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The Imposter Bride

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  6,195 ratings  ·  811 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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Marie Very much. There appeared to be an explanation for her behaviour and war is a very traumatic thing that my generation and my culture, has really no…moreVery much. There appeared to be an explanation for her behaviour and war is a very traumatic thing that my generation and my culture, has really no true understanding of.(less)

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3.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,195 ratings  ·  811 reviews

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Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-fiction
I have to admit, I was quite surprised and a little disappointed at the amount of negative reviews of The Imposter Bride I have come across. Incidentally, they all seemed to have one thing in common: they almost unanimously agreed the book was too dull.

Is the cause of such dismissive feedback simply due to bad marketing? Or is it due to a slow shift in what the average consumer now enjoys? Regardless, I feel obliged to issue a warning in my review:

If you are interested in this book because for
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 30, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Steven Langdon
Oct 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: super
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
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Andrea Marlene
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May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Megan Baxter
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read Nancy Richler's second book a long while ago, and I don't remember being impressed. Years down the line, I remember virtually nothing about it. When this came along on one of my lists of Globe & Mail bestsellers, I was ready to give it a chance, but wasn't really expecting much. I was wrong. This is a huge leap forward from Your Mouth is So Lovely, and The Imposter Bride had me in its quiet palm.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and
Mar 07, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Oct 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: canlit
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
Abria Mattina
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, review-2012
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 a
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Shirley Schwartz
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: prize-winners
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
Jessica Thurlow
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
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
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Lisa Doucette-tasse
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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.
Ruth Seeley
Nov 07, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 11, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Apr 24, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Intense, inner focussed story of the expectations of a Montreal Jewish family of the unknown young and private woman who comes to be wed to their son and brother. She has a past; she is reticent. She only wants to go forward with a hopeful future, and the family insists in trying to draw her back to a period time she has closed in her mind. The conflict surrounding the Jewish couple draws an interesting picture of a segregated Jewish neighbourhood's expectations of all those who live within thei ...more
Orla Hegarty
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is an example of why I only read female authors.

Ms. Richler weaves a complex story of female trauma in an engaging fashion. Thank-you for this work.
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Imposter Bride refers to one of the characters who survives the Holocaust and makes her way to Montreal using id she stole from a dead girl. Her secrets aren't safe though and she leaves her infant daughter with her husband and disappears. The story then continues through the eyes of her daughter alternating with flashbacks to Lily's past. I enjoyed the meditative journey through this family's history.
Oct 13, 2013 rated it liked it
While I do not regret reading The Imposter Bride, I feel as though I need to warn people about several disappointing aspects. For one, I found about a fourth to a third of the novel to be utterly disinteresting. I knew from reading the description that I was going to read a character-based book, not a plot based one, but certain parts were ridiculous. I suffered through pages of scenes only somewhat related to the plotline, or even the arcs of main characters. Perhaps the problem was that I simp ...more
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Why Lily took someone else's identity 2 51 Jan 01, 2017 11:49AM  
question 5 52 Oct 30, 2014 07:30AM  
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Nancy Richler was 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 Boo
“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?” 2 likes
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