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Love & Treasure

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  2,497 ratings  ·  470 reviews
A spellbinding new novel of contraband masterpieces, tragic love, and the unexpected legacies of forgotten crimes, Ayelet Waldman’s Love and Treasure weaves a tale around the fascinating, true history of the Hungarian Gold Train in the Second World War.

In 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, victorious American soldiers capture a train filled with unspeakable riches: piles o
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Knopf
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Khanh (Clowns, Nightmares, and Bunnies)
#embarrassing #cringeworthy #grownwomanbehavinglikea5yearold
Apr 18, 2014 Anne rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
The subjects s and themes of this book are usually winners for me: WW11, art theft and victims and survivors of the holocaust. This book had all of these and more, but ended up disappointing me greatly. There are three separate sections. The first part engaged me and I cared about the main characters and the subject matter. So far, so good. However, it was downhill from there. The madcap action of Part 2 was frankly unbelievable. But, it was still a readable 3-star book. Part 3, narrated by a pa ...more
Diane S.
3.5 What first attracted me this book was the mention of the Hungarian Jews, most of the Holocaust books I have read seemed to be of the German or Polish Jews. That this takes place after the Americans have liberated the camps was also a plus. The 42 car gold train, as it came to be known ended up in Hungary and was put into the control of the Americans and for the purpose of this story into the protection of a young American Jewish officer, named Jack Wiseman. The cars of course filled with the ...more
I always like to learn about the Holocaust through historical fiction. Here we have the Hungarian gold train which I knew nothing about and will definitely research further. The Americans seized it before the Russians could get hold of it, and promptly began to pilfer from it.
The book is divided into 3 separate and distinct time periods. Each section had a strong, progressive, interesting female character. Jack, the young American soldier who stole a peacock necklace from the train, was my favor
Jessica Woodbury
I've always been intrigued by Ayelet Waldman. I've read several of her books and usually wanted to like them more than I eventually did. So I was really happy to see her step up into a new realm and go for something very different. It's perhaps her most successful novel, too.

If you're like me, you've read a lot of WWII novels, a lot of holocaust novels, and sometimes I avoid them because there have already been so many. But I love the approach Waldman takes. It's not about either the war or the
Oct 02, 2014 Abby rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
This is a solid effort by Ayelet Waldman, who has written a couple of previous novels that I haven't read. She has chosen a subject -- unearthing the stories of those lost in the Holocaust -- that has too often been taken up by mediocre (or worse) writers and riddled with melodrama and cliché. Waldman does better. She centers the novel on the historical "Hungarian Gold Train," crammed with millions of dollars worth of gold, jewels, furs, and household goods that have been "collected" from the Je ...more
This is a phenomenal book. It embraces so many topics: the Hungarian Gold Train, the Holocaust, women's suffrage, love, family and friendship. And weaving it all together is one beautiful peacock pendant.

I am a huge fan and admirer of Ayelet Waldman. This book is completely different from her other work, and it is clearly a work straight from her heart. I can't imagine the amount of research that went into the writing of this fantastic novel. And the characters are all so well-honed that you alm
Angela M

I have read a fair number of books about WWII and the Holocaust but I have never read anything about The Hungarian Gold Train. In fact I didn't know anything about it . Ayelet Waldman has educated me by telling this story about the Hungarian Jews during and after the war and what happens to their possessions that were taken from them .

Then she reveals some things that I never really knew with regard to how the Allies , yes the Allies including the U.S. took these stolen possessions and a harder
Jennifer Lauren Collins
As a piece of historical fiction, particularly one that deals with lesser discussed aspects of history related to WWII, this is an impressive book. On the other hand, as a piece of original fiction which simply serves as a worthwhile read in itself, history interests aside, I'm less comfortable recommending it.

My largest concern with the book is that it seems incredibly derivative of The White Hotel, though Waldman's work is far more concerned with art. The structure especially reminds me of Tho
In May, 1945, a train rolled into the station in Werfen, Austria and was seized by American authorities. It has already meandered across central Europe, been seized by the French, and stopped occasionally to unload containers onto trucks. What arrived at Werfen was a 42-car train filled with belongings looted from Hungarian Jews, including jewelry, art, furniture, china, crystal, and cash.

Ayelet Waldman puts a young Jewish officer named Jack Wiseman as the American in charge of guarding and taki
Terrific story. This novel reminded me of Christopher Bohjalian's books--which is a very good thing.
Judy Chessin
I love this genre of literature, and there were pieces of this book I liked a great deal. I'm a sucker for tracing a piece of jewelery or treasure through its past owners. I was fascinated to learn more about the Hungarian Gold Train. I even nodded at the "little people" or 'dwarfs/dwarves" in the Holocaust meme, which has so recently been all over the social media. However, I found the three parts disjointed. I didn't really get to know or like the characters, and the third part took too long t ...more
Ron Charles
Ayelet Waldman’s “Love and Treasure” opens with a grim, fantastical image that seems lifted from some perverted children’s story: a train of more than 40 boxcars filled with household goods — carpets, linens, cameras, dishes, paintings, vases, radios, watches, purses, teapots, candlesticks and much more.

Where did it all come from?

Why is the train chugging through the Austrian countryside?

Why are all these items sorted and labeled with German efficiency?

We’ve had 70 years’ experience with the var
While the promotional material for Ayelet Waldman’s “Love and Treasure” bills it as a novel, the more accurate descriptor for this excellent and gripping work of fiction would be linked stories. Yes, the books several parts are connected – though they leap about in time, all tie back to the tragic destruction of Hungary’s Jewish community in the closing days of World War II, the soon to be defeated Nazi’s near final act of spite and evil as they sent the last mostly intact Jewish community of Ce ...more
It usually takes me a day or so to process my feelings about some titles. The thing I like about L&T (and other books of Ayelet's)is that she does not condescend to her readers. I wish i could be more specific, but I do not want to get into spoilers. Suffice to say, this is my favorite of her (non mystery) books. It deals with Right and Wrong on many different levels, and what makes a good person. She is not afraid to tackle subjects that other authors might back away from. And when she does ...more
The writing is insipid and lame, almost insulting to the story it tells and the history it attempts to bring to life. Very sad. Realized at the end that she is the wife of Michael Chabon.
Mary Lins
I’m a sucker for a good WWII story, and lately I’ve found some wonderful novels that tell tales of immediately after the war; Ayelet Waldman’s “Love and Treasure” is one (“Jacob’s Oath”, by Martin Fletcher and “City of Women”, by David Gillham, are two others.)

What really stands out about “Love and Treasure”, which is part love story/party mystery, is the absence of romanticism about the Jewish Holocaust survivors. Waldman gives us a viewpoint on the Displaced Persons (DPs), Israel, and Zionism
Dec 08, 2014 Sarah rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sarah by: Ayelet Waldman's Twitter fit
I only picked this up because of Ayelet Waldman's snit fit at not being included in the NY times Notable books of the year. I don't know why I do this because it never works out for me (see also: James Wood's pout about The Emperor's Children). This is probably OK if you need something easy but still want to feel intelligent. I mean, look: the main character's name is Jack Wiseman. And he is a Wise Man. That's how literature works, right? (No.) It's fine if that's what you're into, but it damn s ...more
pretty good wwi - wwii novel revolving around the "gold train" that came from hungary and ended up in viena in 1945 (the facts of that train and goods in it [stolen goods like silverware, rugs, jewelery, from the jews of hungary] is sad and typical, usa brass took a lot of it to furnish their 'billets' and most all of it was either pilfered or eventually auctioned off to help fund the DP's in austria)
so author ayelet is a bit mainstream/housewifey style (sorry, but true) but there is some real s
Meg - A Bookish Affair
"Love and Treasure" is really a story about how we as humans cope when things seem incredibly hopeless. It is also the story of priorities and whether or not those things that we treasure are really all that meaningful in the face of danger. I had been wanting to try some of Waldman's books for awhile and so I was happy to be a part of this tour. This was a great and powerful book to start with.

The book opens on Jack, an old man, and his beloved granddaughter. Jack is convinced that she worries
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I wasn't entirely sure Ayelet Waldman could pull this off. It's nothing personal, I'd never read her before picking up Love & Treasure, but telling a multigenerational story through a single piece of jewelry is a pretty tall order. One Waldman managed beautifully if I do say so myself.

The setting is what originally drew me to this piece, but when push comes to shove Love & Treasure isn't really a WWII fiction, at lea
Cathe Olson
In the aftermath of WWII, American soldier Jack Wiseman was put in charge of the cargo of the "Hungarian Gold Train"--an assortment of jewelry, art, and household goods that had been confiscated from Hugarian Jews. Though he earnestly tried to keep the contents safe so they could be returned to the owners, he took a piece of jewelry that came from the hometown of the woman he fell in love with while he was stationed in Austria. On his deathbed, Wiseman asks his granddaughter to return the neckla ...more
FYI: I read an ARC of this book. As a fan of the Mommy-Track mysteries by @ayeletw, this book was a welcome, surprising leap. I should have anticipated the change in her writing, though, as it is very much in line with her Twitter persona: smart, almost painfully gifted at seeing every side of a story, ready for a fight, proudly Jewish. I considered whether I saw any influence from her husband's work, and nothing jumped out; instead, I saw parallels to Jonathan Franzen, as like him Waldman has a ...more
This is almost three distinct stories, tied together by the Hungarian Gold Train. I enjoyed the first section about Jack, a soldier guarding the train at the end of World War Two. I've read a lot of holocaust fiction, but not enough about the end of the war. The second story about jack's granddaughter finding the owner/heir of the necklace was equally engaging. However, the third section about the necklaces owner fell flat for me written from the perspective of the analyst in 1913. It was too co ...more
The subjects of the this story...The Holocaust, WWII, The Hungarian Gold Train, the reclamation of stolen treasures/art...set the stage for an intriguing read. However, this book was a disappointment & the story fell flat for me. The opening chapters captured my attention, however as I plowed along, the story become tedious. The story dragged and at times became quite mundane. I'm not sure if I enjoyed Ayelet Waldman's writing style. I definitely expected more from this book given the media ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paula Sealey
During WW11, a train carrying the stolen goods of Hungarian Jews was intercepted by the Americans. Jack, a young Jewish officer and one of the main characters in the story, is put in charge of the goods and sets to guard them from theft. It is not long however, before American officers themselves are pilfering from the haul. Among the goods, Jack finds a beautiful peacock pendant, which, against all his values, he takes.

Years later and suffering from terminal illness, Jack asks his grandaughter,
Stuff, we all have it. Some things are valuable for sentimental reasons, other for monetary reasons. What happens to our stuff, and what happens when that stuff is connected to horrific tragedy? Ayelet Waldman deftly tackles this true history of the Hungarian Gold Train of World War II into her latest novel, Love and Treasure. The very best historical fiction marries fact in fiction in a compelling story that both entertains and educates. Waldman succeeds in construction creating a marvelous sto ...more
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Ayelet Waldman is the author of Love and Treasure, Red Hook Road and The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was made into a film starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays and profiles of such public figures as Hillary Clinton have been published in a wide variety of ...more
More about Ayelet Waldman...
Red Hook Road Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace Love and Other Impossible Pursuits Daughter's Keeper Nursery Crimes (A Mommy-Track Mystery, #1)

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“Or the people they call terrorists. If it’s you who’s in the foreign country, and the people you’re waiting for arguably have more of a right to be there than you do, who’s the terrorist?” 1 likes
“In the end the real wealth of the Hungarian Jewish community had not been packed in crates and boxes and loaded onto that train. What is the value to a daughter of a single pair of Sabbath candlesticks passed down from her mother and grandmother before her, generation behind generation, for a hundred, even a thousand, years? Beyond price, beyond measure. And what of ten thousand pairs of similar candlesticks, when all the grandmothers, mothers, and daughters are dead? No more than the smelted weight of the silver. The wealth of the Jews of Hungary, of all of Europe, was to be found not in the laden boxcars of the Gold Train but in the grandmothers and mothers and daughters themselves, in the doctors and lawyers, the grain dealers and psychiatrists, the writers and artists who had created a culture of sophistication, of intellectual and artistic achievement. And that wealth, everything of real value, was all but extinguished.” 1 likes
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