Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Light After the War” as Want to Read:
The Light After the War
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Light After the War

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Inspired by an incredible true story of two Jewish friends who survived the Holocaust, this sweeping novel of love and friendship spans World War II from Budapest to Austria and the postwar years from Naples to Caracas, perfect for fans of The German Girl and We Were the Lucky Ones.

It is 1946 when Vera Frankel and her best friend Edith Ban arrive in Naples. Refugees from
Expected publication: February 4th 2020 by Simon Schuster Audio
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 The Light After the War, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Light After the War

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  154 ratings  ·  108 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Light After the War
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Having escaped from a train headed to Auschwitz, best friends Vera Frankel and Edith Ban spent the rest of the war working (while hiding) on a farm in Austria. When they arrive in Naples, Vera accepts a job at the United States Embassy and falls in love with her boss, Captain Anton Wight. When Anton suddenly disappears from her life, Vera and Edith get on board a ship headed for the United States and from there their lives change forever. They women arrive in Ellis Island and soon move on to ...more
Holly  B

Two young Hungarian women- Vera and Edith, escape from Auschwitz by jumping of a moving train.

Fast forward to Post War and they are both living in America. Theydecided to leave Budapest and make a new start.

The author writes that the book is inspired by her mother's life.

Loved reading about Vera and Edith and could feel their bond and friendship. I really enjoyed the book and the characters. This is more of a romance story with surprises along their world travels.

Recommend to fans of
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inspired by true events experienced by author Anita Abriel's mother, a Holocaust survivor, "The Light After the War" is the story of a fight for survival, hope and happiness. We travel with best friends Vera and Edith viewing their lives both before and after World War II. In 1944, Hitler ordered German troops to invade Hungary. Vera Frankel, Edith Ban and their mothers were herded onto a train bound for Auschwitz. Mothers Alice Frankel and Lily Ban had a plan. When the train made a stop, a ...more
Nov 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christine by: invited to read by Atria via NG
3.5 stars (rounded to 3 stars)

The Light After the War is Ms. Abriel’s debut novel. I love that it was inspired by her mother’s experiences during and after surviving the Holocaust with her best friend after both jumped from a train headed for Auschwitz.

The story is mainly about the postwar lives of Vera and her best friend Edith. The time frame is 1946-1950 when the young women were 19-23 years old with several flashbacks taking place during the war years. The tale takes us from Budapest to
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a giveaway, given by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Goodreads helps with this arrangement, so that a book can get some early press and buzz. For that reason, I am always a little afraid and quite responsible. Authors put everything into a work, hoping it will soar - and I like to help them get their stories out. Especially if they are worthy. Strong reviews are important to get the word out about a book coming to market.

I needn't have worried! I actually loved
Nov 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is yet another perfectly serviceable WWII historical romance that was lost on me. Based on the editorial, I was anticipating a story of female friendship during and after WWII. What I received was some (not all) schmaltzy writing and a love story. I think it’s time to step away from the WWII hist-fic.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Based on a true story of two friends growing up together in Budapest before WWII, surviving the war and after the war emigrating to Italy, then Americas – this novel shows what a true friendship means. A friendship tested through the hardest of possible times.

Naples, 1946. Nazis were defeated and the war was over. Now, the life is beaming with “the outdoor cafes overflowed with customers,” neighbors stop and talk to each other without any fear. “Neapolitans treat every day like a celebration.”

Oct 03, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: debut
No matter how many WWII books I read, there is always more to learn. Looking forward to this story based on the author's mother's experience.
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

Two friends who couldn’t be separated even by the war.

They escaped a train bound for Auschwitz, spent the remainder of the war working on a farm, moved to Naples, tried to settle in New York, then went to Caracas, Venezuela, and then their separate ways.

If you need an uplifting book, THE LIGHT AFTER THE WAR will fit the bill.

A truly lovely as well as a heartbreaking journey with Vera and Edith that will require tissues at times. 5/5

This book was given to me from
Kerrin Parris
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for allowing me to read and review The Light After The War by Anita Abriel. This book will be published on February 4, 2020.

This novel is based upon the true story of the author's mother (Vera) and her best friend (Edith) who both manage to jump off the train carrying them and their Jewish mothers from Budapest to Auschwitz during World War II. While distraught about leaving their mothers on the train, the teenagers are able to survive by living in a barn in
Sherry Chiger
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Maybe if you have a much greater tolerance for coincidences and del ex machina than I do, along with a higher tolerance for lackluster prose, you will enjoy this. I found it simply unbelievable from beginning to end. The cardboard characters fall in love at first sight, get over survivors' guilt with just a few games of chess with a rabbi, and find characters presumed dead thanks to the unlikeliest of circumstances. Eyes "sparkle" and characters "skip" just about every chapter. We're supposed to ...more
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Inspired by her mother's story, Anita Abriel's The Light After the War takes readers across the world following the paths of girlhood friends Vera and Edith from Budapest to escaping the Nazis and hiding out in Austria, to Italy and Venezuela.

Believing they had lost their families and loved ones, the girls try to move on with their lives after the war. Edith dreams of becoming a fashion designer and Vera had hoped to be a playwright but settles for copywriting.

The background of Jews migrating
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Somewhat predictable, but nonetheless interesting, this novel follows the lives of two friends, Edith and Vera, whose lives are saved when Vera's mother pushes them off a train bound for Auschwitz. They have their share of difficulties, and their share of good luck.

Edith is constantly searching for love, and thinks she's found it with every man she meets. Her passion is fashion and her designs continue to pave the way to success for her.

Vera lands a secretarial job at the American Embassy in
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book begins after the end of World War II with flashbacks to times before and during the war. It is the debut novel from this author and is based on her mother's life during and after the war. I read a lot of books about the WWII but have read very few about what life was like for the survivors after the war and this well written and well researched book answered a lot of the questions I had about how people worked to try to put normalcy back in their lives.

The book begins in 1946 when Vera
Joan Happel
This novel did not fulfill its promising premise. Based on the experiences of the author’s mother during WWII, The Light After the War tells the story of Vera Frankel and Edith Ban, best friends who escape from a training taking them to Auschwitz in 1944. They hid out on a farm in Austria until the end of the war and then move to Naples, Italy where they find jobs. Vera goes to work for an American officer Anton Wight and immediately the two fall in love and become engaged. When Anton backs out ...more
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love reading WWII historical fiction novels, especially when they’re based on actual events. Anita Abriel’s debut novel tells the story of two close friends and their future after their harrowing escape from the train headed to Auschwitz.
I thoroughly enjoyed the writer’s style; her colorful characters and scenery brought the streets of Naples and Caracas to life. I feel that the ease that the girls moved through their dilemmas may somewhat underplay the actual historical events of that
Cindy H.
Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing me with an ARC of The Light After the War. In exchange I offer my unbiased review.

Based on the publisher’s blurb, I was very excited to receive an ARC for this Holocaust story based and inspired on true events. As fewer and fewer survivors are left to share their stories, I believe it’s vital to keep writing and reading about their experiences. This book however was more of a post Holocaust romance, which isn’t what I connect with as a reader.
I really, really wanted to like this book. I kept reading with the hope that I would enjoy it more as I got into it, and I was so disappointed in the end when I didn’t. Disappointed because I feel that the story had so much potential, but just didn’t live up to it.

Vera and Edith are two Hungarian Jewish women from Budapest who survived the war after Vera’s mother pushes them to safety from cattle cars bound for Auschwitz. The best friends survive by hiding on an Austrian farm, and end up in
Kim Fox
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
There are many books out there about WWII. But this one is FANTASTIC!!

This is a story about two young ladies and their lives during and after the war. The author takes you back and forth thru time to tell the story of Vera and Edith, the places they go and the people who come in and out of their lives. There is happiness, sadness, despair and redemption. All things that I love in a book! I enjoyed this book so much that I will buy a copy once it come out!

I received this ebook from Edelweiss in
Kati Berman
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
The Light After the War
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I grew up In Budapest, my father was in a labor camp during the Holocaust, many of my father’s siblings perished in Auschwitz, so this book was of much interest to me. I was unfortunately greatly disappointed. This was a fairy tale at best, contrived and predictable from the very beginning. Vera and Edith are lifelong friends, they grew up In Budapest together. They both escaped from a train headed for
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book definitely left me wanting more. I was expecting a lot more historical fiction and a lot less fluffy romance. For me, the characters lacked depth and complexity. It seemed like life just happened to them because they were pretty girls. Things just fell on their laps and worked out one way or the other for unknown reasons. Some expressions seemed out of place "a room bigger than a football field". Was this a common expression for 1940s European teen girls? Some situations could have ...more
Corlyn (Riverside Reader)
Thank you to Net Galley and Atria Publishing for a digital ARC of this book.

Based on a true story of the author's mother's survival during the Holocaust and her life after, this novel is a different approach to historical fiction. It is unclear which parts of the story are true and which are embellished for the reader, however, the story kept me engaged until the end. The story is about friendship, love, loss, survival and determination.
Tessa Karrington
Giant thank you to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for an ARC of this book! I absolutely loved getting to know Edith and Vera. Their voices throughout the book were very unique and gave me a good sense of who they were. I felt that Vera’s love story was too predictable for about 2/3 of the book, but won’t say more so I don’t spoil it. Excited to hear what others think of the book! 3.5 stars.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed reading this fascinating and moving story about two Jewish teenage girl friends who were able to escape from the train they were on that was headed for Auschwitz and what happened to them in the immediate years following the war. The story was based on the author's mother's experience. I was interested in reading a post WWII story. I think this would be a good book club choice. Thanks to Net Galley and Atria Books for an advanced eBook copy to read.
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Light After The War" was inspired by a true story. This is the story of Eva and Vera two Jewish best friends, who grew up basically as sisters and what happens to them after WWII. There are sections where they are taken back to what happened during the war, but this is about what happened after. This book was good. I liked reading about what happened to the characters after the war. I haven't read a historical fiction book from that perspective yet, most are during the war. It gives you a ...more
Susan Peterson
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a compelling account of two Hungarian women, following their lives in the aftermath of WWII. I was fascinated by the fact that the story was based on the author’s mother’s story. Vera was a fascinating character, strong and brave, naive and determined. This book was a real page-turner that I read in just a few hours!
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sweet story of survival and love after World War 2. Great read! It is nice to see Anita Hughes nice writing as Anita Abriel. This is loosely the story of Anita's mother after World War II.
Kim McGee
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
Best friends Edith and Vera escape a train bound for Auschwitz and end up hiding out on an Austrian farm until the end of the war. After they end up in Naples and one of them finds work with a handsome American diplomat their future looks rosy. A missed chance at love sends the girls to New York only to end up in South America. Based on a true story from the experiences of the author's mother it is a very lucky story for two young women destined to be another of the war's casualties. It seemed a ...more
I believe that Ms. Abriel did something important; she researched and shared her family history within its historical context. The context, of course, was the Holocaust and this is always a challenging, but unavoidable, piece of the story. And, I give her a lot of credit for taking this deeply personal journey and sharing it with an unknown audience.

That being said, I found this to be nothing more than a romance novel: girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl finds boy, and they presumably live
Nov 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

2.5 but rounding up.

Based on the true story of how the author's mother survived World War II. Thankfully not the usual Holocaust story. BUT.

Two young women, best friends from Budapest, arrive in Naples determined to start a new life after losing their family members to the Holocaust. Vera, wants to be a playwright. She works at the American Embassy and falls in love with her boss, Anton Wight [oy]. Edith, the more flighty of
« previous 1 3 4 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: The Light After the War - Anita Abriel, 4 stars 2 8 Dec 30, 2019 11:30AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Whispers of War
  • בית על מים רבים
  • Lady Clementine
  • Big Lies in a Small Town
  • All the Ways We Said Goodbye
  • Darling Rose Gold
  • Cartier's Hope
  • The New Husband
  • The Holdout
  • The Jane Austen Society
  • Paris Never Leaves You
  • In Five Years
  • You Are Not Alone
  • The Words I Never Wrote
  • The Yellow Bird Sings
  • Writers & Lovers
  • The Queen's Fortune: A Novel of Desiree, Napoleon, and the Dynasty That Outlasted the Empire
  • A Hundred Suns
See similar books…
Anita Abriel was born in Sydney, Australia. She received a BA in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from Bard College. She lives in California with her family and is the author of The Light After the War which was inspired by her mother’s story of survival during WWII.