The Light at the End of the Day by Eleanor Wasserberg: Your Preview Verdict

The Light at the End of the Day by Eleanor Wasserberg: Your Preview Verdict

When Jozef is commissioned to paint a portrait of the younger daughter of Kraków’s grand Oderfeldt family, it is only his desperate need for money that drives him to accept. But when he is ushered into their house in the winter of 1937, he has no inkling of the way his life will become entangled with the Oderfeldts’. Spanning countries and decades The Light at the End of the Day is a heart-breaking novel of exile, survival and how we remember what is lost.

Read some 5 star reviews from our Preview readers here:

I enjoy reading this as it started out quite good then as it went on it slowed a bit in the story.  Plus it jump around the characters a lot.  But overall it was a good read – Beth, TAS, 5 stars

For fans of The Book Thief, All The Light We Cannot See and The Lavender Thief you will absolutely love The Light at the End of the Day. It starts in 1930s and is a complex lengthy story that crosses different decades and countries that simply flies by as Wasserberg’s writing is superb. Your heart will break as what the family endures to stay safe. Alicia is the main character but the portrait painting is a character all of its own. This book would make a blockbuster movie and I’d love to see it on the big screen. You will be left breathless right to the end. I’m going to read it again! – Rodney, NSW, 5 stars

I found the book very interesting. Great story and great characters. I won’t tell you what’s it about . I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Once I started reading the book ,felt like I was really there. Experiencing everything the characters experienced.All people of different ages would really enjoy it – Suzanna, NSW, 5 stars

This book follows the lives of one jewish family through the horror of world war 2. The juxtaposition of their starting wealth and life of luxury and the poverty they are forced to endure as they flee their home is jarring and eye opening. Not even the rich could evade the concentration camps. Filled with moments of beauty, friendship and hope, this novel was unforgettable. – Kristy, NSW, 5 stars

As an avid reader of WWII books including The Diary of Anne Frank, The Nightingale and The Book Thief I really enjoyed this new novel by Eleanor Wasserberg. Her ability to create beautiful and at times confronting and painful imagery reminds me of my favourite novels, The Power of One and Jessica by the late Bryce Courtney. Her main characters, especially Alicia and Josef are lovingly flawed human beings who despite their circumstances never completely lose sight of hope for a reunion and finding happiness. I found it to be a somewhat ironic and inspiring read in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. – Amanda, SA, 5 stars

This is a powerful story of love, loss, family ties and the human spirit set in Poland at the start of World War 2. The novel takes place from just before the Nazis invade Poland through to the tragedy of World War 2 and beyond.  The story centres on a wealthy Jewish family (the Oderfeldts) living in Krakow and in particular the painting of a portrait of the youngest daughter (Alicia).  Just as the portrait is almost finished, Krakow is invaded and the family must flee, leaving the treasured portrait behind.  The family are separated with the mother and Alicia being sent to a labour camp in Russia. But Alicia never forgets the portrait or the artist behind it and this sustains her through the most horrendous times. She vows to reclaim her painting and to find her family.  This book really relayed the depths of misery faced by Polish Jews in the face of anti-Semitism displayed not just by the Nazis but their fellow Poles and the Russians.  The loss of family, property, belonging and security was portrayed so well.  But it also showed how people can ultimately triumph over evil.  Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction. – Kecia, NSW, 5 stars

Such a beautifully written story. But the most heart wrenching stories were those that began, but were unfinished due to the  cruelty of real events. A reminder to cherish each moment with those we love, we never know what tomorrow brings. – Kiralee, SA, 5 stars

This is the type of book in which one can lose oneself in.   I would have loved to have read this in one sitting curled up in front of a fire. I loved the way that Eleanor Wasserberg used her descriptive skills to bring the characters to life .   The way she fleshed them out on their journeys both physical and emotional was done beautifully and believably. Her description of the Olderfeldt’s apartment and their way of life created a vivid picture of the family, where and how they lived, which set the scene for the horrors to come.   The textures of fabrics the warmth of the room chilled by fresh crisp air from an open window the rustle of pages turned, all helped to create the world of the Oderfeldt’s.  Eleanor Wassberg built the tension felt by the family and their friends at the beginning of the war slowly and skilfully.  The concept that things like that don’t happen to people like us even if we are Jews were all understandable.   The title is so relevant on many levels and this is so much more than a book about the Jewish experience and definitely worth reading. – Angela, VIC, 5 stars

Set in the time of World War 2, this book encapsulates the life of a family escaping the Nazis during the Holocaust.    This book shows the struggles of many as they leave behind everything and flee. Once-thriving families find themselves with nothing. Everything is ripped away from them, especially for Alicia – where only memories of her past life remain….or so she thought. As time passes, Alicia is gripped with the memories of a painting. Not just any painting, but a portrait which ultimately was the key to family secrets spanning over decades.    This historical novel sheds light on the battles of many escaping the Nazis. Innocent beings who fight to retain what is rightfully theirs.    Awesome read, particularly for those who appreciate the events leading up to and during WWII. – Chloe, VIC, 5 stars

I loved reading the ‘The Light at the End of the Day’.  It is a powerful, compelling story that covers confronting history in a sensitive and informative way.  I enjoyed the descriptions – particularly the colours, shades and brightness mentioned throughout.  The characters were realistic and well developed and, in some cases, endearing.  I especially liked the way the inner thoughts of the characters were conveyed.  I had no difficulty following the changing timelines and places across chapters. I desperately needed to know what happened so read the book quickly.  I found the ending rewarding as my queries were generally resolved. The story is still in my head (in a good way).  I do not think I will forget it.  I highly recommend this book. – Sandra, ACT, 5 stars

Reviews

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            Publisher details

            The Light at the End of the Day
            Author
            Eleanor Wasserberg
            Publisher
            HarperCollins
            Genre
            Fiction
            Released
            08 July, 2020
            ISBN
            9780008164140

            Synopsis

            A family scattered. Lovers torn apart. A painting that unites them all.When Jozef is commissioned to paint a portrait of the younger daughter of Kraków's grand Oderfeldt family, it is only his desperate need for money that drives him to accept. He has no wish to indulge a pampered child-princess or her haughty, condescending parents – and almost doesn't notice Alicia's bookish older sister, Karolina.But when he is ushered by a servant into their house on Kraków's fashionable Bernady ska street in the winter of 1937, he has no inkling of the way his life will become entangled with the Oderfeldts'. Or of the impact that the German invasion will have upon them all.As Poland is engulfed by war, and Jozef's painting is caught up in the tides of history, Alicia, Karolina and their parents are forced to flee – their Jewish identity transformed into something dangerous, and their comfortable lives overturned …Spanning countries and decades The Light at the End of the Day is a heart-breaking novel of exile, survival and how we remember what is lost.
            Eleanor Wasserberg
            About the author

            Eleanor Wasserberg

            Eleanor Wasserberg holds a BA in English and classics from Oxford and an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia. Foxlowe was her first novel.

            Books by Eleanor Wasserberg

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            1. Twist of Fate says:

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