to understand the guilt her grandfather will take to his grave and to find a way out of the mess she has made of her own life. A story of brilliantly drawn characters--a suave and shady art historian, a delusive and infatuated Freudian, a family of singing circus dwarfs fallen into the clutches of Josef Mengele, and desperate lovers facing choices that will tear them apart-- Love and Treasure is Ayelet Waldman's finest novel to date: a sad, funny, richly detailed work that poses hard questions about the value of precious things in a time when life itself has no value, and about the slenderest of chains that can bind us to the griefs and passions of the past.

Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2014.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780385533546
Characteristics: 334 pages ;,25 cm
Alternate Title: Love & treasure


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Jan 28, 2015
  • calvoer rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I’ve seen this one before: person discovers object from the past, (musical instrument, religious item, painting, piece of jewelry) and at least 3 tales about the object in different centuries are told. Usually in the modern story, the discoverer has some sort of affair with, like a museum curator. But stringing together barely related stories around an object doesn’t necessarily result in a novel that’s satisfying to read. If fact, this format is getting shopworn. The first tale about a soldier in post-WWII Europe was compelling. Not so much the rest.

Aug 23, 2014

I was disappointed in this book. I have read and loved Siddons books for many years, and always look forward to her newest book. This was not at all like her previous books, I fear she has lost her knack. Characters not well developed and story line very predictable.

Aug 05, 2014
  • SallyMac_84 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Really enjoyed this book. Loved the three different stories from separate periods in time and particularly enjoyed the way they linked together. Recommend.

Jun 05, 2014
  • momweigel rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Loved this book! Very unique as it spanned different time periods. Loved the author's style. Made me do some research into the subject matter to see how much of this was true! I will want to read more by this author.

Mar 21, 2014
  • nsteeves rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

FYI: I read an ARC of this book. As a fan of her Mommy-Track mysteries, this book was a welcome, surprising leap. I should have anticipated the change in her writing, though, as it is very much in line with her Twitter persona: smart, almost painfully gifted at seeing every side of a story, ready for a fight, proudly Jewish. I considered whether I saw any influence from her husband's work, and nothing jumped out; instead, I saw parallels to Jonathan Franzen, as like him Waldman has a great ear for argument dialogue where futures would seemingly hang in the balance if the intensity of the arguments are to be believed - but in fact, the outside world is not nearly so affected by the problems of the characters, and all of the risks are taken just in the expression of thoughts to lovers, the consequences not reflected in external circumstances but in whether the lovers continue on together. I also enjoyed the format of three separate-but-connected stories - anyone who likes how fiction plays with truth and memory should try it.


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