Author: Jillian Cantor
Review Copy Provided by Author via Sisterhood of the Traveling Book
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.
If anyone were to ask one what period of history I find the most interesting, I would probably say the Holocaust. In fact, if I ever decided to pursue graduate education in History, it likely would have been in that time period (somehow). So when Margot was offered up as a review book on STB and my friend Naomi gave it 5 stars (which is really rare for her) I was intrigued. Like she said, and I agree, I often find alternate or revisionist history hard to stomach, because most of the time, it seems to be sooo outlandish that it isn’t believable. But even though I KNEW that Margot had died in Bergen-Belsen just prior to liberation, it seemed plausible that if she were to escape and make a new life this is how it could have happened.
I will admit, even if the story was plausible, that I went into the read being completely skeptical…in fact, I think I had the book sitting on my bedside table for a good week before I picked it up…but I needed something to read this weekend and I figured what the heck. I was sucked in. It wasn’t a taxing read by any means and written in a very flowing style of writing. I kept thinking, just one more chapter…and did that several times…until I was more than halfway through…lol.
I guess for me, the biggest/most impactful part of the story, was the idea of people who hide in plain sight. The idea of people just trying to blend in like Margot, because she knew that if anyone knew who she really was, it would change everything. But at the same time, seeing Margot start to heal (if that is the correct word), to move on and come into her own rather than being in the “shadow of her sister”.
Overall, I gave Margot 4 stars and look forward to reading more books by the author in the future. Although, I am now curious about re-reading The Diary of Anne Frank, as well as Annexed – which is the Diary told from Peter’s POV.