The Imposter Bride
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The Imposter Bride

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  3,623 ratings  ·  560 reviews
When a young, enigmatic woman arrives in post-war Montreal, it is immediately clear that she is not who she claims to be. Her attempt to live out her life as Lily Azerov shatters as she disappears, leaving a new husband and baby daughter, and a host of unanswered questions. Who is she really and what happened to the young woman whose identity she has stolen? Why has she le...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Harper Collins Canada (first published 2012)
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Our Daily Bread by Lauren B. Davis419 by Will FergusonRu by Kim ThúyOne Good Hustle by Billie LivingstonThe Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler
2012 Giller Prize Longlist
5th out of 13 books — 33 voters
The Memory Thief by Emily ColinGone Girl by Gillian FlynnLive by Night by Dennis LehaneThe Twelve by Justin CroninDefending Jacob by William Landay
Must Reads for Fall 2012
22nd out of 36 books — 132 voters

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Community Reviews

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This is one of those books that makes me wonder what the publishing companies are really thinking. I’ve read many self-published titles that are much, much better than this book, so what’s the deal?
The main problem is that the book is so dull. I kept hoping for it to pick up, for some of the pieces to click together, but it just droned on, as if the writer had to reach a particular word count. None of the characters leave any kind of mark in the reader; they are all superficially written and com...more
This book was very intriguing in the beginning.. With a very promising main plot line and several minor subplots that were equally interesting. I see the story has been described several times already, so I won't. I simply found it disappointing. We are taken through Ruth's entire life feeling her emptiness and asking her questions. Wondering what tormented Lily so much...why rocks arrived as birthday gifts... And so forth. There was a mystical uncut diamond and mysterious journals.. One empty....more
I enjoyed this book and found the characters to be vividly written. Lily comes to Canada from Palestine to be married but her groom sees her at the train station and rejects her. His brother marries her and we learn that Lily Azerov is not who she claims to be, and soon after her daughter is born, she abandons her family. This abandonment hangs over her daughter’s life like a shroud.
The story is told through different points of view and it’s very deep and personal for everyone in it.

I also found...more
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 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...more
Andrea Heidebrecht
This book, in my mind, started out worthy of four stars but slowly lost them as I got further and further into the story. The main problem I had with this book is that the central issue - Ruth's curiosity about the reason her mother abandoned her as an infant - is built up throughout the novel, but in the end the reason is not all that interesting. In fact, Ruth's mother herself often says things like, "I can't even tell you why I did that" or "I can't even tell you why I felt that way, I just d...more
I think Nancy Richler wanted to write a *good* book. *The Impostor Bride* dances around being good, but lacks rhythm and grace and so slouches awkwardly around the dance-floor, making it awkward for everyone reading, but the effort at goodness is altogether too sincere to turn away.

The plot offers originality - a war-bride shows up in Canada, is scorned by her betrothed because he sees “something” amiss in her, she marries his brother, gives birth, abandons the child and runs away. We learn ove...more
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 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 multi...more
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Steven Langdon
This fine novel, set mostly in Montreal (with segments from Poland and from Thunder Bay,) is another on the short list for the 2012 Giller Prize in Canada. Unlike the other three novels on the list, this is a quiet and textured exploration of family interaction -- less dramatic and expansive than "Ru," or "419" or "Inside." "The Imposter Bride" is a reflective and introspective probing of the impact on a young woman of her mother's unexplained desertion shortly after her birth. There is a quiet...more
I read this mostly because it was shortlisted for the Giller prize, and I try to make a habit of reading the five nominees before the winner is announced.

There was so much I enjoyed about this book, but it somehow lacked the punch I would have expected from a prize finalist. Perhaps it's just my own expectations, but it felt like I was reading a book from twenty years ago rather than a 21st century novel. Perhaps it's just having somebody with the last name of Richler writing about the Jewish co...more
Canadian Reader
This is the engrossing and highly readable story of "Lily Azerov" who has fled Eastern Europe after the turmoil and horror of the Second World War. In Palestine, she makes arrangements to marry a Canadian Jew, Sol Kramer, who, on sight intimates the damage behind her calm demeanor. Sol quickly and shamefully decides not to marry Lily, but his brother Nathan does. Ida Krakauer and her teenaged daughter, Elka, show up at Nathan and Lily's wedding uninvited. Ida has heard from her sister Sonya in T...more
Abria Mattina
Originally reviewed here.

The Imposter Bride is a very character-driven book. It begins in post-war Montreal with the arrival of Lily Azerov, a refugee from Poland who has come to marry Sol Kramer. When Lily disappears one day, deliberately abandoning her three-month-old daughter and husband, it causes a break in the family's psyche that comes to define that era of their lives and the decisions they make after.

In many ways, The Imposter Bride is a novel about mothers and daughters. Ruthie, the ab...more
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.

Lily 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 aw...more
This should have been a five star read. The story was stellar. During WWII a woman comes across a dead girl and steals her documents and becomes her. She then goes to Canada to marry only to be left at the train station by her intended, Sol. Sol's brother ends up marrying her. She has a daughter, Ruth, and after 3 months goes out for milk and never comes home. Most of the story is told via flashback of the woman who became Lily and the family she married into. The present day chapters mostly con...more
The title is deceptive because this isn't Lily's story, this is her daughter's story; which is fine except the novel isn't much of an identity story either. Character development was sluggish and inconsistent, the title character was rather disappointing and not nearly as developed (nor unfortunately, as interesting) as other characters were. I left not entirely satisfied with character motivations, though I wonder if this was an intentional effect of the nature of the narrative.

I didn't have a...more
Jessica Thurlow
I'm not sure what I expected when I picked this book up. I guess I expected some sort of a variation on the tale of one woman tricking a man into marrying her in guise of someone else. But, that's not what this story is at all. Well, I guess it kind of is, but it's so much more than that.

While reading this book I felt profoundly sad. Mostly because of the circumstances from which many of the characters came from - WWII. Many of them being refugees who were some from post traumatic stress disorde...more
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 baby girl without explanation. The relationship of the family that remained behind was very unusual and special. Underlying the narrative is the theme of how Jewish families were able to move forward a...more
Lisa Doucette-tasse
This book left more unanswered questions and had a very disappointing end. The book just died. The sad part is the story was weaved with hints of deeper motivation and hints of a much richer story but it was never developed. There were so many unfinished story lines. The book did a good job of holding my attention and wondering what would happen next but unfortunately none of the questions were ever answered. For example, what ever happened to the teacher and his son? Why did lily do what she di...more
Have you ever picked up a book and almost felt like it was alive...I could tell the moment I picked up this book that it was full of emotion. I had apprenhension about reading because I could feel the sadness pouring from this book. It was one of those books that the mystery kept enticing you on ... right to the last minute. I wasn't initally sure I loved this book until I came to the end... and at the end I realized how captivating the story was and how much I loved reading it.
Sorry, but there was not enough story to encourage me to continue reading to see what the big mystery was. The POV/time switches were very jarring and distracted from the reading experience. I began to lose track of who was who and what time frame we were in. Would have worked better from the daughter's POV and covered her early years by backtracking instead of all the endless daily happenings.
I didn't exactly enjoy the book, although I also didn't hate the book either. I just found it to be average read, with not a lot happening in it. It was a character driven book, more than a plot driven, but I found there wasn't a lot of character development in it. Nor was there anything to catch my attention and want to keep reading. I found it to be like all the other books out there with similar plots. It felt like I've read the story before, which made it easy to drift off while reading the...more
Shirley Schwartz
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 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 Euro...more
Ruth Seeley
This is a surprisingly complex novel whose central theme is identity and how it can be compromised by a variety of actions. Lily Azerov is not actually Lily Azerov, but a Polish imposter who has assumed her identity in the chaos following WWII, with borders being redrawn, chaotic infrastructure, and the overwhelming grief experienced by Holocaust survivors (grief not only at the loss of entire families, but survivor grief and guilt as well).

Short-listed for the Giller in 2012, I'm not surprised...more
There was something about this book that wasn't what I wanted and it's hard to put my finger on what was missing.

The story is intriguing. Ruth's mother walked out when she was a baby and she spends her life weaving together threads to figure out who her mother is and why she left.

The story was intriguing and I wanted to learn Lily's story, but when I was tired, I had no issues putting the book down and was not clamoring to read more.

While a perfect bow ending would not have been right for this b...more
Have you ever watched an award winning movie with great reviews and felt you were just not getting it? This is how I felt while reading this Giller Award nominated book.I was anxious to read it because of all the praise, and felt I must apologize to everyone involved. The story line looked so promising and I tried to like the book. The characters seemed to have lead interesting lives, but they came across as flat, under-developed and boring to me and I failed to develop any empathy for any of t...more
This was a book filled with the author's unfulfilled promises. Richler gave us so many stories, but didn't end any of them. Why this choice and not that. Why that husband and not another.

Specifically regarding the narration.
Please, STOP with the whiny little girl voice when narrating female younger than 25. Please, for the love of all that is good an wonderful. Obviously, narration is a talent possessed by only a select few. Don't you think that a book written about Montreal's Jewish emigrees, t...more
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
This was a serious and sombre story that seemed more like a character study than a plot driven novel. It is told in alternating chapters from Lily and Ruth. Lily's chapters focus on her life after she first arrived in Canada, and Ruth's chapters focus on her life without her mother and her continuing search for her.

Both Ruth and Lily were fully developed characters who drew you in. The whole time I was reading, I wanted to know more about Lily. Who was she really? Why did she leave? Would Ruth e...more
This is the story of Ruth, who is searching for answers about her mother, Lily Azerov, who came to Canada in the mid-1940's to marry. Lily was rejected by the first man who she was supposed to marry, but ends up marrying his brother. Lily, isn't who she claims to be. Ruth feels emptiness throughout her entire life and never gives up hope that her mother is still around, thinking about her.

Ruth finally meets her mother, after a collection agent finds her at the end of the novel. I was hoping tha...more
Barbara McVeigh
The Imposter Bride defied my expectations. From the book blurb, what appealed to me as a reader was the mystery emerging from World War II Poland: Who is Lily Azerov?I had thought this story would show a daughter involved in a long search for her mother over various countries, continents, and in exotic locales.

Instead, the novel is firmly rooted in Canada and is more the story of the daughter, Ruth, growing up in post-war Jewish Montreal than the concerns of Lily the mother. The question, “Who...more
ATTENTION: If you are in a bookclub, this is a book for you!! Perfect for a round-table discussion.

I just love when I go into a book, knowing nothing about it, and page after page I am drawn deeper and deeper into its awesomeness. This book did just that. I swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

The title character is one of the most intriguing characters I have read in a long while. No matter how much I learned about her, there was even more that was left to the imagination. Every time Richler gave...more
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question 3 38 Apr 20, 2013 07:56PM  
Why Lily took someone else's identity 1 41 Sep 21, 2012 10:50AM  
  • The Emperor of Paris
  • Our Daily Bread
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  • One Good Hustle
  • Emancipation Day
  • Inside
  • Ru
  • The Age of Hope
  • The Crooked Maid
  • Going Home Again
  • 419
  • All My Puny Sorrows
  • Stony River
  • The Little Shadows
  • The Purchase
  • Indian Horse
  • The Deception of Livvy Higgs
  • Alone in the Classroom
Nancy Richler is a Canadian novelist. Born in Montreal, Quebec in 1957, she spent much of her adult life and career in Vancouver, British Columbia before returning to Montreal in the early 2010s.

Richler published her first novel, Throwaway Angels, in 1996. The novel was shortlisted for an Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel. Her 2003 novel Your Mouth Is Lovely won the 2003 Canadian Jewish Book...more
More about Nancy Richler...
Your Mouth Is Lovely: A Novel Throwaway Angels

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“I never really knew her," I said. "But you loved her," Ida answered, and again I wasn't sure if she meant that as an accusation or comfort. Was it less important or more important to know someone than to love them?” 1 likes
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