After reading a full YA fantasy series, it was a relief to find this book at Barnes & Noble. I’d picked this up on Valentine’s Day, but wasn’t sure how far I would get into it before March 1st (the deadline before starting my first book club read). I actually finished it last night, but wasn’t able to start the review until just now.
The Synopsis from Goodreads:
When a young, enigmatic woman arrives in post-war Montreal, it is immediately clear that she is not who she claims to be. Her attempt to live out her life as Lily Azerov shatters as she disappears, leaving a new husband and baby daughter, and a host of unanswered questions. Who is she really and what happened to the young woman whose identity she has stolen? Why has she left and where did she go? It is left to the daughter she abandoned to find the answers to these questions as she searches for the mother she may never find or really know.
The book is written with three narrators; the real Lily Azerov (through passages in her diary), the false Lily Averov, and Ruth Kramer, “Lily’s” daughter. Ruth is the primary narrator throughout the book, but every so often a chapter is allotted to the two “Lily”s, The format was one of the main things I really enjoyed, because it allowed the reader the chance to connect with each of the women.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Emotions While Reading
Any book written in the voice of a young girl with no mother is enough to make me cry. It may be the fact that I am extremely sensitive to the idea of my family no longer being there (I used to make myself cry when I was a child if I thought about my parents dying), but there was just something about Ruth that made me want to grab her up in my arms and whisk her away to a place where her mother existed. I, who have not a motherly bone in my body, wanted nothing more than to tuck her in and kiss her forehead, if only to show her how much comfort she was denied.
Ruth’s family was always there for her, trying to make her feel as if she should not be ashamed or lonely without her mother, but she was. When you are deprived of something others have, you want that thing. Ruth had more love in her life than most of her friends did, with her aunt and uncle, their three sons, her two grandmothers and her father all very involved in her life, but she always felt that she was missing something. It wasn’t until her Grandmother Bella passed away did she realize just how much of an impact her family had on her life. It wasn’t until Ruth met her mother (when Ruth was an adult with three children) that she realized she didn’t need a mother, hadn’t needed a mother, because her family had made sure of that. She had three motherly figures in her life to make up for the one who hadn’t been there.
The question of morality throughout the book was sobering. The Imposter Bride was not a book I read and thought, “Oh my goodness, I absolutely loved it, I need to talk to somebody about this immediately!!1!!”, but was one that left a sense of content. Ruth’s mother, whose real name is Yanna, fights with herself for most of the story over the guilt of stealing another woman’s identity (and journal, and large, uncut diamond). Yanna’s question to her mother-in-law: “If the person is dead, is it still considered stealing?” Yanna’s departure from Ruth’s life was another question of morality; Yannah wanted to give Ruth the love and comfort she deserved, and knew she wouldn’t be the one to give it to her. Instead of continuing with her charade, Yanna left Ruth with a family who would raise her with complete love.
How I Felt After Reading
I did give it 4 out of 5 stars, but I wasn’t “Wow’ed by it. It was a good story, and I definitely recommend it for those who like Historical Fiction, but it wasn’t one that I was head over heels over. By the end, I had been sucked into the story, but in writing this review, I’ve realized there was no part that made my heart race, made me smile, made me feel more than the usual book does. Yes, Ruth’s plight did make me want to save her, but that only lasts a chapter or two.
My Rating: 4/5