The Girl They Left Behind: A Novel by Roxanne VeletzosThe Girl They Left Behind: A Novel by Roxanne Veletzos

The Girl They Left Behind: A Novel

byRoxanne Veletzos

Paperback | October 30, 2018

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A sweeping family saga and love story that offers a vivid and unique portrayal of life in war-torn 1941 Bucharest and life behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet Union occupation—perfect for fans of Lilac Girls and Sarah’s Key.

On a freezing night in January 1941, a little Jewish girl is found on the steps of an apartment building in Bucharest. With Romania recently allied with the Nazis, the Jewish population is in grave danger, undergoing increasingly violent persecution. The girl is placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by a wealthy childless couple who name her Natalia. As she assimilates into her new life, she all but forgets the parents who were forced to leave her behind. They are even further from her mind when Romania falls under Soviet occupation.

Yet, as Natalia comes of age in a bleak and hopeless world, traces of her identity pierce the surface of her everyday life, leading gradually to a discovery that will change her destiny. She has a secret crush on Victor, an intense young man who as an impoverished student befriended her family long ago. Years later, when Natalia is in her early twenties and working at a warehouse packing fruit, she and Victor, now an important official in the Communist regime, cross paths again. This time they are fatefully drawn into a passionate affair despite the obstacles swirling around them and Victor’s dark secrets.

When Natalia is suddenly offered a one-time chance at freedom, Victor is determined to help her escape, even if it means losing her. Natalia must make an agonizing decision: remain in Bucharest with her beloved adoptive parents and the man she has come to love, or seize the chance to finally live life on her own terms, and to confront the painful enigma of her past.
Title:The Girl They Left Behind: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9 × 6.12 × 1 inPublished:October 30, 2018Publisher:Atria BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1982109173

ISBN - 13:9781982109172

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Haunting, compelling & engrossing! THE GIRL THEY LEFT BEHIND by ROXANNE VELETZOS is a fascinating, captivating, and deeply moving historical fiction novel inspired by true events of the author’s mother. The way that the story unfolds is so powerful, poignant and so delicately and beautifully written that easily held my attention. My absolute favourite historical fiction novels are ones based on true events. Just knowing that is always deeply affecting and brings out these intense feelings that I have for the storyline, characters and setting. It just makes me that much more appreciative and transfixed in the story being told. ROXANNE VELETZOS delivers an absolutely beautiful and lovely written story here with compelling and strong characters, a harrowing and vivid setting, and an intimate and heartfelt storyline. The author did a wonderful job at fully immersing me into this story and the characters lives. It was heartwarming and also heartbreaking to read and at one point it gave me goosebumps all over. I absolutely love it when a story produces so many different emotions and reactions from me. I was totally fascinated with the photos that were included in this book and looked at them many times while I was reading this book. Norma’s Stats: Cover: Eye-catching, hauntingly beautiful, intriguing, impactful and an excellent representation to storyline. Title: The title immediately intrigued me and is such a moving, effective and extremely fitting representation to storyline. Writing/Prose: Well-written, poetic, eloquent, vivid, fluent, gorgeous and captivating. Absolutely loved the writing-style! Plot: Engrossing, emotional, descriptive, thought-provoking, interesting, heartfelt, fast-paced, and entertaining. Ending: Tender, loving, touching, and bittersweet that gave me goosebumps. Overall: This was an absolutely stunning historical fiction novel and one that I won’t soon forget! Would highly recommend!
Date published: 2018-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must Read WOW. So current and yet written about the past. Gut wrenching, difficult to read at times, however important to remember because this is repeating around the world today. A real eye opener.
Date published: 2018-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A riveting novel of the past that speaks to today A huge thank you to #NetGalley and #Simon&Schuster for granting me my wish and allowing me to read this book. I finished it yesterday and have thought a lot about it since then. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. I have read many books that are set in the time period of the Second World War. In many ways it was a time period that shaped my life as my parents and relatives lived through it (except for a few) and it affected them in ways that trickled down to my generation. This story in this fact-inspired novel began during the war but continued on afterwards to a time period that I do remember living through and though it was set in the past, the story told resonates deeply with what I see happening around us in this present era as well. The story begins in Romania. I haven't read a lot about the war in Romania so I found it fascinating to discover what life was like for the people there at that time. In 1941 during the time of the Bucharest pogrom, a young Jewish couple escape from their home while the local police are waiting to take them away. In order to survive themselves and offer a better chance of survival to their young daughter, they are forced to leave her out on the streets. She is found by a caring woman who takes her to a local orphanage and eventually Natalia (as she is called) is adopted by a well to do young couple (Despina and Anton). Despina and Anton were unable to have children of their own and Natalias's entrance into their lives brought them tremendous joy. The incredible incapacitating grief of Natalia's parents at their loss is well described. It was hard to read at times because I could identify as a parent with the huge sense of loss they would have to have been feeling and yet Natalia blossomed over the next few years and life was good until the war came directly to Bucharest and the bombs began to fall. This story took me through so many high's and lows. Extremely well written, it is dark in tone at times because the war was dark and life was not easy and when the war ended, life did not go back to what it had been before. As the Russians took over Despina and Anton lost pretty much everything they owned except their lives and their daughter. Even their lives were at stake at times. Throughout, their love for their adopted daughter was so great that they were willing to sacrifice themselves on her behalf. I was crying as I finished reading the book - tears of sadness and tears of happiness, and in the author's after posts I discovered that much of this was the real life story of her grand-parent's who adopted a young girl during the war. There are wonderful photograph's that put faces to their names. What stood out to me in this book was the depth of love that both of Natalia's sets of felt for her and showed her. There are parents in our world right now who are forced to give their children up as they try to escape to a better place. Sometimes it ends well - sometimes it doesn't. The lessons shared in this book are ones that we need to take to heart and remember. Natalia could be any one of us. Thanks to Roxanne Veletzos for putting this story to paper.
Date published: 2018-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Evocative, absorbing, and incredibly affecting! The Girl They Left Behind is a powerful, riveting tale that sweeps you into a country ravaged and oppressed by war and then forced to endure economic instability, political upheaval, social injustice, and lack of freedoms under Stalinist rule. The prose is poetic and enchanting. The characters are multi-layered, resilient, and vulnerable. And the plot, set in Romania during the mid-1900s, is a profoundly moving tale about war, familial relationships, heartbreak, loss, guilt, grief, suspicion, desperation, resilience, courage, coming of age, and hope. Overall, The Girl They Left Behind is the perfect blend of historical facts, compelling fiction, and palpable emotion. It’s a beautifully written story that is nostalgic, heart-wrenching, and impactful and does a remarkable job of highlighting not only the indomitable spirit of humanity to endure, survive, conquer, and even love under even the most atrocious of circumstances but also Veletzos’ passion for her maternal heritage.
Date published: 2018-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Time well spent! f you like a good story set during WWII, then this is the book for you. Set in Romania, 1941 the Jewish population was now being targeted, Natalia was left on the doorstep of a building by her parents who feared for their very survival. Anton and Despina wanted for nothing, except a child. They adopt Natialia and give her a good life. Then Romania is taken over by the Russians and becomes a communist country. The struggles of this family and others will show you what it was like to live with first the Nazi's and then the Russians. Its based on the author's own family. It will grab you and not let go. It makes you wonder if this was your life would you survive? Would you have hope or just live in despair? A great book like this makes you ask those questions. Thank you Roxanne for sharing your families story!
Date published: 2018-10-20