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Anne Frank has long been a symbol of bravery and hope, but there were two sisters hidden in the annex, two young Jewish girls, one a cultural icon made famous by her published diary and the other, nearly forgotten.

In the spring of 1959, The Diary of Anne Frank has just come to the silver screen to great acclaim, and a young woman named Margie Franklin is working in Philadelphia as a secretary at a Jewish law firm. On the surface she lives a quiet life, but Margie has a secret: a life she once lived, a past and a religion she has denied, and a family and a country she left behind.

Margie Franklin is really Margot Frank, older sister of Anne, who did not die in Bergen-Belsen as reported, but who instead escaped the Nazis for America. But now, as her sister becomes a global icon, Margie’s carefully constructed American life begins to fall apart. A new relationship threatens to overtake the young love that sustained her during the war, and her past and present begin to collide. Margie is forced to come to terms with Margot, with the people she loved, and with a life swept up into the course of history.

338 pages, Paperback

First published September 3, 2013

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About the author

Jillian Cantor

13 books1,341 followers
Jillian Cantor is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of twelve novels for teens and adults, which have been chosen for LibraryReads, Indie Next, Amazon Best of the Month, and have been translated into 13 languages. Jillian’s next novel, THE FICTION WRITER, will be published 11/28/23 by Park Row Books. Born and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia, Cantor currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 945 reviews
Profile Image for Monique.
375 reviews19 followers
April 6, 2016
Without the horrible made up story about Margot Frank, this could have been a nice story. Now it's just a lie, covered in a historical-fiction, made up by yet another young American woman who writes about the Holocaust. I hope people will remember the real history about Margot, Anne and their family. How both girls died in Bergen-Belsen, a month before the liberation. I want to invite the writer to visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam to see the picture of Otto Frank, standing in the attic, one hour before the Anne Frank House is opened for the first time. You would see a man who lost everything including his beloved daughter Margot, who he loved just as much as he loved Anne. And that's the real story...
Profile Image for Niffer.
715 reviews16 followers
December 4, 2013
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Tonight I came home from work, fed my critters, and at about 6pm I picked up this book and started reading it. While I was reading it I occasionally thought I was a little hungry but I kept reading. And once or twice I thought I was maybe thirsty. But I kept reading. It's now just after 8:30 and I have just finished this book.

Yes. It was that good.

Sometimes when you read a story about historical events you gain a sense of what they may have been like to experience. This book made me realize that no matter what I read, no matter how much I study the subject, I will never truly appreciate the horrors of the holocaust and what it meant to live through it. At the same time, the author drew me into Margot's life, the carefully crafted lies she's created to protect herself, the constant fears and flashbacks she lives with, and makes me revel in the resilience of human nature.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Naomi.
4,683 reviews140 followers
September 30, 2013
Read my full review: http://bit.ly/14Y6y5G

My opinion: OMG...I loved this book!

Normally, I am not a fan of fictional revisionist history. The majority of them I have read, there was NO WAY that the story EVER could have happened and I found myself constantly rolling my eyes, but this one worked. One could see this happening. There was nothing over the top about the story that the author portrays. I wholeheartedly disagree with a couple of Goodreads reviewers who call this book light and chicklit"ish". There was nothing about that in regards to this book. In my opinion, it was really focused with a woman who was "comfortable" hiding in the shadows of who she really was and suddenly has to change this and come to terms when things she though true were found to be untrue.

I had some questions throughout the reading that the author wrapped up beautifully in the epilogue. So be sure to read the epilogue.

To boot, this book has some great writing. The book sucked me in immediately and I had to force myself to put it aside for the most part. I enjoyed this book so much that I approached the author to join Sisterhood of the Traveling Book as an author member and was thrilled when she accepted. I can see why this book is on so many lists.

Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,000 reviews35.9k followers
October 19, 2013
I should have trusted my gut! I wasn't interested in this book when if first came out ---given it was a fictionalized Historical Holocaust story. (I had my doubts) ---but???
I was sitting by a pool not long ago when I saw a woman reading it (didn't know the woman) --asked if she liked it ---She said 'yes'....(I downloaded it onto my Kindle within 30 seconds).

I wanted to enjoy this book! I always want to enjoy the book I'm reading. (I think I'm pretty 'easy' to please) ---

Yet--I was bored with this book. Maybe I'm too old (seemed like it could have been a Young-adult romance novel) --
Maybe I've just read too many 'amazing' books about the Holocaust ---that this one just didn't stand out) ---

The writing seems to get blogged down and falls short -
The story falls short --
The story 'feels' superficial ---(lacking depth)
Took too long to 'get to the point' (a point which the reader already knew)
I never believed Margie Franklin was Margot Frank.

The best theme in this story ---(yet falls short again) --Was how Jews assimilated in America after the War.

As for the "Cardigan Sweater": The Point of 'the sweater' began to feel too repetitive --(questioning the readers intelligence???).

I can appreciate the authors passion for this 'topic'. (for 'that' I give her 2 stars): Her PASSION -LOVE & EFFORT. (yet the book needs to be 'revised -revised-revised ---IMO)!


Profile Image for Lauren.
1,179 reviews315 followers
September 3, 2013
"I have been hiding for so long that it has become all I am. And I realize I am not even truly certain why I am still hiding, except now it is all I know."**

I knew nothing about the book Margot until I attended a Penguin event this spring, and met the lovely author Jillian Cantor. I remember her telling me about her book and thinking that it sounded like a fascinating and moving concept, but in my head, I was pretty sure that I'd never read it for myself. Mostly, because it seemed like an incredibly sad and depressing story, and I try to avoid those types of books. Plus, I wasn't sure how I would handle an alternate version of what really happened to Margot Frank. But then the publisher sent me a copy of the story, and I felt compelled to read it for myself. It took me a while to work up to starting Margot, but once I opened the first page I was drawn to Margie Franklin, the name that this version of Margot has chosen to hider herself behind. Margie's quiet, but clear voice, her life in America in the late 1950s and her struggle to reconcile who she was with who she is now, all combined to form a moving and surprisingly relevant story. Now after reading Cantor's beautiful book, I am nothing but thankful that I've been given a chance to read it.

I love stories that look at lesser known characters in well known historical events. Everyone knows who Anne Frank is, and many have read her words or seen her story on the screen. But little is known about her studious sister, Margot, who also hid for two years in the annex, wrote a diary and was captured and sent to Auschwitz along with the rest of her family. What I love so much about the story of Margot Frank turned Margie Franklin, is how well it captures the spirit of the girl who seems perpetually in Anne's shadow. In many ways, Margot is a quiet book, but that is what is brilliant about it. Margot pays homage to Otto Frank's eldest daughter in a way that is respectful and honest. Cantor carefully draws Margot out from the background of her sister's story, and into the forefront of her own. I think that is the beauty of this tale, the way that it reminds us that Margot was a real person too.

Margot is set in front of a backdrop of working America in the 1950s, when men wore suits, girls wore dresses, and everyone smoked in the office. But despite the cool mid-century vibe to the story, on the outside, Margie Franklin's life doesn't seem all that different from that of a single person today. She works hard as a secretary for a law firm, goes out for drinks with her friends, and sometimes leaves work early when her boss is away. But Margie also wears sweaters and long sleeves all seasons of the year, not for modesty sake, but to hide the numbers on her arm. After spending her life hiding who she is, Margie does not know how to do anything else. That's the second aspect of this book that is so powerful. It is a reminder that when the war ended - when any war or psychological trauma stops - the individual consequences don't disappear.

Margot is not a loud book, and that is a blessing in many ways, because it forces you to pay attention to the details in the story, and especially to Margot herself. I was surprised by how incredibly real and complex she became to me. How carefully Cantor crafted her. Margot speaks and thinks clearly and articulately, because she learned English as a second language, and has practiced hours to cultivate it. It is a part of her facade as Margie, but it is also a true detail of the girl she had once been, who was always focused on her studies and learned languages and subjects hiding in the annex. Present day Margot struggles with guilt about her past, especially in her relationship with Anne and her actions following their capture. But conversely, she has an incredible amount of grace for the Americans around her, who have no idea what the war was like for a Jewish girl raised in Europe, and are constantly making careless statements.

But most of all, Margot's instinct to protect herself and keep her past hidden are in conflict with her desire to be known and loved as she is. Margot the Jew believes that her life will be simpler, less complicated and safer as Margie the Gentile. But what is she sacrificing by denying who she is? And what happens when her life is projected on the big screen in her sister's movie, and she is confronted by her own past?

The tragedy and the wonder of Margot is that we know she did die in a concentration camp in 1945. But if she hadn't, this story feels real. Possible. And even if it could never have been Margot's story, it may have been somebody else's. Another person who survived the war and emigrated to America. Or any survivor who struggles to know how to find life again. I know this story sounds heavy and deep, but it is actually incredibly relatable. It even features a very sweet romance. I fell in love with Margot, not because of it's darkness, but because it is a book about redemption and hope.

Love Triangle Factor: Mild. I hate to put ratings in when the love triangle is the least important part of the story, but there is a lovely romance imbedded here.
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone

*I can't thank you enough, Riverhead Trade (Penguin) for the opportunity to read Margot. Received in exchange for an honest review.
**Quote taken from an Uncorrected Proof. May change in final version.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,004 reviews61 followers
August 3, 2013
Admittedly and quite cowardly, I have refrained from reading or watching anything surrounding the Holocaust most of my entire life. I would walk by displays in my elementary library as a child that would highlight the "Diary of Anne Frank" and I was afraid of it. i have generally treated it as a part of our history that I wish I could pretend never really happened, but that doesn't honor or respect the lives and memories that were forever altered by horrific acts.

For someone with my hesitancy, Jillian Cantor penned a beautifully written book that carefully considered the audience she was writing to. Details of what the Jews horrifically endured and then died from are handled respectfully in her book. She realizes there are still deep wounds from the terrible long-suffering events in the 1940s. Jillian has helped me to "tip-toe" carefully through these disturbing events with a better understanding of what they might mean.

I am grateful for so many things about this book...but most importantly, the byproduct of reading this has prepared me to want to learn more about the family and the subject of the Holocaust. For me, as i read the book, I tried to rearrange my day just so I could spend some more time with Margot. There just never seemed to be enough time. Thank you, Jillian for all the heart, soul, and research you put into the book. It mattered greatly.
Profile Image for Zoe.
406 reviews939 followers
February 7, 2017

"And let us not forget Margot, who kept her 
own diary, which was never found."
- Miep Gies
While I really enjoyed Cantor's Searching for Sky, I absolutely fell head over heels for her historical retelling Margot. Margot hit me on a much more personal and emotional level than her other novel did, as well as leaving me with a lot to think about too.

If you've read Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, you'll remember that Anne has an older sister named Margot, who has somewhat been forgotten in history in place of her vivacous younger sister's famous diary.

Margot is a historical "what-if" retelling about Margot. Margie Franklin is a young lawyer with a secret: she's really Margot Frank, and, contrary to historical belief, she managed to escape the concentration camps, and make a life for herself in America. When her sister's diary is published and begins gaining popularity, Margie is forced to come to terms with the young girl she used to be.

One of the things I loved most about this novel was the way Jillian Cantor crafted Margie. You can see how daftly Margie is struggling to forget the horrors of the war and the concentration camps, so much so that she pretends to be a Christian lawyer. She's layered in layers and layers of secrets and lies, so much so that she doesn't know what's real anymore.
I am good at keeping secrets. I am wrapped in them now, the way I am wrapped in lies, like my sweater, clinging tightly to my skin, even on the hottest of days.
The character growth in Margie is pheonominal. She goes through a 180 character-wise and your heart really reaches out to hear as she learns to accept her past.

Told in heart-poundingly beautiful prose with a unique and unforgettable narrative voice, Margot is truly one of a kind, and as someone who was truly touched by Anne's diary, it adds a wonderful extra layer to the original story.
Profile Image for Rossy.
368 reviews14 followers
October 12, 2015
We all know and remember who Anne Frank was, but do you remember Margot? She was Anne's sister, who was also hiding in the secret annex, but not much is known or heard about her.

What if...
What if Margot didn't die in Bergen-Belsen?
What if she managed to escape, survive?
What if she is now Margie Franklin, a secretary in Philadelphia?
What is she had to leave everything behind and continue hiding even though the war is over?

I think this was my first Historical Fiction book and I finished it not only crying, but sobbing.
World War II is a subject that always leaves me broken, but wondering if something like this were true was such a different emotion because, of course it's fiction and Margo didn't make it, but this story may apply to any person who survived a concentration camp, since not everything ended there. They were "free" but their lives would never be the same. They were broken, afraid, I can't even begin to imagine.

This is such a powerful book, because even though it's fiction, its message is the same: WE MUST REMEMBER. We must never allow something like that happen again. War was over but Jews were still afraid and hiding because people were still threatening them, they were discriminated and even now, some groups are.

I must add that I haven't heard much about Margot, and I learned some really interesting facts. Her sister Anne would become the "famous" one, but let's not forget that there were two families hiding at that annex, there was a girl named Margo who experienced and suffered the same, just like millions of people we don't know about, and I repeat, even though it is fiction, we have an insight of her feelings, her dreams, her fears, and this just represents what a lot of people experienced while in hiding.

Profile Image for Comet ☄️ .
218 reviews12 followers
May 2, 2014
This was suppose to be a tribute to Margot Frank; but, it made her look like a dumb, obsessive girl. Margot Frank was in reality smart and a devout Jew.She would not have traveled to America and pretended to be Christian all because her teenage crush told her to. Would she have not really reached out to her father for slights? Really? It would have been nice to see a book about how she became a midwife in Israel (an actual dream of her's) and her father kept her life a secret from the public. Lastly, it was plainly poorly written. It just repeats scenes over and over. I was seriously going to throw my tablet if I read the same fictional sentences from Peter that ruled "Margie Franklin's secret life" again. Is all Margie Franklin do is fret and replay scenes from her memories while laying around her apartments? Yes. The only fire I get from this book is to find Margot Frank's diary. It would be nice to find it and find her real voice.
April 8, 2023
Earlier this year, I read an outstanding book called “Annelies”, in which the author imagines what Anne Frank’s life would have been like had she survived the horrors of the concentration camp. When I discovered a book written about Margot in a similar vein, I was eager to read it. (I call these historical fiction books “What If...” books). Having read both, I was very impressed with the way the authors made the adult characters of the two sisters ring true to what is known about them, through extensive research. Little is known about Margot except from what can be obtained from her sister’s diary and memories of people who knew the family, like Miep Gies. It is a fact that Margot also kept a diary while in the Annex, but unfortunately it was never recovered.
Memorable Quote (from the author’s notes):
“In creating Margot/Margie here, I wanted to give back what was stolen from her, even if only in a fictional world: her voice, her life, her happy ending.”
Profile Image for Emily.
153 reviews33 followers
June 26, 2013
The idea of this book is really compelling, and the story itself is developed pretty well. But the writing itself fell a bit short for me -- there were some over-wrought motifs and images that I'm hoping a sensitive editor will tone down in the final version. But it's definitely worth reading and draws you in. So compelling, in fact, that I risked getting a parking ticket to run into my job where I left it on my day off. I was there for exactly one minute, and alas, my risk was a poor one. C'est la vie.
Profile Image for Carla Clifford.
9 reviews1 follower
May 30, 2013
This novel re-imagines Anne Frank’s sister’s experience in post WWII America. Margot Frank – who now calls herself Margie Franklin and is working at a Philadelphia based Jewish law firm -- has been hiding her identity as well as what happened between her and her sister. As Anne’s popularity grows, Margie’s life begins to fall apart -- her future in America is at stake unless she is able to come to terms with what happened in her previous life. This book asks the question – How do you assimilate in humanity once you’ve been through hell? It’s extremely thought provoking and very well written.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,651 followers
January 23, 2017
4.5 stars

Though World War II era fiction of just about any sort has a high level of appeal for me, I’m wary of these “what if?” stories. It seems there are so many ways in which they could go wrong. In this case, I needn’t have worried, however, for Jillian Cantor handles this subject matter respectfully, beautifully, and cleverly.

Read the full review at A Reader of Fictions
Profile Image for MAP.
511 reviews155 followers
October 13, 2015
This is the first time I've read a piece of historical fiction and thought "too soon!"

I suppose it should always be weird and uncomfortable, making up thoughts and experiences for people that actually existed. But there's something particularly discomforting about a novel that retcons a teenage girl's tragic death in the holocaust (still a relatively recent event!) into a romance/mystery where she survives.

In addition, I was uncomfortable with Margot's portrayal - she wasn't just a holocaust survivor with severe trauma and PTSD - she almost seemed unhinged at times, and her motivations were obscure.

A disquieting novel, but I read it because I apparently really will read anything and everything about the Frank family and circle.

A grudging 3 stars because I did read it all in one day and I could barely stand to put it down, even if it was sometimes for the wrong reasons.

EDIT: I figured out what bothered me about this book (in addition to what I said above) - it's not really historical fiction. It's more...alternate reality historical fiction. And the place where you usually see this kind of writing is, well, fan fiction. Didn't like the way an episode went? Write it with a different ending! Wish those two characters had gotten together? 36 chapters later they can be! Wish that a real live teenage girl hadn't died brutally during the holocaust....write a different ending where she lives and has a crush on her boss?

I'm not saying that it can't or shouldn't be done, but for me there will always be something slightly unsettling about wish-fulfillment fiction about historical figures - especially historical figures who had unimaginably tragic ends.
Profile Image for Catlyn Caldart.
178 reviews1 follower
July 6, 2014
I really did not like this book. The premise is that Anne Frank's sister, Margot, survives the war and moves to Philadelphia, pretending to be a Christian woman named Margie from Europe. The year is 1959, the same year the movie version of her sister's book arrived in theaters. "Margie" works for a Jewish law firm (she's a secretary) that suddenly decides they want to defend Jews from WWII who are being persecuted by their "Nazi" boss.

Meanwhile, Margie's inner dialogue reveals that it was HER - and not Anne - who loved Peter and that Anne's diary was mostly a work of fiction: a diary of made-up stories. She also claims that Anne was killed by bullets meant for her, as she jumped off a cattle car and hid in the woods.

ALSO, Margie is in love with her boss, who is Jewish, but thinks she's a Christian, so he won't love her in return. Whew.

Ignoring the fact that this book was probably written by a 15-year-old, it was so insulting to the memory of Anne Frank and her infamous diary. To even fictionally claim that Anne's diary was make-believe is to alter history. We know Anne and her sister both died from typhus in the camps.

This book read like some really messed up fan fiction.
Profile Image for Jeanie.
2,844 reviews1 follower
May 4, 2014
There are times when you read a historical fiction such as this and you wish it was true for the character's sake. Our main character Margot Frank, Anne Frank's sister survived and is now making a life in the United States and she is still hiding. Because she is hiding, she is hiding from the truth of who she is. A Jew. As she tells her story you realize the prison she keeps herself in by hiding the truth of who she is.
Profile Image for Shae.
741 reviews169 followers
January 25, 2016
Originally posted at http://www.shaelit.com/2013/09/review...

In the spring of 1959, The Diary of Anne Frank has just come to the silver screen to great acclaim, and a young woman named Margie Franklin is working in Philadelphia as a secretary at a Jewish law firm. On the surface she lives a quiet life, but Margie has a secret: a life she once lived, a past and a religion she has denied, and a family and a country she left behind.

Margie Franklin is really Margot Frank, older sister of Anne, who did not die in Bergen-Belsen as reported, but who instead escaped the Nazis for America. But now, as her sister becomes a global icon, Margie’s carefully constructed American life begins to fall apart. A new relationship threatens to overtake the young love that sustained her during the war, and her past and present begin to collide. Margie is forced to come to terms with Margot, with the people she loved, and with a life swept up into the course of history.

It wasn't until after I received my digital copy of Margot from Penguin that I realized it was adult, not YA as Edelweiss had labeled it. Apparently, if you choose the 14-18 age filter, it hones in on the "18" part of "18 and older." I was worried, for while the synopsis sounded interesting, I don't read adult books. My blog focuses on MG and YA books, and with all the books I have waiting to be reviewed, surely I didn't have time to be sidetracked. However, even if by accident, request it I had, so read it I must.

Sometimes, the best things arrive by accident.

As the synopsis says, Margot is the post-war story of Margot Frank, Anne Frank's elder sister, during the height of America's romance with the younger girl's posthumous tale. In real life, Margot Frank died with her sister in Bergen-Belsen, a German concentration camp. In this book, Ms. Cantor gives the story a Anastasia-esque twist. What if Margot had survived? What if she had escaped, hidden until the end of the war, and escaped to America? What if she had chosen an American name, Margie Franklin, and told no one of her past? What if she had hidden the tattoo on her arm and slipped into comfortable, Gentile anonymity as the secretary at a Jewish law firm? And then what if, one quiet spring, her carefully constructed charade began to crumble, as all charades must?

I think I remember reading The Diary of Anne Frank in school, but I always avoided sad books as a kid, and nothing to me seemed sadder than the diary of a dead girl my own age. I knew the gist of the story, and that was enough for me. A young Jewish girl and her family hid away in an attic, where the girl would write in her diary about a tree she saw out her window and her hopes for the future. The girl and her family would eventually be found by the Nazis, sent to camps, and die, except for the father who would then find his daughter's diary and publish it. That was all I could remember and all I thought I needed to know until I began Margot. Once I started, it was all I could do not to run to the bookstore and find a copy of The Diary to read from cover to cover as Margot did.

I was surprised by how easily I slipped into Margot's world. The settings - a hot, subdued Philadelphia law office with clacking typewriters, a peaceful public park, a dimly lit movie theater - all seemed very familiar and oddly comfortable. The 1950's were a relatively peaceful time in America's history, a much-needed respite from the two world wars and financial depression of the last three decades and a sort of golden era before the tumult of the approaching 60's and 70's. However, the peace was not shared by all of the nation's citizens. Though the war was long over, emigrants from Europe's war-torn nations still struggled with the emotional and physical scars the Nazis had left. While America sighed over Doris Day and Rock Hudson in Pillow Talk, tittered over the antics of Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot, and abstractly mourned for the lost love of Anne Frank and Peter van Pels, those like Margot still struggled to cope.

From the beginning, I was comfortable with our heroine. I understood her and sympathized with her. "A paragon of virtue" is what Anne always called her, and a paragon of virtue is what Margot strives to be. She doesn't smoke or drink, she enjoys the companionship of her fellow secretary Shelby, and she admires her boss Joshua from afar.

I also pitied her. Margot is a very lonely woman. The Nazis cut her off from her family, her fear cuts her off from the Jewish community and true intimacy with Gentile friends, and her longing for her friend Peter cuts her off from the opportunity to live in the now. When her sister's diary is published in America, she tells no one of her connections, but instead must live her days with her dead sister's eyes watching her from every bookshop window. Then the book is turned into a movie, and her sister's and Peter's names are on everyone's lips. Ah, the tragic star-crossed lovers, Anne and her tragic and haunting tale. Margo weathers it all, unable to tell anyone that they should be looking for the quiet sister in the corner of the attic, unable even to correct the ungainly American pronunciation of the names of those she loves.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="384"] Still from The Diary of Anne Frank[/caption]

While a powerful portion deals with what Margot has loved and lost, Margot also deals with much broader themes such as religion, what it means to be Jewish, the lingering effects of being a persecuted people, and the pain that comes from running from one's self. Ms. Cantor handles each topic with a delicate touch, certain not to protect Margot from the inevitable consequences of attempting to lie about everything she is but also capable of discussing each theme sensibly and movingly.

As a YA reader, I found the differences between Margot and the standard plot treatment of my normal fare interesting. Several darker elements that certainly would have been capitalized in a YA novel were introduced and then conveniently forgotten by the end, and the overall plot arc was too unevenly lumpy to be a true arc. I wrote in my notes that the story "lacked teeth" in that I never felt like Margot was sufficiently threatened, though that feels like an odd thing to write about a concentration camp survivor.

Margot may not be a dark book, but it is a deep one. Instead of prose splashed with violent colors of red and black, we are instead lured into deep, shadowed shades of bruised purples and cool blues. Margot's struggles were made more intense by their hues of reality. Once upon a time, there really was a family named Frank with two sisters. Both were lost to us, one more than the other thanks to the power of the younger's words. There really was a father who survived while the rest of his family died. And there really was a race crushed by the iron fist of Germany, scattered to the four corners of the map, and forced to fight for their right to work, to be treated justly, to live without fear for decades after the war had ended.

In addition to being beautifully written, Margot weds the power of historical fact with the allure of the "what if?" Through Margot, we are allowed to experience the heartache of lost loved ones, the struggle to remember the bad and the good, and the upbeat optimism of the 1950's in downtown New York paired with the battered hope of survivors looking for justice and a place to belong.

Points Added For: The setting, the prose, Margot herself, the what-if premise, interesting questions regarding religion

Points Subtracted For: A lack of tension

Good For Fans Of: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (but softer and without the suspense), the 1950's

Notes For Parents: Smoking, memories of war

Note: I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

1,362 reviews23 followers
April 10, 2014
I genuinely don't know how to rate this. Maybe 3.5 stars?

It's not a bad story, by any means. I still have issues with it, some related to the story itself, and some just to the concept. I have to say, I think the last quarter of the book is definitely the strongest, though I wish the last chapter had been slightly... more.

The narrative itself is good. Not perfect, but solid. It was an emotional book, and I thought Margot's emotions and feelings (her fears and tentative affections, her hesitations and doubts) were quite well done. I found the book at its strongest there (for the most part). I also found her inability to quite fit in to modern life was really effectively told. But the writing style didn't always work. I assume the slight choppiness, and often almost blunt thought process was meant to convey Margot's mental state, and thought process. The problem was, some of the other characers had the same, sometimes stilted, dialogue. Not always, but I noticed it more than once from Joshua. And that didn't quite fit for me, not if he's supposed to be a liberal Jewish lawyer, born and raised in the States. The writing isn't bad. Far from it. But it was occasionally clunky. Like it could have used one more final edit.

I really liked the story of how Margot Frank got to the U.S. and became Maggie Franklin. I like how it's not told linearly. It's told in bits and pieces throughout the novel. I like the friends she made along the way, particularly Ilse and Bertie, who act almost as parental figures for her in America. Almost, but not quite, because she's fairly distant. But I thought the always bubbly and supportive Ilse and the generally quiet, but always saying the right thing when he does speak, Bertie were charming side characters.

I was somewhat indifferent to office-mate Shelley, and her romantic saga.

I do wish the love story had been better told.

But I think, in the end, my biggest problem is with the concept itself. Perhaps unfairly.

The book takes an interesting concept. It's a what if. What if Margot Frank had lived? I think on some level I just had a problem with the concept. Not because I object to historical fiction, or the idea of re-writing history for story purposes, but because it was this story. Maybe it's because the book is dealing with events that happened in living memory. Maybe it's because it's dealing with a series of events that are truly horrific and changing them. This isn't "Hey! Einstein and Picasso were in the same city at this time. What if they met?" This is "What if this young girl didn't die a horrible death along with her sister?" And it's not that I think that trying to answer that question is somehow ethically wrong, or disrespectful, but I did find it hard to treat this as a story, and just get lost in it. Because the entire time I was thinking about what really happened. I found it particularly problematic in the first half of the book.

And maybe it's unfair, because I think about "what if's" all the time. What if stories could just be re-written with different endings, ones I like better. I "fix" movies all the time in my head, to the extent that I sometimes don't always realize I'm doing it. But this isn't a movie.

Maybe it's also unfair, because in the end, I think the exploration of what is a true story is the strongest part of the book. It's the section in the last third that had me bumping this book up to four stars from three.

On the other hand, it is a book that I'll think about. It's a good book, even if I'm not sure it's one I enjoyed, or that I'll ever read again.

Good, but not a favourite.
Profile Image for Melissa Crytzer Fry.
318 reviews345 followers
April 8, 2014
We’ve all read Anne Frank’s Diary – required reading for most in our teens. Author Jillian Cantor adds a twist to the harrowing story we know. She asks the question: what if Anne’s older sister Margot actually survived? What if she made it to America?

That question, alone, is enough to carry the story and entice the reader to keep reading. Yet Cantor ramps up the tension and like a skilled juggler, tosses multiple storylines and conflicts into the novel—each (which I can’t share with you, for fear of ruining the story) begging you to turn the page. In a character-driven novel with a main character who faces mostly (heart wrenching) internal struggles, this is a remarkable accomplishment and so well done.

This is the story of Margot’s imagined life in Philadelphia, woven with painful flashback memories of her time in the annex with sister Anne, and even a story about Peter, another boy hiding in the Annex in Nazi Germany. A painful secret also pushes the story forward, revealed at the end of this moving account of historical facts and imagined fiction -- both artfully blended into the narrative. Mostly this is a tale that touches upon the topics of truth, identity, love and even the importance of faith. It’s a story about hiding our true selves and the growth that can occur when we open ourselves up and share who we really are.

One of my favorite lines in the novel: “Greatness is in bravery. Doing something that terrifies you.”

I can’t wait to read Cantor’s next work of historical fiction! This was stunning, and another book that I felt didn’t get the marketing attention it deserved. I read this book quickly and only wish I’d read it sooner. Definitely recommend!
50 reviews3 followers
December 8, 2013
I have read two other books that were similar in many ways to this one: Annexed, by Sharon Dugar, which is a diary written from Peter Van Pele's point of view, and Helen Keller in Love: A Novel, about the purported romance between Helen Keller and a reporter named Peter Fagan. All three of these books were great, but I think Margot was my favorite of the three. So little is known or has been written about Margot, but we feel like we know her through Anne's diary, and the books that have been written about what happened to the family after they were discovered. The personality that we believe Margot had: shy, proper, studious, cautious, really shines through in this book. Her fear of her true identity being revealed and her guilt about abandoning Anne were palpable. In addition, her conflicting emotions about her father and his closeness with Anne were very believable. In the book, Margot claimed that she kept a diary as well, and she wondered why her father chose to publish Anne's diary and not hers. It is very intriguing to think of having the opportunity to read Margot's diary as well, and how different it would be from Anne's account of their time in the Annex. The love triangle of Margot, Peter, and Anne that this fictional Margot claimed was also very interesting. As much as we all love Anne, this book will make you fall in love with Margot as well, and hope for the happy ending that they both so deserved.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Anna.
1,104 reviews90 followers
April 12, 2014
Most are familiar with the story of Anne Frank, but what of her sister, Margot, who also kept a diary? Did she too have feelings for Peter? What was her relationship with her sister Anne, and those with whom she shared their small space with? What if Margot survived? In this fictional account of her life, Margot does survive. She is a secretary living in Philadelphia under the assumed name of Margie Franklin. Margot is living a life of lies, but can she truly remain hidden from her past. The movie The Diary of Anne Frank has just been released, and everyone is talking about the movie. Her Jewish boss is a lawyer who is taking on a case based on Anti-Semitism. Margot holds Shabbat alone in her apartment on Friday nights and wears sweaters to hide her "tattoo". But as her friend Eduard told her "you are who you are". She also wonders if Peter is still alive and searches for him under the name he was to assume. If she keeps her identity hidden and lives a life of lies, she remains trapped and isolated from the world. As Margot blossoms, she finds the courage to realize she must reckon with her past and look to the future.
After finishing the book I watched the 1959 version of the movie Diary of Anne Frank. Reading the book gave more meaning to watching the movie.
Profile Image for Crystal.
35 reviews3 followers
August 8, 2013
I was lucky enough to attend a book event in NYC a couple of months ago, where I received (and had signed by Jillian!) an ARC of Margot.

This is a spectacular novel. Jillian has done an incredible job shedding some, albeit fictitious, light on a widely over looked historical figure. Margot, or "Margie", is the older sister of Anne Frank and this novel is from her point of view as it may have been after the holocaust, had she survived it. A very confused and frightened, yet endearing young woman hiding her past and identity in a new country when all of a sudden her sister's face and newly published diary are everywhere. As dear "Margie" tries to come to grips with what's real and what's fake in both her present and her past, the words in her sister's diary continues to haunt her. "Margie" is forced to face her demons or be destroyed by her self-guilt.

Just extremely well written with well thought out characters and story lines. 5 stars!

Fact and fiction are intermixed throughout the book, and Jillian explains them in the Author's Note at the end.

- Crystal
a contributing reviewer for www.thecovercontessa.com
Profile Image for Caren ~ the misfit geek.
185 reviews32 followers
March 20, 2014
This story is incredibly moving. I had heard many good things about the book and was anxious to read it. I was not disappointed. Not only was the story compelling but the writing was amazing. I was swept away from the start.

There is not much information on Margot Frank but the author stayed true to what is available in developing her character. Ms. Cantor took the little that was known and crafted a captivating character. Margie’s fears and insecurities felt very real. I wondered at some points if she was not only hiding her identity from others but also from herself. Her struggle to regain a sense of self, acknowledge her past, and begin to move forward was particularly touching.

This is a great book and I recommend it highly. It is thought provoking and emotionally charged. It is the first book by this author that I have read. The writing was incredible. I will probably read more of her books.
Profile Image for Maureen DeLuca.
1,036 reviews32 followers
July 29, 2019
This is a 'what if' historical fiction. We all know the story of "The Diary of Anne Frank" - well, this story is about her sister and "What if " she survived and made it to America..... at times the story flowed... but then I really got bored with it and to me, it seemed to drag on. Towards the end, I was skimming the book for I put so much time into it, I wanted to see how it ended... even though I had an idea where the book was heading. I'm pretty sure the only reason why I completed the book is because I do enjoy this author. Oh well... on to the next one x
Profile Image for Christine Moore.
801 reviews26 followers
June 1, 2017
I was so very fortunate to be able to read an ARC of The Lost Letter. That book was one of the very best books I have ever read! I wanted to read more by the author. Margot is a story about Anne Frank's older sister and if she hadn't died in WW2. It was a beautifully written tragic story. It is a story of what ifs, of family, and of having to hide ones true self. It is also a book of redemption and learning to move on. I truly loved it!
Profile Image for Janet.
248 reviews61 followers
July 20, 2013
Can you hide from your past and change who you are? If you try, what do you risk losing? Those are some of the questions thoughtfully explored in this novel that proposes an alternative history in which Margot Frank, sister of Anne Frank, survives the Holocaust and moves to Philadelphia. Great book club choice.
Profile Image for Jennifer Reierson.
267 reviews7 followers
February 22, 2015
An amazing fictional tale of the story of Margot Frank, Anne Frank's sister, who escaped the nazis and started over in America. This story is haunting me.
Profile Image for Amanda Hagerty.
492 reviews5 followers
August 25, 2019
I want to start off by saying why has it taken me so long to read this book. And two I understand why this book got so many mixed reviews. I really enjoyed this book.
Because I think everyone at one time in life think about what if this or that. I enjoy reading about that time in history. Because it did happen and millions died. And when they came to American some or most were treated the same way. These younger people don’t know about what happened and how it effected so many people.
That’s why books like this get young people read and what to learn more about what happened. I highly recommend this book. I think it bought so many thoughts to my head when reading this book.
About Book:
Margie Franklin lives in Philadelphia in 1959. Doesn’t tell anyone who she really is. She is keeping from everyone because she doesn’t need anyone treating her different. Margie hopes that Peter is still alive and hopes they can live together as non Jews in Philadelphia.
But there is Margie boss who she admires a lot but to scared to share her feelings. Highly recommend this book!!
50 reviews18 followers
October 22, 2013

Back-Story: I was fortunate enough to win this book off of Goodreads First Reads. It came within a few weeks which surprised me because the other book I’ve won took eight weeks.

Review: Fantastic. Incredible. Amazing. Intriguing. These are words I would use to describe this book. It is completely fictional, but it kind of feels like it could be true. Like maybe Margot didn’t die at Bergen-Belsen. Maybe she lived and moved to America and started a new life. That’s what this book is about. It shows you what could have happened instead of what did happen. Margot is a character that we don’t know much about. We always hear about Anne and Meip Geis and even Anne and Margot’s father Otto Frank, the only one to survive. Jillian Cantor shows us the possibilities of what could have happened had Margot lived. Margot, now known in America as Margie Franklin, works for a Jewish law firm and is in love with her boss. She hides it from everyone and kind of denies it herself believing that she is still in love with Peter. Margie hides her true identity from everyone, even wearing sweaters in the heat of summer to cover up her tattoo from the concentration camp. While in America Margie learns that her father is alive and married to another woman and he has published Anne’s diary which is now the biggest rage and has even turned into a movie. Margie has to cope with the book, the movie, and the belief that Peter might still be alive all the while helping out Jewish men and women that have survived the concentration camps. The book goes on with Margie’s struggles and how she copes with her past and accepts her future.

Looks: The cover is okay. It shows the decade which lets you know what era it’s set in, but what I don’t understand is the little girl on the right side. Is that supposed to be Anne? Is it supposed to be Margot when she was younger? I don’t see how the little girl could be either of them because the little girl’s hair is blonde and we know that both Anne and Margot had dark hair. What I’m going to assume is that the woman on the left is Margot in America and the little girl on the right is Margot in Germany. (Which really doesn’t make sense either because the little girl would still be too young to be Margot.)

Likes: The book is well written and is a page turner. Not once was I ever bored and waiting to get to an interesting part. The book held my interest the whole time and the author has made it as historically correct as she could to make it fit her story. I think Jillian Cantor has done a great job in creating this story and all its characters. She does well in doing the flashbacks from the Annex and the camps to what is presently happening. She does well capturing Margot mourning her sister and mother, her apprehension towards her father, her fear of being found out, and her avoidance towards the book and movie.

Dislikes: *SPOILER ALERT* I can’t really say that this is a dislike. It’s more of an ‘If I were the author I would have done this instead of this’. The very ending is Margie saying her real name, revealing who she really is. Then it’s the end. If I were the one writing the book I would have shown the reactions between Margie and who she reveals her true identity too. I, as the reader, would have liked to see what happened after saying “My real name is Margot.” Again, this isn’t really a dislike it’s just what I think should have been done instead.

Overall: As I’ve said before this is a great book. It’s never boring and is not something you’ll put down easily. I definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I am very, very glad to have won this book. I love it so much that I’d be willing to buy another copy just to buy it.
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