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(Werner Family Saga #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  25,761 ratings  ·  302 reviews
Born into poverty and fear, Anna is desperate to leave her native Poland. Determined to make something of herself, Anna moves into a cramped New York slum and finds a job in a sweatshop. When two very different men fall in love with her, Anna is destined to be forever torn in love and loyalty.
Paperback, 698 pages
Published January 1st 1978 by Dell
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Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I read this whole series back in the 80s and it made a big impression on me because of its description of the immigration process. It's been a very long time since I've read this, but I have a distinct memory of the main character wrapping up a set of silver candlesticks off the quaint kitchen table, the most valuable item the family owned- and leaving Poland for a better life. I also remember them toughing it out in New York under very hard and difficult conditions, making their own way financi ...more
Apr 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books of all time. My mother gave me a copy when I was a teenager and I stayed up late many nights reading under the covers long after I should have been asleep. It is a sweeping family saga full of characters you care about, and whom you will miss when you put this book back on the shelf. Anna, Paul and Joseph are real people with real flaws, a refreshing change from the perfect protagonists that Danielle Steele is famous for (and who happen to bug the heck out of me) ...more
Oct 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
There are books that may not be written with great 'literary' style, but which are nevertheless written with a talent for good, sincere storytelling. EVERGREEN is one such novel, and it belongs on a shelf with similar novels such as Colleen McCullough's THE THORN BIRDS and Rosamund Pilcher's THE SHELL SEEKERS, wonderfully entertaining family sagas spanning generations and often continents as well, peopled with colorful characters and chronicling the universal joys and sorrows of life.

There are t
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
I could see why some might like this. Sometimes you're in the mood for a long trashy wallow, and this could deliver it. Here you have nearly 700 pages of eye-straining small font about a Polish Jew, Anna, who comes to America not long after the turn of the 20th Century in the years before World War I. She starts out living with her cousin on Hester street, and I imagine many might have seen the stories of their own grandmothers and great-grandmothers in Anna when this was published. I can unders ...more
JoAnne Pulcino

Belva Plain

I'm not quite sure how I become obsessed with reviewing the "Golden Oldies"! But, I'm definitely hooked, so you can bear with me or ignore me.

EVERGREEN is a modern classic saga of the courageous immigrants who faced gigantic odds and came to America. Anna Friedman transfixes us with her passion, determination and passion. She and her family survive war, tragedy, secrets and forbidden love, bittersweet and evergreen.

A beautifully written book with a magnificent story that swee
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, favorites
I just loved this book. The characters were so real to me and getting to know each of them made me want to know more about them.
Anna, yearning for a more and better life, flees Poland to go to America. She comes to New York and moves in to live with cousin Ruth and husband, Solly Levinson, 4 children and 6 boarders. She worked sewing to make a living. She went to a school to learn more and met a wonderful teacher, Ms. Thorne. Becoming restless with sewing, Anna found a job as a maid in the home
Riccarla Roman
Nov 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
I started reading this book because I got the book "Complete Idiot's Guide The Ultimate Reading List". It was the first book on the Popular fiction list. I vaguely remembered seeing it before but it looked like my kind of book - big, juicy, multi-generational saga.
It is. Following Anna as she grows up in Europe, comes to America, and has the whole immigrant experience. Living in the poor Jewish section of New York, going to work as a maid in a wealthy household (attracting the attention of the s
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-college-years
I remember sitting on a couch by the fire in a cabin up at Lake Tahoe reading this book, for I had been asked to come along with a family in order to baby-sit their children.

It was a generational book that I picked up after reading “The Thorn Birds.” I loved it just as much, and that is all I recall, and I probably remember it because I also loved being in a cabin in the snow.
This is a beautiful story about family and generations of family, of loss of life and bringing new life to the world. It's romance, historical, literary, and all of the above, all wrapped up in this long book, which took me 2 1/2 days. A great read! I believe I saw the TV mini-series of this long time ago.
Sarah Obsesses over Books & Cookies
3.5 stars. This 700 page saga started off great. We learn of Anna who is Polish and who has heard of America (yeah i know, the age old tale of the last 100 years) and after losing both her parents and a couple of siblings she does make it there. She stays with a cousin and works for a rich family and meets Paul. But at the same time she's also dating a guy named Joseph.
She marries Joseph and starts a family but had a definite thing for Paul. She runs into him when she went to ask to borrow mone
Jamie Casey
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Belva Plain has been one of my favorite authors since my teenage years.

After reading this book again...I remembered why Belva Plain is one of my favorite authors. I HAD to get her ENTIRE collection, and read them all again, start to finish.

This one starts Anna's life/journey. Her parents migrate to the USA for a better life. The book follows her throughout her life. Her love and family bond is the most important thing to her. She'll do ANYTHING to protect it. She falls in love with a rich man,
Oct 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
One of my all-time favorite family sagas!!

We follow Anna as young girl in Poland to the US and through her long life. As time passes, you meet many different family members and get to live their experiences as well. I didn't always agree with their choices, but I thoroughly enjoyed the journey! Although this is a novel, it has some deep and insightful writing. I often found myself identifying with the thoughts and feelings of the characters. I've read this book several times, and each time I hav
May 10, 2012 rated it liked it
I selected this book based on the Goodreads recommendation as a Family Saga. Many things about this book are similar to The Thornbirds. I love sweeping stories that cover long periods of time, like ...And Ladies of the Club, Gone With the Wind, The Thornbirds, Roots, As the Crow Flies, and The House of the Spirits. While I definitely enjoyed this book, any of the aforementioned titles are more substantial and riveting reading along the same lines. Evergreen is easy to read, entertaining, but fai ...more
May 27, 2009 rated it did not like it
Okay, so when I first started this book I thought it would be an epic about the courage and spirit that comes shining through as people face the hardships that life has to offer. As it turned out it is not all that deep and has a real soap opera feel to it. Yuck, disappointment abounds. Slam! (that was the book closing in frustration) No I am not finishing it. It is a waste of time and there are good things to read all around. So it is onward for me.
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I stumbled upon this book as a teenager and stayed up many a nights to complete this book. It is one of those books that I come back to time & again. The characters are some that you end up caring about deeply ~ read this book - you will understand my stance!
Judy Howard
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Evergreen is one of my favorite books I have read. It was made into a movie a few years ago. I will pick it up and read it every once in awhile.
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Family sagas always makes for good reading. This one was not an exception. Evergreen is a big novel which is written in the backdrop of world war II. The characters are immigrants who have settled in America with a view of creating for themselves a better life. Anna Friedman is one of those people. Joseph Friedman is another. They meet in America where they fall in love and get married. In the picture, is an American known as Paul. Anna meets him while working as a maid in his mother's house. Th ...more
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a lovely historical family saga. I'm giving three starts simply because the pace is too slow for me. I ended up skimming towards the end of the book.
Apr 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5; follows a Polish girl through immigration to America, her early life here and her family. Also follows family members. Kind of long.
Jun 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, usa, jewish
A multi-generational saga beginning with Anna who comes to the States as a 17yr old from a Polish village to live in NY city with relatives. She works for a while as a servant to a wealthy family before she marries Joseph Friedman, also from an immigrant family, and they begin their life together. Joseph works hard in order to rise out of poverty to the lifestyle of the wealthy. Together they raise two children, Maury and Iris, who both go on to marry with children of their own. Then down to th ...more
Apr 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
I recall reading this book as a young teenager and I distinctly remember being captivated by it. Fast forward a few years (ahem...decades) and I'm having a hard time seeing just what was so captivating about this story. I got about 1/2 or 2/3 through before this one landed in the "life's too short" category and I moved on to more interesting selections on my to-read list.

I'm usually a real sucker for multigenerational sagas and Evergreen has a great, if slightly overdone, premise (of course, th
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An amazing book that lets you relive your childhood and anticipate your old age. In shorts, it gives you a chance to live life once more. All characters are very distinct, profound and relatable many a times. The book shows the sufferings and strength of a very strong female protagonist, Anna, and her actions (certainly not as dramatic) are clearly at par with with the principal characters of A Doll's House and Antigone ( Jean Anouilh)
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jewish
Evergreen by Belva Plain, is an epic novel starting in Poland in the 1900s and ends up in the 1960s in the United States in New York. This is book 1 of the Jewish Werner Family series. Anna is the main character and she marries one man and falls in love with another man. This is a long and intriguing book about romance, action and immigration issues.
Becky Ford
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just as good as I remember it. The first time I read this book I was 20 years old. Now at 36, I'm seeing it through more mature eyes, and I'm learning new things. Belva Plain is a master of the family saga, and this book is everything I want from this genre. I can't wait to continue reading the Werner Family Saga books.
Jul 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Read this 25 or 30 years ago and have read it at least 3 times since. I love it and it is the book that got me hooked on Belva Plain. This book is exactly the kind of historical fiction that keeps me turning pages way past my bedtime.
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Worth reading

This book was very interesting to me.I have always enjoyed reading about generations.How different people in families think & believe.It's a great book!
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great read can't wait for book 2 :)
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Belva Plain was a best-selling American author of mainstream women's fiction. Her first novel, Evergreen (1978) topped the New York Times bestseller list for 41 weeks and was made into a TV miniseries. At her death, there were over 30 million copies of her twenty-plus novels in print in 22 languages.

Other books in the series

Werner Family Saga (5 books)
  • The Golden Cup
  • Tapestry
  • Harvest
  • Heartwood
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“in that childhood room for whose warmth and safety we search all the rest of our lives and never find again.” 0 likes
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