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3.44  ·  Rating details ·  187 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Sweeping from post–WWII rural Romania to the cosmopolitan Budapest of 1990, Christina Shea’s Smuggled is the story of Eva Farkas, who loses her identity, quite literally, as a young child when she is smuggled in a flour sack across the Hungarian border to escape the Nazis.

Five-year-old Eva is trafficked from Hungary to Romania at the end of the war, arriving in the fiction
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 5th 2011 by Grove Press, Black Cat (first published January 1st 2011)
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Mar 21, 2011 rated it really liked it

Last night I finished the book. For me it is a four star book. Now you know I do not give a plot synopsis of a book. If you want that, please read the book description. I try and explain why I like a book or dislike it, if that should be the case. I do this because people seek different things from books. I try and explain what the given book gave me. Through the details I give, I am hoping you can judge if the book is one you wish to read. There is no book that fits everybody! Wha
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
There is something very clever about the way Christina Shea wrote this book. Upon reflection I realized that Shea had managed to take what would have been a con and turned it into a pro.

This is a very tough book as it deals with a topic and goes down a very different path that most authors avoid. Yet, in doing so she was able to create a dynamic portrayal of human emotion. The MC in this book, Anca, was probably one of the most realistic characters I have ever read about. This books actually com
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Daisy by: Irene

Had she been an intellectual, she would not have survived her own interrogation. p. 125

It was the clearest mark of their isolation when there was nothing to translate. p. 193

Each chapter in this book, in this character's life, could be an entire novel in itself. But you don't feel cheated by any brevity or shortchanging of details. This is a thorough, complete story--but not long-winded--of one woman's experiences as a Jewish refugee from Hungary smuggled into Romania as a child
A Book Vacation
Jun 29, 2011 rated it did not like it
Grove/Atlantic, Inc. has been extremely gracious to allow me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release today, and I am very sorry to say that I didn’t like this book. The writing style and the storyline just is not for me. The premise for the novel peaked my interest, but overall I found that the pacing of the story wasn’t to my liking. In my opinion, the novel has a tendency to gloss over events I deem important, while prolonging the events that are more miniscule. I als ...more
Apr 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Chrissie's comments
Shelves: arc, gave-away
"...From the bottom of the sack she looked up at her mother's face, a grave moon. Mama! But she shouldn't speak or cry out. She must hide herself. She carefully pulled her broken hand out of its sleeve, nestling it inside the coat..." (4)

Smuggled (July 2011) chronicles a remarkably well-written narrative of one young girl, whose cherished and privileged life in 1943 Budapest, Hungary is hastily transformed to an often bleak and seemingly forsaken ordinary village life in "Crisu", Romania. Belo
Jenn (Booksessed)
Apr 14, 2011 rated it liked it
I have been reviewing a lot of YA titles recently and momentarily forgot that this title was in the genre of adult fiction. It was in the back of my head, but due to mass quantities of YA, it slipped my mind, until I got to a sex scene. Then all I could think about was how inappropriate that specific scene was for a YA title. Which, of course, Smuggled is not. Clearly, I read analytically.

I do have mixed feelings about the novel itself. I liked the novel but there were certain aspects of the nov
Mar 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Smuggled is a beautiful, inspiring novel set predominantly in post-WWII Romania and Hungary. It tells the story of Eva Farkas, who is smuggled out of Hungary and away from the Nazis as a five-year-old during WWII. Across the border in rural Romania she is renamed Anca Balaj and raised by her Uncle and Aunt. After spending most of her life as Romanian Anca, she eventually returns to Hungary after the fall of the Soviet Union to reclaim her identity as Eva.

Forced to hide Eva Farkas for almost half
Mar 09, 2011 rated it liked it
I’ve always enjoyed historical drama novels, but for some reason the presence of this genre in my own book collection is scarce. Christina Shea‘s ‘Smuggled’ has ignited my curiosity with books themed around World War II and the Holocaust, and I will definitely be reading more.

‘Smuggled’ had me riveted from the very beginning. The author did a wonderful job instantly engaging the reader with a heart wrenching opening scene—the smuggling of five year old Eva Frakas into Romania. Now, living with
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Eva Fakas is five years old when her parents smuggle her out of Hungary to live with her aunt and uncle in Romania. She is renamed Anca Balaj and must start life again. This her story as she grows up, eventually returning to Hungary and becoming Eva again.

This is a book about survival. It is a tragic look at life post-WWII in a country that was immensely impacted. Having no first-hand, and barely any second-hand experience with war, I found the descriptions depressing. I couldn't imagine living
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Sep 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
It's very rare that you get to spend so much time with a character. We get to spend almost 50 years with Eva/Anca to see how she changes from the time. We get to see her as a young girl when she doesn't really understand what's going on when she is taken from her parents and her home in Hungary to go live with her aunt and uncle in Romania in order to escape the Holocaust. She has to take on a new identity and at such a young age, she almost forgets who she once was. After the war, Eva is sudde ...more
Cynthia Haggard
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
SMUGGLED is an historical novel set in Eastern Europe between 1943 and 1991. Eva Farkes is a young Jewish girl caught in Hungary, when her parents decide to hide her in a flour sack and send her over the boarder to relatives in Rumania. Once there, she acquires a new identity, Anca Balaj, and is forced to forget her parents. She is only five years old.

I have read other books from this depressing era, and found it hard to keep going. But somehow, author Christina Shea made me keep my nose to the
Mar 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Eva is a young girl in Hungary during WWII. Her mother is a Jewish and her father is a poor man. They are afraid for her safety and send her off to stay with a relative in Romania. They drug her, put her in a flour sack, put her on a train and hope that the relatives find her on the other end of the line. The do and Eva's name is changed to Anca. Her Uncle obtains Romanian papers for her. As Anca grows she meets people that are trying to help her or are they only using her as a means to get what ...more
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won a free copy of this novel through first reads.

I have a definite interest in history and historical fiction. This was the first book I've read about life "behind the Iron Curtain". It was fascinating to see the effect of the war and communism upon the countries of Hungary and Romania. More importantly, this book wasn't about the political leaders of the countries, but normal everyday people.

Eva/Anca was an enjoyable character. She frustrated me sometimes with her thoughts or choices, but th
Nicki Markus
Feb 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-historical
I received this ebook copy of Smuggled as a ARC from NetGalley and I am so glad that I decided to request it.
The story is gripping from start to finish with a wonderful array of colourful characters, all expertly portrayed against the landscapes of countries torn apart.
I was very interested to learn more about post-war life in some of the Eastern European states and it was a real eye-opener to think that events similar to those in the novel were happening at that time.
Shea's prose is engaging an
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
For something that I picked up almost by accident, nearly sent back to the library unread, picked it up, and stayed up way too late because I just couldn't stop reading. What is it about life, even the most miserable life, that compels us to keep going, to keep going with the lead character. Lets face it, WWII was a miserable time to be a Jew, it was a miserable time to be in Eastern Europe, yet it opens your eyes to how people had to live, the choices they had to make - betray or be betrayed. S ...more
Marcela (BookaholicCat)
Feb 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review is also published at

Eva Farkas had a tough life. During Second World War at age five she was smuggled out of Hungary to Romania in a flour sack. In Romania she was forced to get the new false identity of Anca Balaj and leave everything about Eva Farkas behind. She was supposed to live with her paternal aunt and her husband for a couple of months, until her parents came for her, but they never came, her mother was capture in Hungary and later died in the t
May 18, 2012 rated it liked it
This historical fiction novel sounds like it would be a perfect fit for me. The heroine, Eva, is a very young child who is smuggled out of Hungary into Romania during World War II. She's sent to live with her aunt and uncle. She's given a new name, a new history or backstory, and, of course, new documents that hide her Jewish identity. She's forbidden to speak of her old life, forbidden to speak her own language--at least after the first two weeks or so. She's forced to adapt really, really quic ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Beginning in WWII and ending in the early 1990s, Smuggled tells the life story of Eva Farkas, and the story of Hungary and Romania under communist rule. Eva was smuggled out of Hungary thanks to her wealthy father; her mother, his mistress, was Jewish, making Eva a possible target. Eva is sent to her father's sister and her husband in Romania. Thanks to forged papers and a talent with languages, she is able to survive the war and get an education. Her story doesn't end there; nor does life get m ...more
Elizabeth B
May 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from the very beginning. I had some trouble relating to the main character as she unfolded quite slowly through the pages but the events going on around her were enough to keep me engaged in the storytelling. The supporting characters were a bit forgettable but I find that in most historical novels, they are. It’s more about this one character and their perceptions of the events around them which I enjoy reading about. Once I became attached to the character it wen ...more
Colleen Clark
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Colleen by: editor's mother
Shelves: ww-ii, fiction
I was given this book by the mother of the editor who is a friend of mine.

At first I thought a little "ho-hum" but soon I was drawn into this tale of a WW II child smuggled from Hungary by her Jewish mother to her father's (not married to the mother) sister in Romania in the middle of WW II.

Having read Patrick Leigh Fermor's "Between the Woods and the Water" just a few weeks earlier I had learned that the inhabitants of northern Romania were mostly Hungarians left on the far side of a border af
Jan 11, 2011 rated it liked it
I liked it and didn't. I was excited to read this because it touched on what was going on in Hungary and Romania during world war 2 with Stalin and Hitler. But I was slightly disappointed that I didn't learn more about the history of what really went on. I feel like they talked about Stalin and communism in such a way that they assumed that the reader had a good knowledge of what exactly was going on in those countries at the time. I felt that I was missing something. The story was intriguing an ...more
Michelle LaPointe
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of this book from GoodReads. I am grateful. I don't know that I would have heard about this book if GoodReads hadn't sent it. The story was very mvoing, interesting, and held my attention.

Most of the story has Communist Romania as its backdrop. It was really the story of a girl (then a woman) searching for her place in the world. She has little in the way of family or friends, and is faced with some dreadful options. There are parts of it (in the middle) where it wasn't e
The book Smuggled by Christina Shea relates the story from girlhood through adulthood of Eva Farkas, who was smuggled in a flour sack across the Hungarian border into Romania as a 5 year old child. She is sent to live with her father's sister and she is given a new identity as Anca. The plot goes on to describe the difficulties she experiences throughout her life both as a displaced person and living under Communism. However, it also reveals her as a survivor who learns to do whatever she must t ...more
Aug 17, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it
The ending saved this book for me. I'm a sucker for a happy ending.

Born in Hungary and then smuggled into Romania at the age of 5 to avoid the Nazi's, Eva (whose name is changed to Anca) experiences many hardships under Communism, terrible sexism/discrimination, and a struggle to better herself. At times, Smiggled is an excellent read. But, at other times, I had to force myself to keep going forward. And, I really disliked how two people from Eva's past appear in her life as Anca---it felt like
Katie Hanrahan
Sep 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
There have been several stories dealing with survivors of the Holocaust, but Christina Shea takes a different approach by setting her novel in Romania, a hell-hole that isn't often the subject of novels.

The fact that the main character had to hide her Jewish identity does not overwhelm the reader, but becomes a slight ripple running beneath the main narrative. This is as much a story of survival in a Communist regime as it is a tale of a woman who lacks roots because of the upheaval of war.

Smuggled spans 5 decades, from 1943 to the early 1990's. Below is an excerpt from my review.
Eva Farkas was a normal rambunctious and fearless five year old, living in Budapest, Hungary during World War II. She begged for her mother, Eszter, to read one particular book to her every night, even though she knew the story by heart, but she got very upset with her mother for saying she should want to be like the mole in the book and stay hidden. Eva couldn’t understand why her mother insisted on that
Won this on Goodread's First read giveaways. Very excited to read this!

update 11/16/11: 178 pages in and I quit. I was so interested in this from the bio and thought the book looked beautiful when it arrived in the mail. I wanted to love it, but couldn't even finish it. I totally lost interest in the character. I found the storyline to be weak in areas. There is a lot of story, but not enough on building the characters and emotions. I just couldn't get into the book and found myself less interes
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