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Modern Age

Author: Cantor, Jillian
at Amazon |

Time Period: Modern Age
Time Frame: 1959
Geographic Area: North America
Country: United States
Topics: Holocaust Survivors
Genre: Fiction
Reading Age: Young Adult, Adult
Format: Novel
Published: 2019

American History > Modern Age > Jewish History

"Inventive . . . Cantor's 'what-if' story combines historical fiction with mounting suspense and romance, but above all, it is an ode to the adoration and competition between sisters." --O, the Oprah Magazine

A story of sisters that imagines Anne Frank's sister Margot survived World War II and was living in America, from the author of The Lost Letter and The Hours Count

Anne Frank has long been a symbol of bravery and hope, but there were two sisters hidden in the annex, two young Jewish girls, one a cultural icon made famous by her published diary and the other, nearly forgotten. In the spring of 1959, The Diary of Anne Frank has just come to the silver screen to great acclaim, and a young woman named Margie Franklin is working in Philadelphia as a secretary at a Jewish law firm. On the surface she lives a quiet life, but Margie has a secret: a life she once lived, a past and a religion she has denied, and a family and a country she left behind. Margie Franklin is really Margot Frank, older sister of Anne, who did not die in Bergen-Belsen as reported, but who instead escaped the Nazis for America. But now, as her sister becomes a global icon, Margie's carefully constructed American life begins to fall apart. A new relationship threatens to overtake the young love that sustained her during the war, and her past and present begin to collide. Margie is forced to come to terms with Margot, with the people she loved, and with a life swept up into the course of history.

Emily's Review

"I have been hiding for so long that it has become all I am. And I realize I am not even truly certain why I am still hiding, except now it is all I know."

I first read The Diary of Anne Frank when I was around 12, and I read it many times in my teen years. I felt like Anne was someone I knew intimately. But I often wondered about Margot. She was often overlooked, the prim older sister, mother's favorite. Would we have been friends too?

This book imagines that Margot managed to survive the camps. She makes her way to America, where she and Peter dreamed of going, of hiding in a different way. This is a story about trauma, about hiding, about coming to terms with who you are. It was beautiful and tragic and I loved it. I don't know how to talk about why I loved it so much, but I understand wanting to hide, to be safe, to choose not to be Jewish because you know it makes you a target. The way the author portrays Margot, writes about the PTSD she suffers, rings true and I felt that she did her justice.

This is a book I'll be thinking about for a long time.

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