Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Love & Treasure” as Want to Read:
Love & Treasure
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Excerpt

Love & Treasure

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  4,159 ratings  ·  673 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Love & Treasure, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Ali the best part was the historical piece about the Hungarian "Gold Train" and the items that were taken from Jews and how hard it was to determine the n…morethe best part was the historical piece about the Hungarian "Gold Train" and the items that were taken from Jews and how hard it was to determine the next step for the train of treasures....plot was up and down - (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,159 ratings  ·  673 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Love & Treasure
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014, ww2, austria
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 ☔
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 31, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Angela M
Jan 08, 2014 rated it liked it

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
Mattia Ravasi
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Video review:
My favorite book of 2017!

A heartbreaking novel about loss that intertwines several charming love stories. The historical passages are beautifully portrayed, there are tons of amazing twists, and don't make me start on that Part III because it's truly fucking amazing.
Aug 24, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Jennifer 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
Dec 08, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  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
Dec 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Elyse  Walters
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I sat down to read Ayelet Waldman's new book with excitement. (I had the day free). I finished it in 2 readings. The story was 'flowing'.....for 'most' of the book. MUCH I enjoyed!!!!!

I felt lost though towards the end --(during a story about psychiatric healing). For me --I felt, well, disconnected, disjointed. (less interested during this section).

The characters of Jack Weisman, and his granddaughter, Natalie, were each strong. Plus -- their relationship was deeply heart-felt!

Natalie says TH
Ron Charles
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
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 she ...more
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Terrific story. This novel reminded me of Christopher Bohjalian's books--which is a very good thing.
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.
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Mary Lins
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: complete
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
Judy Chessin
Aug 26, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Katia N
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It is difficult to write a negative review, but I did not find anything attractive in this book unfortunately. I did not know that it was about the Holocaust and by the wife of Michael Chabon. Otherwise I would not start it. One has to be extremely talented to dare to write about the Holocaust and succeed. I do not think it is the case here. The book consists of three, very loosely connected novellas. The first was quite predictable and didactic, but not too bad. The second was worse, and the th ...more
Roger Brunyate
Jul 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: stories, holocaust
On the Trail of the Peacock Pendant

Ayelet Waldman's new book begins in Red Hook, Maine, the setting of her novel Red Hook Road, but the two could hardly be more different. For whereas she had previously confined herself to two families in the same setting over a period of a very few years, she travels in this one to Salzburg, Budapest, and Israel, at various periods over a hundred-year span. By the same token, though, it is a stretch to call Love and Treasure a novel; it is essentially a trilogy
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
"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
Oct 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
Adjectives to describe this: incongruous and tedious. And for the last third of the book: cringe-worthy. What a disappointment. I generally enjoy historical fiction and especially WWII and the Holocaust historical fiction. The first part,narrated by Jack, a young U.S. soldier in Salzburg in 1945, was pretty good. Jack is responsible for inventorying a train of goods stolen from Jewish people. As one of the few Jewish Allied soldiers, Jack is deeply touched by these household items, jewelry and o ...more
Dec 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
This was good enough. I didn't like all the details - things that rang false, anachronistic, sometimes pedantic and overstuffed with research, but I put these aside and paid more attention to the story itself, and that's sort of rare for me (I tend to discount the story and worry the details). I also admire Waldman's extensive research and I'm sure the novel is as notable as many other books reviewed in the Times last year (Waldman took issue with that). That said, I thought the novel had a sort ...more
Jamise // Spines & Vines
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 hype ...more
Eugenea Pollock
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: car-books
I found this book to be an interesting read, perfectly structured for episodic treatment—I.e., a car book—as I read it aloud to my husband over several travel trips. The historical settings were spread over the 20th century and early 21st, tracing a beautiful but ill-fated pendant through several hands. It also appeared in a disturbing surreal painting, and therein lies the source of my discontent. Perhaps I simply failed to properly connect the dots, but the circumstances surrounding the painti ...more
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cathe Olson
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

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 least not i
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Hungarian Jews after WWII 1 3 Mar 27, 2016 08:03AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • John Winchester's Journal (Supernatural)
  • Bobby Singer's Guide to Hunting
  • Thomas Jefferson's Education
  • A Scandal in Stresa: An Elspeth Duff Mystery
  • O Vale dos Mortos (As Crônicas dos Mortos, #1)
  • Coração-granada
  • O Livro dos Ressignificados
  • Тук-тук, сердце! Как подружиться с самым неутомимым органом и что будет, если этого не сделать
  • Brunette Ambition
  • The Red Lotus
  • Pilate's Wife
  • Robert Kennedy: His Life
  • Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine
  • The Secret Supper
  • Defenders of the Faith: Charles V, Suleyman the Magnificent, and the Battle for Europe, 1520-1536
  • The Virgin of Small Plains
  • Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal'd
  • Um Carinho na Alma
See similar books…
Ayelet Waldman is the author of A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life, 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 ...more

Articles featuring this book

Her Favorite Books About Lost Artifacts: Find what's lost in these recs from the author of Love and Treasure, about the looted heirlooms of WWII's...
7 likes · 5 comments
“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.” 3 likes
“How many people will die, have died, because of the wasted talents of intelligent and gifted women, forced into domestic drudgery, corseted by paternal demands, strangled by denial of opportunity?” 2 likes
More quotes…