The Red Thread (Level 4 Press, 2021)
By Rebekah Pace
“A red thread connects soulmates, linking them forever so they can always find one another…
The cord may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.”
Kimber here. You know Mom and I read a lot of historical fiction. Think truckloads. We’ve read so much historical fiction lately, we were getting kinda burnt out on it. Especially WWII-ish historical fiction. So when we were asked to read and review The Red Thread, we weren’t exactly turning cartwheels. In fact, we were kind of reluctant to take it on.
This book surprised us. Big time. Here’s why:
A Chinese proverb. A gold locket on a red silk cord. A backyard apple tree. A World Atlas with a red crayon “X.” Evening in Paris cologne. A toy airplane. An ageless love spanning memories, dreams, and 75 years.
Sometimes “the truest things are strange, and the strangest things are true.”
The Red Thread isn’t your average historical-fiction-set-in-WWII-ish kinda book. It has a Somewhere In Time meets Doctor Zhivago and enters The Twilight Zone kind of vibe. Superlative writing propels a plot filled with intrigue, mystery, and romance in this captivating blend of historical fiction, travel, memory, and fantasy.
“… trust the power of the red thread to reunite you.”
Holocaust survivor Peter Ibbetz has spent the last seventy-plus years living as a veritable recluse in his New Jersey apartment. He settled there after being liberated from Birkenau concentration camp after the war.
Buried deep inside his haunted past are memories of his childhood sweetheart, Mira. And the day she disappeared from Theresienstadt Ghetto. When Mira suddenly starts appearing in Peter’s dreams, he feels compelled to find her. As he sets out to find his long-lost love, Peter re-engages with a world that has pretty much passed him by.
Told in the first person, the story glides between the past – 1940s Germany – and the present – 2019 New Jersey. Peter has spent most of his life and post-war time hiding. But in his dreams, time doesn’t move forward in a straight line. It “loops and coils” and touches other points in time. Manipulated in this way, can time reunite two people who’d been separated, but belong together?
Swirling throughout the narrative are additional time-related questions: What if one of the most destructive chapters of history was erased? What if there were no Nuremburg Laws? No Kristallnacht? No Adolf Hitler? What if “eleven million civilians and twenty million members of the military” had not died as a result of war? Oy vey!
In this dream world where time can be manipulated, Peter and Mira set out on an epic adventure across Europe. But they are stalked by a dark presence. How long can Peter keep it at bay?
There is power in the telling.
Searing & Gripping
Searing in its scope and emotionally gripping, this epic love story is both tragic and triumphant. “Love does not end. It goes on for all time.” (I’d bring tissue ‘fize you. Maybe a whole box.)
Mom: I wasn’t sure what to make of this book at first. Fantasy and fairy tales mixed with the Holocaust seem like a strange combination. But Pace makes it work. Masterfully. With plenty of tugs at the hearts string along the way. Bonus points: With great sensitivity and insight, the story adeptly captures how bewildering and intimidating the modern world and techno-gadgetry can be for those who came of age in another era. Additionally, every story arc is neatly tucked in. No dangling loose ends.
Mom again: I usually read one book right after another. As soon as I put one title down, I’m reaching for the next. I couldn’t do that with The Red Thread. I wanted to give it time. Mull it over. Savor it. Like a fine wine. Or listening to Muss I Denn:
Kimber: Well. Her Momness is doing that googly-eyed thing again. So I’m doing today’s book rating. Like this: