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We Were Strangers Once: A Novel by Betsy…

We Were Strangers Once: A Novel

by Betsy Carter

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191537,190 (4.13)3



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We Were Strangers Once by Betsy Carter is a poignant story about relationships and survival. Set in New York City just prior to the beginning of WWII. The nation is struggling through the depression and for those who have lost everything, family, jobs and country, it is particularly hard.

The story revolves around Egon Schneider, a Jewish ophthalmologist and recent immigrant, who fled Germany to avoid persecution by the Nazi regime. Upon arriving in America he discovers that the land of opportunity does not have much to offer the flood of refugees exiting Europe. Where he was once a respected doctor, he is reduced to being the “Cheese Man” in a NY deli. He and his small group of German friends, including his best friend from Meyer Leavitt, a once respected author, struggle with everyday life and assimilating into the culture of America. They struggle finding jobs, with the language and the prejudices and each, in their own way, attempt to bolster each other as best they can.

While this is not a ground breaking novel, it does pull at the heart strings of the reader. The story is full of vivid characters and settings. The struggles each character has to endure are indicative of the time and they are thoughtfully portrayed. Ms. Carter has a real talent for delving into the minuscule details of the everyday life of the characters she creates. She deftly shows the true nature of the human spirit and the unwavering loyalty of friendship.

We Were Once Strangers is the kind of novel that percolates slowly with the reader. I found it uncommon and unexpected and recommend it to anyone who enjoys Historical fiction and tightly woven stories of love, loss, and tenacity of the human spirit.

I received an ARC from the publisher, via Net Galley, in exchange for my honest opinion.

For reviews, and author interviews, see my blog at www.thespineview.com. ( )
  purpledog | Aug 13, 2017 |
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My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. ---Barack Obama
To everyone from somewhere else
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Remember, he's a busy man.
Egon told himself that it was human nature for people to place themselves in the center of o story regardless of whose story it was.
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