Monday, September 21, 2020

Review: Eli's Promise by Ronald Balson

Eli's Promise
by Ronald Balson 

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  1939: Eli Rosen lives with his wife Esther and their young son in the Polish town of Lublin, where his family owns a construction company. As a consequence of the Nazi occupation, Eli’s company is Aryanized, appropriated and transferred to Maximilian Poleski—an unprincipled profiteer who peddles favors to Lublin’s subjugated residents, and who knows nothing at all of construction. An uneasy alliance is formed; Poleski will keep the Rosen family safe if Eli will manage the business. Will Poleski honor his promise or will their relationship end in betrayal and tragedy?

1946: Eli resides with his son in a displaced persons camp in Allied occupied Germany hoping for a visa to America. His wife has been missing since the war. One man may know what has happened to her. Is he the same man who is now sneaking around the camps selling illegal visas?

1965: Eli Rosen rents a room in Albany Park, Chicago. He is on a mission. With patience, cunning, and relentless focus, Eli navigates Chicago's unfamiliar streets and dangerous political backrooms, searching for the truth. Powerful and emotional, Eli’s Promise is a rich, rewarding novel of World War II and a husband’s quest for justice.

Kritters Thoughts:  Before diving into this book, I was already a Ronald Balson fan.  I was intrigued to read a book that was not a part of his series and for it to stand alone.  I was excited to see him tackle a different character's story and see what he would do.  

Told through one mans eyes in basically three time frames - The first, Eli Rosen was a Jewish businessman in Poland when Hitler and his cohorts were invading Europe and he was in a lucky spot with a Nazi sympathizer finding favor in him.  Maximillian Poleski was able to him stay safe much longer than most Jewish people could as Hitler and his followers started exterminating an entire race.  The second is Eli after he has been rescued from a concentration camp and has become a leader in a DP camp and someone from his past may make another appearance.  The final glimpse into Eli's life is in 1965, and he is in Chicago and in pursuit of some real bad guys and he is hoping to finally make sure that those get what they deserve.  

What a book!  Between the three timelines, I enjoyed reading the times he was in the DP camp and in Chicago much more than 1946 as Europe is falling into Nazi hands and not because of the obvious, but goodness gracious, I wanted to hit Eli up the head for his repeated actions!  I don't want to give too much away, but in those pages he was a character that greatly frustrated me and I wanted so much more for him and his family.  

The stories at the DP camp had a glimmer of hope which I appreciated in a story that could seem very dismal and negative.  I loved that the plot in Chicago wasn't present day and still felt historical and perfectly placed in its time.  

I wouldn't not read this book because I didn't love one of the three plots because those pages laid the groundwork for the other two, but I possibly wouldn't have edited them down and would have given the Chicago storyline a few more pages.

If you haven't Ronald Balson this would be a great introduction and if you have read his Liam and Catherine series, then pick this one up and enjoy!      

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2020 Challenge: 99 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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