ESTER'S CHILD

Jean Sasson, Author . Windsor-Brooke $24.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-9676737-3-8

This sweeping, overwrought and overwritten saga of the modern-day Jewish exodus is the fiction debut of the bestselling author of Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia. Opening in Paris during the summer of 1938 and closing in Jerusalem in June 1983, the historical melodrama traces two Jewish families, the Gales and the Steins, from their near extinction in 1939 during Hitler's invasion of Warsaw and the ensuing atrocities of the Holocaust. Young Joseph Gale and his wife, Ester Stein, are practically the only survivors, and in 1948, they travel to Palestine. A counterplot chronicles the displacement of an Arab family, the Antouns, from their home in Haifa by Jewish forces in the same year, resulting in their 34-year-long exile in the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon, ending with their deaths in the Israeli-orchestrated Shatila massacre during the Lebanese civil war in 1982. There is a shadowy subplot involving Friedrich Kleist, a former young Nazi SS officer who took part in the Nazi invasion of Poland. A second generation—two Gale children, an Antoun son and a Kleist daughter—find their fortunes tortuously interwoven as the novel proceeds to an unlikely, over-the-top conclusion, involving questions of mistaken parentage, coincidence and the revelation of wartime horrors. Overlooking artless writing, loyal Sasson fans will likely send this pulpy tapestry of war-torn families and bloodthirsty ethnic and religious ideologies straight to the bestseller list. 100,000 first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; 20-city author tour. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/20/2001
Release date: 01/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
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