The Things We Cherished
Roger Dykmans, a university student, is living with his brother Hans, an international emissary who’s secretly working against the Nazis. As time goes by, Roger finds himself increasingly drawn to Magda, Hans’ Jewish wife. But their secret world is turned upside down when Magda and her young daughter, Anna, are arrested by the Nazis.
The Gestapo make a deal with Roger: if he hands over information about Hans’ operations, they’ll set Magda and Anna free. Suddenly, Roger is faced with an impossible decision: should he betray his brother to save the woman they both love?
Spanning decades and continents, The Things We Cherished explores the strength of true love under the worst of circumstances.
It surprised me when I started the first chapter that I was being transported into modern day Philadelphia when, judging by the cover and the blurb on the back of the book, I thought I was going to be plunged into a purely historical novel. This is not the only confusing thing about the beginning of The Things We Cherished: the narrative jumps around a lot and the relevance of what you are reading is not automatically apparent. It does all come together in the end – but I feel that if you’re a slow reader, or if you were to read this book stretched across a long time period, you may find yourself getting a little confused.
This book covers two tales – a tragic Polish love story, and that of the present day – but after thinking the book over for a while after I’d finished it, and while discussing it with others who had recently read it, I became a little dissapointed by how they are woven together. It is not necessarily clear that you are supposed to draw some parallels (if any) between Magda and Charlotte, torn between two brothers, and I think more could have been made of the link in the book.
In a nut shell, The Things We Cherished is a predictable but still heart-wrenching romance through history, picked apart in the modern day. However, I did thoroughly enjoy reading it and would still recommend it to anyone who was looking for a slightly more serious romance built upon the foundations of a loose legal storyline.