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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Based on real-life events, Where the Lilacs Bloom Once Again is the story of the trials and tribulations of a Jewish family during World War II in Romania. Author Roni Rosenthal delves into her family history by following the life of Friddie Stoleru, a young rebellious Jewish woman living in Bucharest, Romania, in the 1930s, who audaciously refused to marry the young man her parents had selected for her. Friddie travels to the town of Eforie Nord, where she meets a charismatic perfumer named Freddy. Soon, she succumbs to his charms and marries him while carrying his child. However, after his sudden disappearance, Friddie's life turns upside down as she is charged with treason and spends the next decade in prison and forced labor camps. During that time, her Uncle David and his family perish in the massacre of Iași.
Showcasing the horrors suffered by Jewish families during World War II, Where the Lilacs Bloom Once Again is one of those stories that tend to get lost in the annals of history. Roni Rosenthal gives an unflinching account of the lives of her family members during a time in Europe when discrimination and the persecution of Jewish people were at their peak in the first half of the 20th century. The struggle for survival is something everyone, as humans, should be able to relate to, and this is what the narrative focuses on the most. Friddie's continued resilience against appalling atrocities makes her an inspiring figure, and readers are bound to sympathize with her plight. A gem of a book for history buffs.