Tuesday, September 11, 2012


 We first met Madeline McAllister almost two years ago in Katia, Bruce Judisch’s delightful novel that details the harshness of postwar East Germany and the fall of the Berlin Wall. At the time, Madeline was an exchange student in Germany helping her Great Aunt Katia produce a memoir of life under Communism. (See our review of Katia here.)

We’ve been looking forward to the sequel and it’s well worth the wait.

For Maria fast-forwards several years and our young exchange student is now Madeline Sommers, freelance journalist and working mother of three. During the time she spent with her Aunt Katia, Madeline discovered some amazing details of her grandmother’s past, details that continue to haunt her.

In 1939, when the Gestapo hauled Izaak and Maria Szpilmann away to Ravensbrück, the soldiers left their twin infant daughters behind to die. Izaak perished in the camps, but Maria tenaciously survived Ravensbrück, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen. She eventually married a soldier, James McAllister, and returned to Montreal with him to begin life over again. 

These many years later, the fate of the infant daughters Maria was forced to leave behind remains a mystery. Gentile neighbors, Gustaw and Ròsa Dudek, rescued the babies and fled occupied Poland. Then the trail ends…they were never heard from again. Against long odds Madeline clings to the desperate hope that she can somehow reunite her grandmother with her missing twin daughters. But unraveling the mystery isn’t her only stumbling block. After all these years how can Madeline even be sure the twins are still alive?  

Set against the backdrop of wartime Europe and deftly moving between past and present, For Maria tells the story of Madeline’s search for the Dudeks and the missing twins. Meticulous research adds realism to the narrative and careful plotting creates a twisting path with unexpected outcomes. Historical fiction doesn’t get any better than this. Clear your schedule because once you pick this book up, you won’t be able to put it down.

 For Maria, is scheduled for release September 15. Look for it.
— E G Lewis

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for a great review, Ed. The story was a joy--and difficult, at the same time--to write.