Apr 23, 10
Read on April 23, 2010 — I own a copy
As I was browsing Barnes and Noble Kathryn Lasky's latest book cover caught my eye. Without even reading the synopsis, I knew Ashes would be about some aspect of the Holocaust and World War II. I love when I stumble upon great book finds!
Ashes is a very well written novel that takes place during 1932 and 1933 at the very beginning of Hitler's rise to power. The main character, Gaby, is a teenager whose father is an astronomy professor. Her father works with Albert Einstein and the her family actually lives next door to the renowned scientist. Her mother's best friend is an entertainment reporter for a Berlin newspaper. Although Gaby's family is not Jewish, it would seem all of their close relations are. It is these close relationships that fuel the family's hatred for the changing government policies.
For me, the greatest strength of this novel is the background knowledge the story provides. Lasky explains how Germany's defeat in the first World War impacted its economy and political standings. She also describes the transition of power that from Hindenburg to Hitler. Through the character of the family's housekeeper, Lasky shows how the ordinary German citizen could become easily enthralled with Hitler and his promises.
Ashes will be an excellent addition to my Holocaust library and an excellent way to begin a unit of study of this monumental time in history.