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Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  172 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Cordelia is disabled and painfully shy but none of that matters when a stranger desperately needs her help. Shaken out of a routine that centers on caring for her odd family in Warsaw--her father is an academic with no life skills, her brother never leaves the villa, and her mother has dementia--she is forced to act. Zaremba, a wealthy businessman, is fleeing arrest when ...more
Kindle Edition, 519 pages
Published January 28th 2013 (first published January 12th 2013)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
So I've decided to finally write the review for this book. It took me a while to get to it, but it's just cause I wanted to do it justice. And not just cause of that.. I'd prefer not to write a review at all, because this is one of those books that become a personal part of you, and you don't really want to share it.

This book has been lying on my bedside table for many months - many months too long, to be honest. But it's just that the cover is so misleading.. I didn't know what was inside. A
...more
Andrea
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fiction
I loved the descriptions of all the characters, especially Cordelia and Zaremba. The dialogue between them is what made the book. I was afraid when it seemed the story was coming to an end....but I was only halfway through the book! I just knew that it would drag on and I would end up hating it by the end. However, it turns out that there's two parts to the books and each is its own story. It could technically be two separate books, but it does work better as one book with two parts.

I also
...more
Shivaji Das
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part love story, part road-trip, part mystery novel, Zaremba's story is essentially a story of the terrible potential consequences of unchecked state power on otherwise detached individuals, minding their own business. The writer, Michelle Granas, centres her plot around two realities of Poland in the recent past, the vengeful excesses of the Law and Justice Party rule and the secretive operations of the CIA in Poland. The two characters suffering from these powers are Zaremba, a street-smart ...more
K.N.
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's rare to find a book to whole-heartedly recommend. The outstanding quality of Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law is its charm and warmth. From the moment it began I enjoyed the setting and all the characters. The first half of the book involves a political situation in Poland, but then the second half brings in the interference of the CIA. I might have thought this far-fetched at one time, but now such events are in the news. The book is not a political thriller, however. It's more for ...more
Kelley
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Novel received courtesy of the author, review was optional

I enjoyed this novel immensely! "Zaremba" is a novel of political intrigue as well as a love story. Cordelia meets Darek Zaremba briefly when she applies for a job with his development company. Because the Polish government is so full of corruption, Zaremba is accused of bribing an official as part of a business deal. By this time Cordelia and Zaremba are in love and he is in hiding at her family home. Her family is eccentric and
...more
Steve
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zaremba (whose first name is rarely used), is a businessman in Poland in around 2007. Through two very different events, he meets Cordelia, (whose last name is rarely used). Their qualities are very different, he a robust, outgoing successful man who is soon facing difficulties with the political infrastructure, she, a physically disabled homebody of meek means and conservative lifestyle. They do share several things, among them a reluctance to express their genuine emotions and a strong core of ...more
Felicity Terry
A debut novel from author Michelle Granas which, once I'd got used to the wonderful but highly implausible idea of thirty plus polio survivor Cordelia with her withered leg and hand as the most unlikeliest of action heroines ...... ever, I quite enjoyed.

Though essentially a story of politics played dirty, of corruption in high places, of the abuse of power, if like me you aren't a huge fan of this genre please don't dismiss this quirky novel out of hand as Zeremba has much more to offer.

A
...more
Harry Allagree
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful love story! It deals with real life & people on so many levels in modern Poland: able bodied/physically challenged; wealthy/poor; values/lack of values; law/disorder, especially in the area of politics. Many elements of Granas' novel are similar to her other book, "Swans Are Fat Too". The rather unusual relationship which develops between Cordelia & Dariusz/Darek in the midst of almost fantastical social circumstances is quite intriguing & is an eloquent ...more
Enid L.  Lapham
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Love changes everything

Cornelia may have always been content to remain unobserved. All the pity, stares and uncomfortable questions. But she would do anything for her parents, so could go for help even though she struggled. Zaremba saw past the weakened limbs and crutch to the beauty. Their love strengths not only Cornelia, but her family. The struggle with guns government agencies kept me reading. I liked the bits of Polish included.
Maureen
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book deserves more readers. Sort of a modern day retelling of Sleeping Beauty if you look at it from Cordelia's POV. It is a darker tale from Zaremba's side which calls to mind how people are being tried by the media here in the US these days. A darkly comic fairy tale for adults, happy ending included. I really enjoyed it.
Judie
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved the first part of this book. It was different and intriguing with some wonderful characters. The second part left me cold. The story seemed absurd and I lost interest.
Beatrix
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I got an email from the author some time ago, she asked me whether I’d be interested in this novel. The book seemed interesting – I was mostly intrigued by the strange incongruity between the title and the plot outline: the title sounded like that of an 18th century novel (the novels of Henry Fielding and Samuel Richardson came to my mind), but the blurb revealed that the book is set in the 21st century, and the plot seemed modern and „serious” enough. Actually – I was wondering whether it’s ...more
Kara
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I entered a number of contests on Goodreads in attempt to win Michelle Granas's novel Zaremba -- or Love and the Rule of Law because the book seemed like one that would be highly likely to prove a valuable, worthwhile read. On the other hand, I didn't expect it would be a real stand-out among novels I've read on the whole.

Eventually, when I was about to lose all hope regarding my luck in this matter and stop looking for the giveaways -- which only take a few moments to enter, I found myself the
...more
Laura (Book Scrounger)
This was an interesting read. I first saw it on Goodreads, and didn't realize it was self-published until I got it. Self-published works can really be hit or miss sometimes, but in this case the text looked like it was well edited, so I wasn't constantly being distracted by typos like I am with some self-published books -- definite plus.

This book is difficult to categorize, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's sort of a love story, but also a bit of a mystery, but probably more
...more
Deb
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I started reading the book, I was really drawn by its main character, Cordelia. Cordelia is a strong young woman who is supporting most of her family through her work as a translator. She was disfigured by polio as a child and can’t walk without a crutch, and this has clearly had devastating effects on her sense of self-worth, yet she’s taken on not only the financial burdens of her family, but the emotional ones as well. Her mother suffers from severe dementia and needs round the clock care. ...more
Linda Fagioli-Katsiotas
Good writing is good writing! And that’s what this book is—first and foremost. For that reason, Zaremba has a place on my “madly in love with” shelf. The story takes us on a wild ride of love and suspense. The characters are delightful, the action and dialogue perfect. Part one of the book pulls you in and then you stay for Part two because you are completely in love with the characters. The overall theme, on many layers, is the moral dilemma that humanity grapples with in the incidences of ...more
Angeliki
Some time ago I received a message from the author of this book asking me whether I would be interested in it, so she sent me a copy. Michelle Granas is a self published writer worthy of our attention.

The book is divided in two parts that differ from each other. The first part is more slow-paced and more concerned around the life of Cordelia, a polio victim and Darek, a strong and capable businessman involved in politics and gives the space for the relationship between the two protagonists to be
...more
Darlene Cruz
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the descriptive narrative of Poland's ways of life, apples fell to the ground added their ripe scent to the air. Always noises of someone working on their home or farm, hammering or sawing or mowing or running power tools, or rounded older women passed on squeaky bicycles.
Cordelia a life, a complacent life despite her physical disability she managed to be the head of the household of her family. Cordelia accidentally meets a man when her car gets in a situation where help is needed.
...more
Cheryl
Oct 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about Poland, but the way it reads, reminds me of some Indian or Afghan or Russian writing, perhaps because the heroine takes a 'what will be, will be' view of the world. In spite of this, she muddles along, doing what she thinks is right. For example, on her way to a job interview, she nearly gets killed rescuing a mongrel from traffic; then, not knowing what to do with it, she takes it to the interview in her ruined hose and muddied suit.

In a way, this is a Cinderella story. The
...more
Sharon
May 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Michelle Granas has written a sophisticated literary novel with a special turn of phrase and tone. Cordelia, the main character, is an intelligent young woman, saddled with an odd, mentally ill and aging, but harmless family. She's taken responsibility for all of them and is the "mother figure". During a mishap, she and her father meet a man briefly who helps them out. As happens in life, coincidence brings the man into her life again under different circumstances.

Corrupt politics in a
...more
Anna Anjos
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite thing about the book is probably the humor in the conversations between Cordelia and other protagonists, deep, elegant and philosophical.

Cordelia is not a likeable personage, in my opinion, at least not at first, despite all her good intentions and high morals. She is stuck and does not even notice it, her recent 10 years were the same activities, routine, boredom and hardly any development. She is a person of sacrifice, to her family, to society and possibly to moral. She does not
...more
Sarah
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fans
Shelves: adult-fiction
[Won through first reads.]

Before starting this book, I did not really know what to expect. The synopsis sounded interesting, but, with a main character who is very different from your average novel heroine, it only remained to be seen whether the author hadn't put too much emphasis on the disability of Cordelia. Luckily, this was not the case at all - sure, her disability plays a role, but it is in no way the centre of the story. Don't get me wrong - a disabled main character is not something
...more
Carolyn
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was initially drawn to this book because I share the surname in the title. The author sent me a free copy last spring but I didn't really start reading it until last week.

I must say at the outset that I really dislike the female protagonist. I don't find her believable as a 21st century adult in her 30s. The fact that she has a physical disability doesn't explain how she can be so ignorant of the world, when she has the internet and television and is supposedly educated. Her sexual immaturity
...more
Lianne
I received a review copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Zaremba is a charming novel despite of some of the serious themes that the story touches on: issues of corruption, political systems, black ops, bureaucracy and trust in government. The charm lies in the characters and their interactions. Cordelia was a great character; she’s led a fairly sheltered and secluded life but isn’t afraid to stand her ground, especially when things get mad. I enjoyed her rapport
...more
Mary Hosmar
This intriguing novel, set in modern-day Poland, recounts the tale of a shy, handicapped young lady and the suave, modern building contractor who owe each other their freedom, and possible their life.
During the course of the tale, we learn much about politics and the dangers of a repressive state, something which resonates in today’s increasingly restrictive culture as more of the unrestricted freedoms we take for granted are being pared away. And Ms. Granas manages to relay all this in a
...more
Kathleen
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a terrific read! This book has a lot going on: it's a love story, a story of a woman's coming out of her shell and living up to her potential, and also a political thriller. The book is set during the time period when the PiS party, which is also currently the ruling party in Poland, was in power the first time, and in part, it is a commentary on how politicians can claim to be restoring the rule of law while doing just the opposite. It's not only a commentary about Polish politics, but ...more
Elise Darcy
May 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a well crafted story set against the backdrop of political corruption and
abuse of power in Poland.

It is essentially a love story played out between two very different characters which makes it such a compelling read.

Disfigured by polio as a child Cordelia is responsible for the well being of her immediate family. An ageing academic father, a brother who rarely goes out in public and her mother who is suffering from bouts of mental instability. Cordellia becomes involved with Zaremba, a
...more
Kim
Mar 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law is the story of a shy polio victim who spends her life taking care of her rather odd family. Over a unique course of events she becomes involved with a man who is running from the law. She has to decide whether she believes him that the charges are baseless, or believes the state propaganda machines.

The first half of this book completely captivated me and I couldn't stop recommending it to everyone I talked to. As the book progressed however it became less
...more
Beth
I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway.
Despite its length, this was one of those books that I was reluctant to put down as soon as I started reading it.I look forward to recommending it to friends who appreciate quiet, rich storytelling in modern fiction. The setting and characters were unusual, but mesmerizing. The story unfolded slowly at first, but was not tedious. In fact, the pacing allowed time for the beauty of the writing to shine through. I felt a range of emotions towards the
...more
Nanci de Suffren
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This is a definite roller coaster, thought provoking story. This is one of those edge of your seat kind of stories that is more than a little uncomfortably close to what many must agree is close to the reality of international espionage.

This is not a spy story. It is a story of what secret policing agencies do in the name of national security and defending the interests of their countries. It is those interests and the lack of policing and accountability of those agencies that makes this a
...more
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Michelle Granas lives in Warsaw. In addition to writing novels, she has worked as a translator, including for various international organizations, EU bodies, and high government officials. She is happy to receive correspondence or friend requests.