What’s it about?
Sage Singer has a past that makes her want to hide from the world. Sleeping by day and working in a bakery by night, she kneads her emotion into the beautiful bread she bakes. But when she strikes up an unlikely friendship with Josef Weber, a quiet man old enough to be her grandfather, and respected pillar of the community, she feels that finally, she may have found someone she can open up to. Until Josef tells her the evil secret he’s kept for sixty years. Caught between Josef’s search for redemption and her shattered illusions, Sage turns to her family history and her own life for answers. As she uncovers the truth from the darkest horrors of war, she must follow a twisting trail between betrayal and forgiveness, love and revenge. And ask herself the most difficult question she has ever faced – can murder ever be justice? Or mercy?
This is Jodi Picoult’s 22nd novel and in true Picoult style she has given us another ethical issue that makes us question – what would we do?
I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to write a review about such a powerful and emotive subject – as there aren’t really the right words but it has to be said, this is one of the best books I’ve ever read! The best books after all are the ones that leave us reeling after we’ve finished reading and this certainly does that.
Having not having read anything about the Holocaust before and only ever watching The Boy in the Striped Pajamas movie, I did wonder how graphic and upsetting this book would be. It’s perfectly pitched – of course the subject matter of the Holocaust is horrific so it’s never going to be easy reading but you can also appreciate it hasn’t been included for sensationalist effect.
Yes this is a work of fiction but it reads more like survivor’s diaries and this is attributed to the author’s research. The historical accuracy and level of research is outstanding and I also believe Picoult was taken to visit Auschwitz by her publishers which must have been an such an emotional experience.
Can someone who committed such atrocities be forgiven? Do they ever really change? I don’t know…but this book sure raises those questions!
I felt I was there on every step of Sage’s and Minka’s journey – the amazing descriptions of the places and experiences – I felt as though I could smell and taste that cinnamon and chocolate roll! Intermingled is Minka’s fictional story of the Upior (Polish for vampire) which is quite gruesome and a bit gothic and there are obvious similarities to her story and her own life and experiences.
Won’t spoil it for you but I didn’t see the the twist at the end coming even though there were clues! This is a compelling, heartbreaking and thought provoking book and a must read for all Picoult fans and those you’ve never picked up one before!
Learn more here about The Storyteller and Jodi’s reasons for writing it www.jodipicoult.com
Hardback and Kindle version available from Amazon The Storyteller