cover image Three Sisters

Three Sisters

Heather Morris. St. Martin’s, $28.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-27689-6

Morris (The Tattooist of Auschwitz) follows the real-life Meller sisters, who all survived imprisonment at Auschwitz-Birkenau and a winter death march during WWII, in her extraordinary latest. In 1942 Slovakia, Livi Meller, 15, is rounded up with other teens for what is described by the Nazis as “work detail.” Livi’s sister Magda, 17, is protected by her doctor, who admits Magda to the hospital for a slight fever. Cibi, 19, returns from a training camp in the forest for future immigrants to Israel to accompany Livi. But Cibi and Livi are taken to Auschwitz, where they endure more than two years of near starvation, abuse from SS guards, and manual work that includes loading bricks into carts and rummaging through prisoners’ belongings for valuables. In 1944, Magda is also sent to Auschwitz, where she is reunited with her sisters; when the war ends, the sisters wander through Germany before returning to find squatters in their home and glaring anti-Semitism. After a harrowing journey to Israel in 1948, the narrative continues with their new life as survivors, as they build families while often struggling with emotional wounds. Morris skillfully chronicles the lives of the sisters from childhood to old age, balancing fictional invention with extensive research and immersion into the Mellers’ lives. Readers will be greatly inspired by this story of resilience. (Oct.)