The Imposter Bride

by Nancy Richler

Book, 2013



Call number




New York : St. Martin's Press, 2013.


A novel about a mysterious mail-order bride in the wake of World War II, whose sudden decision ripples through time to deeply impact the daughter she never knew.

Media reviews

The Imposter Bride is in many ways a mystery novel; the question of who Ruth’s mother actually is propels the narrative as pieces of her story are slowly revealed. In this vein, it is successful, leaving the reader hanging until near the end. But this book has far greater ambitions. It attempts
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to explore the process and necessity of unearthing the hidden parts of ourselves that lie buried in the traumas of the past — a past that often long precedes our existence. This is a deep and vast theme. One wishes Richler had ventured into it with less caution, giving readers the opportunity to view her characters in a more varied light than their good intentions and innocence suggest. In a realm of moral ambiguity, the full breadth and nuance of this sweeping narrative may fully come to life.
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2 more
Finally, Richler is back, and with an elegant, ambitious, accomplished new work. The Imposter Bride elaborates Richler’s essential themes: Jewish history, maternal absence, female experience and the significance of the word. ...For those of us who are not children of survivors (I’m not), but
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who have friends who are (I do), and who have wondered (as I have) how a devastated Jewish family moves forward in faith and love and grace, this novel serves as a gut-wrenching education.
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And yet, there is also something compelling about the saga Richler creates. We want to know each character’s history. Who is Lily, really? Why did she leave? Will Ruth ever find her? And what’s up with the rocks? There are many plot elements and scenes that could easily be deleted without
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detracting from the overall fabric of the narrative, but we are able to forgive these asides because, in the end, Richler manages to make us care about her vast catalogue of broken souls, even in their most trivial moments.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member lit_chick
“She could find nothing in her present world to match her interior life …” (161)

Post WWII, a young Jewish woman, Lily Azerov, travels from Poland to Tel Aviv and eventually to Montreal, Canada, where she has prearranged to marry Sol Kramer. But Sol, to his almost immediate regret, rejects
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Lily on sight. And she marries instead his younger brother, Nathan. A Montreal jeweller, Ida Krakauer, attends the nuptials uninvited, hoping that the bride is her cousin, presumed to have died in the war. Alas, Ida realizes immediately that the bride is an imposter who has stolen her cousin’s identity. But Ida keeps the young woman’s secret, and she and her daughter, Elka, become family of the Kramers when Elka marries Sol. But no matter Ida’s confidence, “Lily” is a “broken bird,” unable to live her lie, and shortly after she gives birth to a daughter, Ruth, she disappears, leaving only a simple note to Nathan, “I’m sorry.” Not surprisingly, as Ruth grows, she attempts to understand, and eventually to find the woman she knows only by a false identity and by a handful of meager possessions: an uncut diamond and a private Yiddish journal which were Lily’s; a blank leather-bound journal belonging to her mother; and a small collection of beautiful rocks her mother has sent over the years. When Ruth becomes acquainted at school with a teacher whom she knows to have been “damaged” by the war, she considers what must have been her mother’s heartbreaking motivation in abandoning her family:

“’Shattered’ was the word Elka sometimes used, but until then the word had always brought to mind the teacup that sat on the highest shelf of Elka and Sol’s dining room high board, a white porcelain cup with a delicate pattern of blue flowers that had shattered once form a fall through Sol’s fingers, had been carefully repaired, but was too fragile now for the rigours of holding tea and being transported from saucer to mouth and then back to saucer again. My mother was like that teacup, I had come to think. She could not withstand the rigours of the life she was trying to live, a normal life of love, marriage and family” (123)

The Imposter Bride is a beautifully written, engaging read, Richler’s tone poignant and melancholy as she explores the experience of Jewish families who survived the Holocaust from the point of view of a child longing for her absent mother. Her use of Lily’s Yiddish journal is brilliant in allowing us to glimpse the prosperous, cultured, and venerable Jewish world crushed by war. And she masterfully uses secondary and even minor characters – Ruthie’s teacher crying silently through his classes – to depict incalculable human loss. Highly worthy of its place on Canada’s 2012 Giller Prize Shortlist, and highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member RidgewayGirl
I would have liked Nancy Richler's book more if it hadn't been shortlisted for Canada's Giller Prize. That nomination set my expectations higher than the book could sustain. If it hadn't been on the shortlist, on the other hand, I would never have looked twice at it. The cover art is banal and
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inaccurate and my copy of the book described it inaccurately on the back cover. It's marketed one way -- to appeal to the person who would enjoy a lush, romantic historical read, and it's placement on the Giller shortlist says something different -- that here is a novel of substance, that says something important in a new or especially skilled way.

The Imposter Bride falls somewhere in between these two promises. It's the story of a Polish-Jewish woman, Lily Azerov, who manages to be let into Canada in 1945 by becoming engaged to a Canadian man, Sol Kramer, who, upon seeing her emerge from the train carriage, decides that he can't follow through and marry her after all. His older brother, however, steps in and marries Lily himself and they settle into his mother's apartment in a Jewish working class neighborhood in Montreal. Lily has been scarred by her survival on the eastern edge of Poland during the war. She can't adjust to life in provincial Montreal and she is holding on to both her past and some sizable secrets, which affect her ability to form a new life in Canada.

The book may be about Lily, but she is never revealed, leaving a hole at the heart of the story. Even when the secrets of her past are brought to light, she remains in shadow, with that story, which could have been a novel of its own (and a much more exciting and powerful one), told in the most remote and unemotional way possible. What is left is the story of growing up in mid-century Montreal, in the small Jewish community there, which would have been an interesting story on its own were it not secondary to that of the enigmatic Lily's.

Richler may well someday be an author to be reckoned with, and this novel displays great research skills in depicting a small community at a specific place and time.
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LibraryThing member gypsysmom
This book is on the Giller Prize Longlist for 2012 and I'm really hoping in the announcement tomorrow of the Shortlist that it will make the cut. It's easily the best new Canadian book that I have read this year.

The book starts with the arrival of a young woman who calls herself Lily Azerov in the
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train station in Montreal. She has come to marry Sol Kramer but when Sol sees her in the train station he loses his nerve. Instead his brother Nathan asks her to marry him. At their wedding two uninvited guests show up, Ida Pearl and Elka Krakauer. Ida Pearl had a cousin in Antwerp by the name of Lily Azerov and she has come to see if this is her. She isn't and Ida Pearl thinks that this woman has stolen her cousin's identity. At the wedding Sol and Elka dance together starting a romance that ends in them marrying.

The next chapter is a number of years later, April 27, 1953, when Nathan and Lily's daughter (Ruth) is turning 6 years old. We learn that Lily abandoned her child at 3 months of age and has never been seen since. However, on Ruth's 6th birthday a present arrives from her. It's a strange present, a small rock with an index card that says where it was found and what the weather was like.

The book continues to flip back and forth between Ruth's story and Lily's. We learn some information about the original Lily as well since the imposter Lily has a notebook written by her. As Ruth grows up she wants, naturally, to know more about her mother. Although her birth mother has disappeared she has a very good homelife. For a while Ruth and Nathan lived in the same house as Sol and Elka. Elka's mother and Nathan and Sol's mother, Bella, are also around and they have become good friends. Nathan and Sol's sister, Nina, returns from Palestine to live in Montreal too. But none of these people can quite take the place of her mother so Ruth continues to wonder about her. Rocks continue to arrive on an infrequent basis from her but there is never an indication of where she lives or even what name she is using.

The story is compelling and the characters feel like real people that you could meet on the street. I'm not Jewish but I could relate to this story because the theme of relationships between mothers and daughters is so universal. It's not just Ruth and Lily's relationship that explores this theme because Ida Pearl and Elka had a tempestuous relationship at times. Even Nina and Bella's relationship is fraught with problems. I'm sure any daughter or any mother could recognize themselves in one or another characther.

It's interesting that almost 70 years after the end of World War II and the Holocaust people are still finding things to write about it. Of course, people are still writing about the Tudors and we're still reading those books avidly. I wonder if 400 years from now writers will base stories on World War II and the Holocaust?
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LibraryThing member nbmars
This book has a promising beginning. It is 1946, and Lily Azerov has come to Montreal to meet Sol Kramer for an arranged marriage; they have never met. Upon seeing her get off the train, Sol has a change of heart, but his brother Nathan likes what he sees, and steps up to takes Sol’s place.

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doesn’t adjust well, in spite of Nathan’s and even Sol’s infatuation with her. (Sol regretted his actions almost immediately.) Lily is like someone haunted, and spends most of her time alone and closed away in her room.

When the daughter that Lily has with Nathan is just three months old, Lily disappears, leaving a note to say she is sorry. No one hears from her again until the daughter, Ruth, turns six. At this point, in April of 1953, Ruth picks up the main narration of the book, beginning when she receives a strange birthday package that the rest of the family agrees is from her mother.

The story then proceeds with alternate narrators. Most of the time we follow Ruth as she grows up, trying to deal with the emptiness of having a loving extended family, yet knowing her own mother walked away from her. Over the years she gets a few more packages from her mother (albeit unsigned); they always contain rocks and a notation about their provenance. But no one really knows what happened to Lily, any more than why she left.

Lily even takes a turn as one of the narrators, although we still don't learn much from her except that the experience of the Second World War caused her a great deal of pain and guilt. Without knowing the details, her story just didn’t elicit any sympathy or compassion in me for her.

As the years pass, Ruth finally gets closer to the truth and finally has the opportunity to find out everything, but declines to pursue all the answers. (And why she doesn't is a bit of a mystery, since she spent her whole life wondering these things.) We are given a lot to think about instead however, such as what the nature of love is, and about the ways in which love and the forms it takes help define the nature of the self. This latter point is the most crucial to this story: the kind of love that means the most to you and the role it plays it your life can show more about who you are and what you need that anything else you say or do.

Discussion: Apparently the opening premise is similar to what happened to the author’s grandmother, who came to Canada from Eastern Europe expecting to marry a man who rejected her upon her arrival.

It serves well as a story arc, but would work much better if we ever got even the slightest idea of who some of the characters are as people. There aren't many characters, and so it is particularly unsatisfactory that we come to know so little about them. Who are Sol and Nathan and why do they react the way they do? What about Sol's future wife, on whom it fell to raise Ruth? The author doesn't tell us much at all. We get a little more information about the mother of Sol and Nathan and about Sol’s future mother-in-law. As for Ruth’s birth mother, we end up knowing hardly more about her at the end of the book as we did in the beginning. It left me feeling disappointed, as if I had wanted stew and had to settle for broth.

Evaluation: There are some big gaps in the major plotline, oddly combined with the inclusion of some rather elaborate minor plotlines that are dead-ends, i.e., neither really going anywhere nor contributing much to the story. Nevertheless, it is a compelling read, and it was shortlisted for the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s most distinguished literary prize for the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English.
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LibraryThing member LynnB
I loved this compelling story about identity: who we are, where we come from, and how that affects the choices we make and the people who care about us. Lily Azerov arrives in Montreal to marry a man she's never met -- a man who rejects her on sight. But, Lily isn't really who she claims to be, as
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is apparent to the real Lily's cousin. Who Lily really is doesn't matter much to some of the family she builds in Montreal. But it does matter profoundly to her daughter, Ruth, whose search for answers is discouraged by her father and grandmother.

I couldn't stop reading. Like Ruth, I needed to know Lily's true story. This book is well written and thoroughly engaging.
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LibraryThing member lansum
This book made me imagine that author Nancy Richler, who writes beautiful prose, went to a writer's workshop one day and was asked to write something about a child being abandoned by a parent. When she submitted the original, the story of Ruth and her mother Lily, the instructor was rightly
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impressed, and suggested that she write the story from another character's point of view. This process might have been repeated until Richler decided to put all the parts together. This is just my imagination, but it demonstrates what the novel felt like to me. The connection between the various characters was there, but very fragile. There were too many chapters where the reader is asked to start over in order to determine who the narrator is, where in the world the action is occurring, and when it's taking place. Yes, it all fits, but it takes work to follow it from chapter to chapter and it detracts from the beautiful prose.
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LibraryThing member John
This novel is a rich tapestry of family and history, loss, family secrets; the strength and origins and meaning of family; tragedy beyond comprehension but the resilience of human beings in the ferocious drive for life and the endless permutations in living with physical and mental damage; how
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people deal with horror and grief; the beauty and wonder of the individual journeys we have on earth and how we connect with, and to, others; underneath--the tortured history of war and death in Europe mid-century with such waste and the destruction of millions of lives upon which are piled the echoes into other millions who survived physically but scarred in myriad, unseen ways; the metaphor of diamonds for the human condition ("Who knew what flaws might run through its centre?"); what happens when the origins of life: family, connections, status, role, histories, everything, all of it destroyed often leaving no trace of persons but memories to mourn; the construction and meaning of lives and identities; the judgements and misjudgements people make of other people out of fear or loneliness or anger or resentment or whatever on the continuum of human emotions; theme of abandonment by a parent which sets up a different life-long struggle for some, in how they integrate that into life; and yet through it all, the life-affirming power of love and family and friendship.

Richler also does a good job of painting Montreal and the world of Jewish immigrants in the city in the post-war period.

Strong characters, often flawed as in the human condition, but all doing what we all do: living--with all the joy and sorrow that can bring.
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LibraryThing member whitreidtan
If your life, your very identity, is a lie, can you live hiding your true self forever? Or would you eventually have to leave the life you'd built on that false foundation no matter what the consequences for you or those left behind? In Nancy Richler's The Imposter Bride, this question, tied to
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questions of survival, love, interconnectedness, and the desperate secrets of World War II, drives the whole of this Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlisted novel.

Opening with Lily Azerov, now Kramer, sharing a plum with her new husband in a small room off of a banquet hall in Montreal just after their wedding ceremony, the novel alternates between Lily's new life as a mail order bride in Canada and her daughter Ruth's life and search for the mother who abandoned her and her father when she was only three months old. When Lily arrives in Canada after escaping a devastated post-war Europe via Palestine, she finds herself abandoned on the train platform. Her intended husband Sol took one look at her and left her sitting there so his brother Nathan ends up marrying the clearly emotionally damaged Lily instead. And it is as early as her wedding that the fact that she has assumed a false identity is clear, if not to all, then to some of the Jewish community in Montreal, specifically to the real Lily Azerov's cousin, Ida Pearl Krakauer, who has gatecrashed the wedding. Then the narrative flips to first person, told by Ruth, Nathan and Lily's daughter as she reminisces about the unexpected gift that arrived addressed to her on her sixth birthday. It was from her long-absent mother and contained nothing besides a pretty rock and a notecard with the details of where and when it was found.

As the novel progresses, it moves seamlessly back and forth between the details of Lily's life as a young wife, her memories of life on the Polish/Russian border and the horrors that drove her to her deception, the contents of the real Lily Azerov's journal, Ruth's feelings about growing up without a mother, and her ultimate search for the truth about the woman who could seemingly so easily walk out on her own precious baby. World War II damaged and shattered so many, including people not even born until after the war. The weight of the past and the loss of most of an entire generation haunted those who survived, a traumatic and terrible legacy that they in turn passed on to their own children as is evidenced here by Lily and Ruth and the ghosts in their lives. For Lily, there was no escape from her past within her assumed identity. And for Ruth there was nothing that could make up for her mother's choice to leave her despite the enveloping love with which the rest of the family surrounded her.

This tale is a beautifully written but heartbreaking one. Richler has constructed it incredibly intricately with each of the narratives interlocking with the other and yet still carefully closing in on themselves. There's some easy but delicately handled symbolism such as the rocks sent to Ruth from her mother much as stones are left on a grave suggest the resilience of enduring memory and the pair of journals left behind with Lily Azerov's being full while Lily Kramer's is blank, her story still unknown, still to be discovered. Although the narrative circles back upon itself time and again, it still moves forward smoothly and cleanly. The tone is generally melancholy, filled with unavoidable and overwhelming loss, but there is nothing graphic despite the portions set amongst the horrors of the war. Relationships, identity, and what we have to do to survive our lives form the backbone of each part of the novel and the ending is well earned with the characters living exactly where they should be and the narrative neatly coming full circle one final time. Quietly, carefully, and elegantly written, this is a book not to be missed.
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LibraryThing member TheBigNerd
I was really excited to read this book because 1) the cover is brilliant, 2) the pretense is intriguing and 3) I really enjoy historical fictions written about World War II. My first impressions of this book were good. I loved the writing style. It was fluid and descriptive. It is very well
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written. But as I continued to read I started to get a bit bored. The story seemed to drag on in parts and I wasn’t sure of their importance.

While I could see the beauty of the writing and the story I just couldn’t keep with it. I couldn’t connect with the characters and what was happening. I could see how others would really enjoy this book though, and I’m a little sad I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

I loved how Richler wrote the story though. She had the missing mother and her daughter grow together throughout the book, even though their stories were in different times. This was done by having one chapter for the mother and one for the daughter, back and forth. I loved how it was written but it took too long to get to the answers for me to keep interest throughout the entire book.

The ending was a nice soft ending, but for me it didn’t seem very satisfying. While answers to questions were given I just wanted more. Unlike many other stories that have a slow rise, a climax and finally a denouement, this book didn’t have that. At least not from what I can tell. It was one of those books that had a steady pace to it. A heart-warming type of book. While this may not have been everything I had hoped it would be I would definitely read other books by this author. I love the way Richler wrote and I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction and heart-warming stories.
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LibraryThing member janismack
I was expecting more from this book, I sometimes asked myself what was the point. If the author was trying to make her audience understand what Jewish survivors felt and lived after the war, I think I totally missed the point. On a positive note it was nicely written.
LibraryThing member Bella_bella
The book starts with an interesting story about Lily who is actually not Lily. The expectations that the beginning berries kept me interested to read along. However, I was disappointed by the slow movement and story revelation, the simplicity of the language and choice of words.
LibraryThing member Jiraiya
Lots of thoughts crossed my bored mind while reading this grey historical fiction where people have modern comforts, regardless of class, or income. The story felt woolly to me. It was as if I was meant to tell what laid beyond the linen from the firmness of a mummy's handshake. Apart from money,
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it seemed that everyone in the story had the same amount of integrity and personality. Everyone was clumsy, seemingly, in their social interactions. I found that the standout point of this book. A book that would probably have been called The Notebook, had not the title been taken.
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LibraryThing member Quiltinfun06
The summary of The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler intrigued me enough to want to read it. It surpassed my expectations.

Lily arrives in Montreal just after World War II. It has been arranged that she would travel to Montreal from Palestine to meet and marry Sol Kramer. Upon her arrival at the train
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station, Sol has a change of mind and abandons her there. It is Nathan, Sol’s brother, who takes pity on his brother’s rejected bride and marries her instead. Lily’s traveling papers identify her as Lily Azerov but they are just papers after all. Lily took documents from a dead woman named Lily and traveled with her identity. This was not an uncommon practice after the war, as refugees needed proper papers in order to travel. What “Lily” doesn’t realize is that coincidence has placed her with the family of the real Lily. Along with identifying papers Lily takes an uncut diamond that the dead Lily had in her possession.

I highly recommend that you read this book. It is compelling and would make an excellent book club choice.
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LibraryThing member Smits
The start and end of this book was quite interesting. I enjoyed the Montreal refernces and the mystery of Ruth's mother and why she left.However, the narrative sometimes was too long and I found myself flipping pages . Still I wanted to know thw story of Lily and how she came upon her identity.
LibraryThing member SheilaCornelisse
The story begins with a mysterious young woman stealing the identity of Lily Azerov and ultimately immigrating to Montreal, Canada to wed a man she has never met. As the plot develops "Lily" has a difficult time living with her new identity and shortly after the birth of her daughter Ruth, runs
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aways leaving Ruth to be raised by her father, uncle, aunt and grandmother. Through excerpts for the real Lily's diary, we get glimpses as to what may have happened to her but nothing is actually revealed until the end of the novel so you are kept in suspense. Ruth's only connection with her mother is through a succession of rocks that are sent to her on her birthday. The disappointing part is that we never discover the secret behind these rocks (either that or I missed something). A rivetting, overall well-written story and a recommended read.
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LibraryThing member elmoelle
I have read lots of novels about people experiencing the Holocaust and WW II. However, this is the first novel I have read that addresses the emptiness that comes from having lived through that kind of pervasive fear and death and how a person can forge a life after.
The story is about two women,
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Lilly and her daughter Ruthie and how they deal with the physical and psychic losses that have occurred in their lives.
I really enjoyed the way that the author was able to inhabit the heads of many different characters in the novel and make their motivations understandable. I also liked the way in which certain key pieces of information about the mysteries of Lilly's life were doled out in a way that didn't seem contrived, but still held on to the tension of wondering how those mysteries would be resolved.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys novels about immigrants or about mothers and daughters or about anyone who is interested in learning about European refugees after World War II.
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LibraryThing member tinkerbellkk
While this story of a Jewish woman who escapes to America under a false name could have been an interesting one, it fell a little short for me. I wanted to know more about the main character Lily but it just wasn't provided. Perhaps that was to make the reader identify with her daughter who was
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also in the dark about her mother and her motives? Not sure but I think it would have been a better read if we had more about the missing woman. I also found the book confusing at points when it changed point of view in mid stream. Sometimes I had to go back and read things twice. I like it but didn't love it.
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LibraryThing member TheBookJunky
This is another of the shortlisted books for this year's Giller Prize. The bride in question is a Jewish woman who has fled Europe in WW2, and has eventually arrived in Montreal, to take part in an arranged marriage. As soon as her betrothed lays eyes on her, he rejects her, to his everlasting
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regret, because his brother steps in and does what needs to be done. But Lily Azerov is not who she claims to be, and soon after her daughter is born, she abandons her family. This story is told from multiple perspectives but mostly from that of the daughter as she grows up struggling to understand the absence of a mother, and then trying in vain to understand how a mother could leave her child. The mother leaves behind only a few enigmatic clues and a trail of stones over the years.
The writing is fluid and occasionally sparkles with lovely prose. The background story of the bride aka Lily is drip fed slowly to us, and the reasoning or excuses for this, as given by the book's characters, don't really ring true -- it just conveniently suits its role as a literary device. The story unfolds in a disappointingly predictable fashion, but in the end is all quite tidy, if not really satisfying.
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LibraryThing member amandacb
I enjoyed The Imposter Bride for the first few chapters, but it became hard to personally enjoy the story of a woman who abandoned her two-month-old infant. Also, the ending of the story was rather unsatisfactory and it felt very untidily done.
LibraryThing member Cecilturtle
I was really touched by this story of loss: loss of family, identity, history, human connection. Richler did a fantastic job at capturing the hectic and ignoble days at the war was brought to an end and still people had to fight to survive. It must have been a time of terrible confusion, looking
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for absent relatives, pulling bits of broken lives faced the horrible reality of having to reconstruct from scratch.
I found Lily to be an incredibly human character: we can neither judge her or call her out on her actions. She was simply trying to catch her bearings. Richler did a tremendous job of contrasting Canadians who stayed at home and saw the war from afar compared to the European who lived it all too closely. The realities are so different and there is always that gap in understanding.
The structure of the novel is also very clever: a soul-searching book but revealed, little by little, so that the reader cannot help but want to dig deeper into the past, looking for clues, trying to figure out if Lily is good or bad.
I was very much enthralled and taken by this story, one which I would very much recommend.
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LibraryThing member Rdra1962
Intriguing premise, not well executed. The book just dragged, I found myself skimming even though I am trying to read slower than usual to make my summer stack of books last longer! The story could have been more interesting, the dialogue did not feel realistic, especially when immigrants give long
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passages of speech in perfect, highly literate English, and most of the story was told thru the perspective of a very dull young girl.I did not find the characters fully realized, and telling me over and over that a young girl has a crush on a boy, without ever making me understand why made me feel that the author presumed that I knew him and would "just understand"... There was a lot of repetition, and the name dropping of places in Montreal was fun for me as an ex-Montrealer, but might leave those not familiar with the city wondering why one restaurant or street is different from another. The characters would do/think/see something that I felt would change the direction of their life, make it more interesting, and then that thread would be dropped. It really felt like the author had reread her childhood diaries (crushes, incidents with best friends, first contact with anti-semitism, dates, spending time with her aunt/cousins) and then incorporated another story ( a refugee's assumed identity after the war) around her childhood. Finally, the ending felt thin and hollow.
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LibraryThing member EvelynBernard
Who are you if everything you know about yourself is based on a deception? This is the story of Ruth - a young woman growing up in mid-century Montreal who was abandoned by her mother, Lily Azerov, three months after her birth. Lily steps off the train in Montreal after the Holocaust to meet her
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future husband - he promptly rejects her. Sol's brother, Nathan likes what he sees, however and steps in to become the bridegroom. Lily is not what she seems. Like many who survived the horrors of WW2, the young woman has taken over the identity of another who died during this time. There are others who knew the real Lily Azerov and quickly surmise that this young woman is not Lily. Unable to live with her deception, Lily abandons her family. The story is told from a number of different perspectives - the most interesting being that of her daughter, Ruth. Ruth spends her adult life trying to understand who she is, who her mother is and what her place is in her loving and supportive family.

The characters of Ruth, her neighbour Ida and her daughter Elke, who keep Lily's secret are well fleshed out and interesting. Unfortunately, the story of Lily feels very vague and I was not able to find her to be a sympathetic character. It was disappointing, since Lily is the character upon which everything hinges.

I guess that since this book was shortlisted for the 2012 Giller Prize, I expected more. If I had bought it for a 'beach read', I would have had lower expectations and found it more satisfying.
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LibraryThing member JenHartling
I found The Imposter Bride to be an engaging and character driven book. The story can be quite bleak but the characters kept me reading.

The story is told in alternating chapters by Lily and her daughter Ruth. Even though the book begins with Lily the story really belongs to Ruth. She is only an
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infant when her mother abandons the family and she grows up knowing little to nothing about her. Ruth is surrounded by family members that love and care for her but more than anything she wants to know about her mother. Why did she leave? What was her real name? Where is she now?

All Ruth has of her mother are the few things she left behind and a lot of questions. This book is about her search for answers.

This book is quiet and powerful. It reminded me that family can come in many different forms.

The Imposter Bride was shortlisted for the Giller Prize in 2012.
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LibraryThing member kdabra4
3.5 stars. I liked the mystery surrounding the enigmatic Lily Azerov, immigrating to Canada as a bride-to-be from war-torn Europe. We soon know she is not the woman named on her papers, but who is she? Much theorizing and discussion ensues on that subject after the woman leaves her husband and new
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baby girl without explanation. The relationship of the family that remained behind was very unusual and special. The chapters written from the little girl’s perspective were my favorites. Underlying the narrative is the theme of how Jewish families were able to move forward after the war. But the story moved too slowly in other parts; and once we learn more about Lily, I really wanted more. There were still unanswered questions at the end.
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LibraryThing member Romonko
In a nutshell this book is about what it was like in Europe after the Second World War. especially for Jewish people. I think it portrays this more than anything. There is mention in the book that Jewish survivors of the War walk around like ghosts and they stop and stare at a multitude of
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different people. They are looking for their lost loved ones, and in most cases, sadly, they never find them. This is a clear picture of what it was like for survivors of the Holocaust. In order to escape Europe and to put their ghosts behind them, millions of people did whatever it took to get out of there-stealing identities, stowing away on passage out of the continent, disappearing forever from the Europe that is haunted to them. We hear about this, but we really don't hear about what it's like for those who did escape from Europe. Yes, they escaped the Europe that held only sadness for them, but they brought all the emotions with them. Many found that living under a stolen identity never works for them. They can't be themselves. They can't assume a normal life and go on like nothing has happened. This book, which was a 2012 Giller Prize finalist, is indeed dark and foreboding. It shows how many people are affected by such a terrible thing as the Holocaust was. (even as far away as Canada). The ripple efffect of the Holocaust is endured by unborn generations of those that made it through the nightmare. This is a deftly written fictional account of the human cost and the lives shattered from the unspeakeable horrors that a whole generation of Jewish souls endured.
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Original publication date



1250010063 / 9781250010063
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