Reviews for The Golden Peacock
By Sandra Vattimo on July 22, 2018
This well-written book took a different path when weaving her story. Many books are published telling of the horrors of the Holocaust. The concentration camps. The mutilation. The showers. Jews lived their nightmare until exhaling a final breath.
This story, however, is written from the view of an author trying to create a new story. Her inspiration came in the form of a long-forgotten Holocaust survivor card. Serendipity led her to England and straight into the arms of a story more fascinating than she could have imagined.
The survivor, Jana, was but a child as Hitler invaded country after country. Imprisoning or slaughtering all who opposed him. No Jew was safe. Children were shot by Nazis just as quickly as adults and the elderly.
There was a single saving grace. A place where she, and others like her, would be safe.
This is the story of Jana and how she survived hell.
By Tam M. Williams on June 11, 2018
When I started reading this book it was not my typical read. I like mysteries, but the subject was not one I normally pick. I have a hard time reading about such gut renching topics. The Holocaust is so devastating a subject, that I had to stop after a few chapters (not that this book was too graffic, just hard because I put myself into the characters). But I picked it up again and then couldn't put it down. The characters were strong and relatable. The story was very well writen, and my favorite...a happy ending!
By kimmyschemy06 on May 30, 2018
This is a touching, inspiring and suspenseful novel that depicts the horrors of the Holocaust. The book portrays not only prejudice and discrimination but also a person's sense of self-preservation, strength of character and the unimaginable will to survive while hanging on to a sliver of hope that he/she would be reunited with his/her loved one somewhere somehow.
By Sherry Fundin on May 16, 2018
The Golden Peacock by Lauren B Grossman is so much more than I expected and the surprise ending is one I could never have foreseen.
The story bounces between Nazi Germany in the late 30s, early 40s and 1997. Running from Nazi Germany to Amsterdam, Holland to London, England, Rainee is always hiding, in some fashion.
Rainee will meet Jana and her life will be changed forever. Secrets will be exposed.
The combination of the Holocaust, adoption, Alzheimer and dementia, nursing homes, rape…Lauren B Grossman handles these subjects with grace…And when Rainee shares a little something with Mr Wickam…well, I loved it and even managed to smile.
I read along thinking I knew what the book was offering, and I love that Lauren surprised me with a couple tricks she pulled out of her bag. I was left with bittersweet thoughts of a well crafted novel that will make me more open to checking out books that I would normally pass by.
I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of The Golden Peacock by Lauren B Grossman.
By ePen on May 6, 2018
The Golden Peacock tells the story of Jana Ludken, a young German Jewish girl who was able to escape the horrors of concentration camps after she was shipped to an adoptive family, but it also meant she was separated from her brother, Max. This was not only a physical separation, as Jana was also forced to relinquish her Jewish identity. In many ways, this is a novel about identity- how identity can shift and change and whether experiences or family history shape who you are. I’m not going to give anything away, but one of my favorite parts of the story took place when Jana was forced to leave Max, and he used their favorite childhood song to comfort her.
“Do not be stubborn, my Golden Peacock.You will always carry being Jewish inside of you.”
The other part of the narrative takes place fifty years in the future, in 1997, when Rainee, an aspiring author, decides to explore the past while in search of a new book idea. These two narratives are interwoven, with one told from Jana’s perspective and the other from Renee’s. The combination of these perspectives adds significant dimension to the novel, although I felt in some ways the narratives were unbalanced. While Jana’s narrative, which is in first person, is told with great detail and emotion, I found Rainee’s to be less so. That being said, she was still an engaging character. I just wish I could have learned more about her background as well as her goals and aspirations. For instance, why was she so willing to delve into the mystery of Dr. Martin’s family?
For me, the most engaging and memorable character was Jana. I loved reading about her struggles and triumphs as she was put in a situation no child should ever have to be in- being forcibly separated from her family. Jana’s narrative really reinforces that this is not about the specific experiences endured by Holocaust survivors but rather a story about trauma and how trauma can reemerge and manifest itself in many ways throughout one’s life.
The ending of the story was certainly bittersweet and left me with an emotional punch in the gut. In fact, I had to physically put the book down and take a deep breath because so many emotions were running through my head. However, the ending also left me feeling hopeful, as Jana’s story demonstrated the power of human relationships. Despite the premise of the story, this is not a book about the Holocaust. Unlike Night Or Rena’s Promise, the Golden Peacock does not center around specific details or even the fight for survival that took place within concentration camps. Rather, this is a story of the aftermath of the Holocaust- not the immediate aftermath, but the effects that manifested years and even decades later and continue to impact the characters today. While this novel is mainly about trauma, it is also about relationships and the power of love and human connection that transcends the barriers of time.
By Deborah J. on April 27, 2018
Lauren Grossman has given us a thoughtful, well researched and provocative novel about love, longing and family. This is not just another book covering the challenging subject of the Holocaust but a sensitive look into the nature of the effects on the lives of those who lived through these times and on those who came after. Save some time to read this because you will not want to put it down.
By Monroe Starr, Blogger on April 19, 2018
After reading this book, I was left wondering why it wasn’t on the New York Times Bestseller List. I was blown away by the amount of research and passion that went into this book. In addition, the writing is beautifully done. In my opinion, Grossman’s novel is criminally underrated. This is the kind of book I would like to see adapted to the big screen someday.
One of the most powerful scenes in this book is when Max leaves Jana’s side by order of the Nazis. He says, “Do not be stubborn, my proud golden peacock.” I love authors like Grossman for scenes like this. Another favorite line in this book is, “Images of my past life have started to blur into a mixture of muted colors.” In my opinion, these are marks of powerful literature.
Overall, I really enjoyed Grossman’s novel. I don’t have any constructive criticism to provide. I thought the novel was well-written and researched thoroughly. A lot of hard work, thought, and passion went into this. I applaud Grossman. She most certainly deserves any recognition she receives.
By Anne M. on March 21, 2018
I cannot emphasize how much I enjoyed this book. It certainly wasn’t perfect (I’ll get into my minor criticisms later), but the plot was one of the most moving I have found in years. It is rare a book can bring me to tears, and yet this ending did. I’m not ashamed to admit that.
Most of the book is separated between Rainee’s life in 1997 and Jana’s life from the 1930s to 1950s. Honestly, I was not a fan of Rainee’s first chapters. They felt cliqued: an author experiencing writer’s block who turns to a person’s picture (in this case ID) to find inspiration. However, Jana’s early (extremely emotional) chapters kept me intrigued. And the plot only got better.
I won’t address the mystery too much, either in this section or my spoiler section, but suffice it to say that I did not see the later plot twists coming. And that final plot twist practically threw me out of my chair (actually, I was reading on the floor…so I guess I was lucky).
I liked the majority of the characters. Like I said, Rainee seemed a little cliqued to me in the beginning, but she really grew on me later on. She was such a sympathetic, but strong character, as was Jana herself.
The writing was extremely minimalistic (thus why this book is under three hundred pages). There were times I wanted to know more about a certain topic, but most of the time I found the description gave enough information without being boring. I skim books…a lot, but with this one I rarely had to do that, thanks to the tight writing.
I loved how Grossman tied in The Golden Peacock, the traditional song Max (Jana’s brother) had changed the words to match Jana better, throughout the book.
One small complaint I have, which has nothing to do with the story, is the cover. The cover just looks unappealing and does not stand out to me. Though, considering this is an indie book and I doubt the author is a graphic designer, I cannot fault the book for that.
I was pleasantly surprised about the ending. It was a bit bittersweet, but for the most part it was a happy ending.
By Jordan S. on December 5, 2017
The Golden Peacock is a well written historical fiction based on World War II and the Holocaust. You can tell that this author spent a lot of time researching the topic. The amount of backstory and historical accuracy is great. The overall plot is very well done. The author has combined the pain of seeing someone lose their fight with Alzheimer’s, with the sad, yet brave, story of escaping the holocaust. One of the main characters, Jana, is a very well-developed character that escaped the holocaust and ended up in England as a child. She is presently in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer’s, as a reporter carefully collects her stories and tries to carry on her legacy through writing. The book is very well written with great plot twists throughout, and a very well-designed ending. Definitely a must read!
By F. Jandrey on November 25, 2017
The Golden Peacock tells the tale of two women, American Rainee Allen, an author searching for inspiration for her next, long overdue novel, and Jana Lutken, a Holocaust survivor with dementia who is living in a nursing home in London. The women are bound by a shared birthday and an old souvenir from the U.S. Holocaust Museum. Jana shares her tragic past with Rainee and the two develop a close friendship. As a consequence, Rainee finds both love and danger at the hands of Nazi hunters, or are they Nazi sympathizers?
In the Golden Peacock, Lauran B. Grossman deftly juxtaposes past and present to tell a riveting story, with strong, well-drawn characters. The suspense builds until the final, satisfying conclusion.
By L.C. on November 9, 2017
I enjoyed the author's well-crafted story that grabbed my attention from the first page. I couldn't sleep after reading about the truly horrific events in Jana's youth, but I appreciated the plot twist and the smooth ending. I look forward to reading Grossman's next novel!
GOODREADS REVIEW: Ramcy Diek, Author rated it. It was amazing
This is a book I really enjoyed. I read it on my Kindle, picking it up when I couldn't sleep, and finding myself reading for hours while my husband slept next to me.
The story takes you back to the horrible time during the second world war, and the acts of inhumanity against the Jewish people.
Lauren was able to bring all the characters to live, and even make me sympathize with the evil nazi. Now that is an accomplishment.
This is the second book I read from Lauren, and I have to recommend reading this one, and her first novel "Once in Every Generation".
By Sweet Treats on July 25, 2017
Great story. I enjoyed The Golden Peacock emensly, it has a twist you can't see coming! I highly recommend it!!!
ByDaVinci on July 23, 2017
Totally new take on a common subject matter. Love the two story lines and how they intermingled. Great read. Have recommended The Golden Peacock to many people.
By LB Ron June 2, 2017
I loved this book; it's been a long time since I was both intrigued and entertained by a novel. I was surprised by the movement from sort of a historical format to a fast-moving action story. It was clear that the author put a lot of work into researching the history and culture of both WWII-era Europe and recent-era UK, and she did an excellent job blending the two into side-by-side stories that led to one singular story.
For part of the book, mostly the first third, I felt as if the writing style/level was for young adults. The sentences tend to be less complex and there's not a whole lot of lyrical language; in fact, there's mostly dialogue. But later the subject matter and language progress to include some intense subjects in Jana's past, which brought me to tears. There was some stuff that I wasn't sure needed to be there, like a sudden, gratuitous sex scene and out-of-character profanity, but I let it slide because the story was so interesting and I found this to be a "page turner" with a cool ending. I will be recommending this book for sure.
By Terri Parsons on May 22, 2017
Rainee is an award winning novelist who has writer's block. After finding an ID card from the Holocaust museum, she intrigued by a woman who had the same birthday as her and decided to track her down and learn her story. Jana is a German Jew who fled the Holocaust via the Kindertransport from The Netherlands and was fostered by a family on an English farm. Rainee meets with her and discovers she has Alzheimers and is in a nursing home. She then finds out information from the past that endangers them in the present.
This was a remarkable read, going from Rainee in 1997 and Jana's past as a child. It involves Nazi hunters and those groups who protect Nazis in hiding. Very engrossing and emotional.
By Donna Whistler on April 17, 2017
Well structured and kept my attention. I would recommend this for anyone who likes history based novels. Author seems to have a handle on the WWII era......
By Amazon Customer on April 14, 2017
What a refreshing read for a book about the Holocaust. Full of twists and unexpected turns and romance along the way. I felt unexpected compassion. Quick read and really enjoyed the characters.
By susan on April 9, 2017
Absolutely loved The Golden Peacock. The story takes you right into the moments wanting the best for the main characters and anticipating every move. It delivers a heart felt story with unexpected twists and turns that make sense after viewing the whole story. This would make a great movie.
By Speedy Grandma on March 31, 2017
Extraordinary describes Lauren B. Grossman's THE GOLDEN PEACOCK! It was one of the best books I've read.
The setting is the 1990s, but equally important is the basic story of the 1940s, the horrific Holocaust days. The main character Rainee Allen is a successful author with a deadline for another novel fast pressing on her, but she's in writer's block mode. Desperate, she decides she will clean out her desk and writing area. Perhaps that will help. Rainee comes across a souvenir she kept from her past visit to the Holocaust museum; the lady survivor and Rainee shared the same birthday which seemed somehow significant, so she saved it. An idea sparked for a possible novel theme! From there, the events rapidly snowball. She determines to see if Jana Lutken might still be living, but Rainee becomes involved in so much more than she ever imagined, including her own life being in danger by what she uncovers. And the culmination of everything is guaranteed to cause you to say "Wowww!" outloud, as I did.
This is a stupendous book. I cannot recommend it enough.
By BRYAN on December 6, 2016
Never read a book written in this way. Great use of tieing one storyline to another. Lots of surprises
A lovely note from a reader (Thank you, DM!):
I am shaking all over. This is gripping. It is totally captivating. Told all my friends and I bought 3 more books to use as gifts.
5 stars Truly Amazing
By W. Perion on October 7, 2016
This is not the kind of book I usually read but once starting it from word one I couldn't put it down. It captivated me so much I ordered 3 more for gifts.
By Amazon Customer on August 24, 2016
Very good read. 4 stars. Interesting twists and turns and I liked the ending. I recommend this book to anyone looking for an interesting escape.very sad, and violent portions-be aware.
5-Star GOODREADS review: COMPELLING NOVEL
Due to how busy I am with my work, I normally read 1 book a month. Often, I read to help me fall asleep at night, which is why it takes me about a month to get through a book. THE GOLDEN PEACOCK held my attention from the moment I read the first paragraph. It took until about 2am for me to, hesitantly, put it down. I could not wait until the next evening to pick it up again.
I have to say that, unequivocally, it is the BEST novel I have read this year. It has a twist near the end that threw me for a loop. When I read the major twist, I gasped and woke my spouse. What a surprise. Very well written. It isn't heavy with unnecessary details. The weaving back and forth from present to the backstory of the Holocaust was well conceived. And everything connects beautifully in the end.
I highly recommend this book to everyone who likes compelling novels.
Just finished the Golden Peacock...it was a great read. I couldn't put it down. I've lost 2 members of my family to Alzheimer's.
So thank you for bringing attention to it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing how she managed to survive
By L Orgeron on February 6, 2016
Held my attention all the way through this book. Amazing how she managed to survive!
5.0 out of 5 stars History with mystery
By Amazon Customeron February 4, 2016
Enjoyed it immensely. It's been a long time since I read a book that I didn't want to put down and was sorry to have come to an end. I enjoyed the interesting twists and turns the story took while learning more about the holocaust and the effects it had on people both then and now.
5.0 out of 5 stars You could quite possibly have just authored my favorite story!
By Carol Weston February 2, 2016
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Had me from title! Lauren, you could quite possibly have just authored my favorite story!
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
By Jen packer on January 30, 2016
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I was captivated from the first chapter and couldn't put it down!
This book has inspired me to finally do something I've wanted to do since high school, visit he U.S. Holocaust museum!
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the best books I have read
By connie petri on January 28, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books I have read. The subject matter cannot be forgotten. I cant wait for the authors next book.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
By Marie Marksburyon January 27, 2016
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This was a great book it had a good story line and plot. The characters flowed together nicely. It has suspense and a very dramatic tone. The way the author played the symmetry between character and scenes was excellent. The whole book seemed to play out with seeming fluid intrigue and left the reader wanting more with every page. The detail portrayed by the character was comparable to real life situations. This was a great book, once I started I was so captivated that I read it in one sitting. This is an excellent read for a weekend alone by the fire or on a long rip while riding to your destination, Time flies when reading this. I would recommend this to anyone that love a good story. I look forward to more books written by this author.
5.0 out of 5 stars INTRIGUING!
By Bette A. Stevenson January 19, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
Author Lauren Grossman skillfully winds a web of intrigue in a novel that meshes the journey of a contemporary writer in search of a story. This is the second novel I've read by the author and I highly recommend both books (ONCE IN EVERY GENERATIONS was the first). THE GOLDEN PEACOCK is multi-layered in themes of love and war that transcend generations. The storyline unravels the once lost memories of a young Jewish orphan, rescued from the Nazi's during WWII. ~ Bette A. Stevens, author of award-winning picture book Amazing Matilda, also writes fiction for middle-grade through adult readers.
5.0 out of 5 stars meets the love of her life and years later ends up in ...
By Agnes Shapiro on December 13, 2015
Oh My...what a story. The Golden Peacock covers the story of Jana - a Holocaust Survivor...who was separated from her brother, sent to an orphanage where she was adopted by a family and escaped later on from an abusive stepfather. She then moves away, meets the love of her life and years later ends up in a nursing home.
Along comes Rainee, a writer, looking for another topic for her book and comes along papers of Jana who also shares the same birth month and day. Realizing this could be the basis for her book, she goes to London looking for Jana and her story and what she finds turns into an amazing, heart warming, loving and incredible story of survival and amazing things one can accomplish when facing all odds.
A must-read book.
4.0 out of 5 stars Mystery with a Holocaust connection
By Kindle Customer on January 11, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
Thanks to the author, Lauren B. Grossman, who sent me this autographed copy of her excellent book. It was a Goodreads giveaway. I enjoyed reading it and give it a solid 4 stars out of 5.
A successful author, Rainee Allen, has promised a book to her agent after receiving an advance. But she has writer's block and spends time cleaning out a drawer where she finds a identification/passport souvenir of a Holocaust survivor, Jana Lutken. She decides to find this survivor and write a book about her. She does find her, but the woman has Alzheimer's and remembers very little. Rainee continues to see her and little by little draws out some of her memories.
The book has 2 threads which join about 2/3rds of the way in. The first thread is the present day and second is Jana's memories told in flashbacks. Rainee realizes that Jana may have seen someone who reminds her of her past. This leads Rainee into a shadowy, dangerous world of Nazi hunters and sympathizers. I did not expect the surprise ending. This book held my interest with believable characters and a good plot. I read it in 2 days, finding it hard to put down.
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
B yKindle Customer on November 17, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book kept me on the edge off my seat. I didn't want to put the book down! Very well written. Enjoyed beginning, middle and end!!
4.0 out of 5 stars Tables Turned
By Amazon Customeron November 16, 2015
Easy reading, interesting story which includes a bit of a switcheroo. The ending, while satisfying, is not justice served. Enjoyable
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this book
By Teresa G. Yancey on November 13, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Was a great story line with a little bit of everything. Love stories about the haulocast.
5.0 out of 5 stars It was easy compulsive reading
Byvalerie dal pozzoon October 11, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review I couldn't put this book down. It was easy compulsive reading. I liked the intermingling of present and past times. Good read !
5 stars Absorbing story
By Maureen A. Whippleon October 1, 2015
I very much enjoyed this book. It is written in the style of alternating chapters going back to the story of Jana, a young German Jewish girl in the early 1930's who is separated from her family to the present day Rainee, an author trying to develop a plot for a new book.
There were just the right amount of characters not to be confusing and the plot twists kept me interested. I would love to see this book made into a movie.
I write this as an honest review in return for a free online copy.
5 stars One of my favorite books
by eileen k. on September 29, 2015
I loved the whole book.....the drama, the mystery. The whole book was intriguing. So many twists and turns kept my interest from beginning to end. I am recommending this book to all my friends.
4-stars A good read
By Amazon Customer on September 20, 2015
"I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review."
As when I read The Diary of Anne Frank in grade school, I really felt like I were living the terrifying days of the Holocaust. At the same time I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the story.
This book is well written and well researched. I do wish the author had written a longer book, fleshing out the characters more and weaving the facts of the Holocaust into the story rather than just putting in an occasional factual paragraph to educate us. The ending was especially unsatisfying, sort of "I'm tired of writing now. This is how it ends, you don't need to know why".
5 stars You Won't Want to Put the Book Down!
By TJon September 20, 2015
I could not put the book down until I finished it. The book had a good flow in writing the story and despite having two main characters, the author was clear in enabling the reader to understand reading past and present situations. The reading of one's experience having gone through the Holocaust was an eye opener and then as a survivor to endure a debilitating disease of the brain. The ending was a pleasant surprise for sure.
It is to be noted that I received a complementary copy of this book in exchange for my opinion.
5.0 out of 5 stars
By K. R. Johnson September 18, 2015
I loved this book! Couldn't put it down.
5 stars Recalling the Holocaust.
By Shirley Sikes, author of SUNS GO DOWN, O. Henry Winner, author of 35 published stories and essayson September 10, 2015
The Golden Peacock was, or is, a song that Jews and the protagonist's family enjoyed before World War Two. It calls back memories of families and better times. Rainee Allen, a young writer, is interested in finding a certain survivor of the Holocaust. She travels to London and finds her in a nursing home. Jana has Alzheimer's, and she is continually afraid of a doctor who visits the home, of his dark staring eyes. Rainee wants to learn why. Jana and her brother, Max, were torn apart as they were forced to leave their home in Germany. They were put on different ships, both destined for England, in an effort to save the children. There is a touching scene of the father saying goodbye to the children as they leave Germany.
The book resounds with tension as it is well plotted. Ms. Grossman reveals her protagonist, Rainee, has mysterious, vengeful stalkers (former Nazis?), as she walks about London. But Rainee has protectors and suitors as well. As the end of the book approaches, the reader wonders why the doctor serves as a trigger causing Jana to relive the Holocaust. The book ends happily as we learn the true meaning of "The Golden Peacock."
5-Star GREAT BOOK of FICTION
By MAUREEN, August 26, 2015
I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from first page to last. It had twists and turns that really kept you thinking. The characters were fully developed and left me feeling as though I knew them. Looking forward to reads from the same author.
4-Star Great Read
By Kelly, August 23, 2015
What a surprisingly gem of a book! This book had parts of history wrapped up into a well told fiction story. There were two main characters in this book- Jana and Rainee. The chapters switch between their points of view. Jana's chapters take place when she was younger during WWII. She was a Jewish girl living with her family in Germany. She ended up being a child, along with her brother, that was given up to an orphanage to flee the Nazis. She finally ended up in Britain with an adoptive family after she was placed on the Kindertransport. Rainee is a successful writer looking for an idea for her next book. While searching for ideas, Rainee finds an identification card of a Holocaust survivor she was given at a work function. She realized they had the same birthday and held onto it. Things work out where Rainee finds Jana living in a rest home in Britian and has an opportunity to find her. Rainee's story is in present day.
The author does a great job of describing and filling in back stories on the characters in interesting ways. You can get easily attached to them, and my heart broke for them. It was intersting to find out about Kindertransports. The story was told in a way that was not confusing. The past and present chapters complimented each other very well. The ending was very surprising. It fitted the novel well.
I was provided with a free copy of this book so I could give an honest review.
4-Star Enlightening read
By Penny Cohnon, August 20, 2015
This book was received free for an honest review. Lauren Grossmanwrites both a heartbreaking and heartwarming story about a holocaust survivor and an author seeking info for a book. We are shown how their stories change all lives involved in this story. Although a work of fiction, this story could have happened many times.
5-Star This book was AWESOME.
By Margaret Mary Moraceon June 29, 2015
This book was AWESOME... I love it..I did not want it to end...Loved the pace, the characters,everything about it. I HIGHLY recommend this book. read it..absorb it..lest we forget... I agreed to read this book and receive it for free for leaving a review 2 stories in one book, follow the writer who has developed writers block to the survivor in a nursing home reliving her story, It was a page turner!
4-Star Another side of WW2
By Jennifer Roweon June 26, 2015
Started slow but picked up steam. Historical fiction of a Jewish girl taken into a family in England during WW2.
5-Star Riveting and heartwearming
By Laurie H. on June 26, 2015
I was immediately pulled into this tale of Jana, a Jewish woman who survived the horrors of World War II as a child, and Rainee, the bestselling author who sets out to find her. The story goes back and forth in time between Jana’s childhood in the 40’s, and 1997. The characters became so real to me, I sometimes forgot I was reading a book and not living beside the characters. A couple of times I noticed my cheeks were wet with tears. This book has it all: with romance, danger, and a twist at the end I did not see coming. A very worthwhile read.
Reviewed by Karen C. Webb for Readers' Favorite
The Golden Peacock by Lauren Grossman centers around Rainee, a bestselling author who is stuck on her next novel idea. When she finds a ticket from the Holocaust Museum in her desk drawer, she decides to visit London and track down the survivor, Jana Bowman. Finding Jana in a nursing home in London, Rainee also meets the handsome director, John. Realizing that Jana is in a state of Alzheimer's and deathly afraid of a doctor who visits the home weekly, Rainee decides to visit every day and try to reach her. She also does research on the disease and on Nazi Germany in her spare time, while engaging in a relationship with John. Finding out the doctor's father was possibly a Nazi soldier during World War II, Rainee uncovers a nest of long-buried secrets, which causes her to dig deeper and deeper, all the while placing her in ever-increasing danger from an unknown source.
I found the tale of Jana and Rainee touching and intriguing. Told in alternating viewpoints, the story gives Jana's account of life during the Holocaust, as well as Rainee's point of view in 1997. The ending was especially touching and, while somewhat predictable, it still held my interest until the last page. The author's knowledge of historical facts and the insertion of words or sentences in German gave credibility to the story. It was very clear that this author had done her homework, which increases the readability and enjoyment of the story. Overall, The Golden Peacock by Lauren Grossman is a well told, well thought-out story.
5 out of 5 Stars: While there was a great deal of suspense and romance that was well woven
By Michelle S. June 21, 2015
It has been a long time since I literally could not put a book down. From the very beginning I was hooked. I was reading this on the plane home and was trying to hold back tears and laughter along the way. The female characters are were all in a way a victim of sorts yet they all were survivors and examples of what can be achieved if we do not give in or give up. While there was a great deal of suspense and romance that was well woven into the plot the overall message of hope and perseverance is what engaged me. I can't wait for the next one.
A twist too far? By MJ Meads - May 18, 2015
The Golden Peacock sets out to tell two intertwining stores, one of an American author, Rainee, craving inspiration for her difficult second novel, the other that of a young Jewish girl, Jana, separated from her family on a transport ship to England in the early days of World War II. The eventual synchronisation of these two strands of the story is well orchestrated.
The story of Jana, from exile from her native country to a farm in England, as well as the temporary renouncing of Jewish practices in order to blend into her surroundings is beautifully written and conveys a sense of inner strength that sometimes only naïve children can demonstrate.
Rainee's story is certainly less engaging than Jana's and I'm never a fan of an author as a character in a novel, it always seems somewhat incestuous and self-aggrandising. Her quest for the truth about Jana and her family is admirable and moves at a brisk pace throughout, sucking me in more than the character herself ever could. The passages about Rainee's love life feel more like an afterthought at times. She has her choice of two men and it's never clear why she picks one over the other. I feel sorry for the unfortunate fellow who took a beating for her and was discarded without so much as the courtesy of an explanation.
The 'historical fiction' genre, into which this book belongs, is one that allows authors to cherry pick facts to support their storyline, sometimes to the detriment of good storytelling. I had a hard time accepting certain plot developments during Jana's time in wartime Britain, developments which could have been more thoughtfully set up with prior information or actions.
The ending, which I won't spoil, feels a little rushed and haphazardly put together, a twist too far perhaps. Any feelings the protagonist has about the outcome aren't explored fully enough for my taste. Finally, I wish I'd had the opportunity to read a little more Yiddish and hear the Golden Peacock song in full and received fewer scholarly lectures on MS by comparison.
Despite some of my misgivings, I still enjoyed this book, particularly the story of Jana. It's on the whole an interesting read and I'd have no trouble in recommending it, particularly for those who like their historical fiction.
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT READ By Joon - May 10, 2015
I was hooked from the start ... I could not put it down and just HAD TO read it to its conclusion ... so many twist and turns to the very end ... Loved it!!!
5 stars TOP NOTCH STORY By Dawn Oon - May 9, 2015
This story is everything it's advertised to be and more! The story is rich with detail and history. The element of surprise is woven throughout the years. An ending that is completely unexpected. The interpersonal relationships between the characters was well developed and complimented the historical nature of the story. I was given a complimentary copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.
5 stars Wonderful By Ceeka on May 7, 2015
This book was AWESOME... I love it..I did not want it to end...Loved the pace, the characters,everything about it. I HIGHLY recommend this book. read it..absorb it..lest we forget... I agreed to read this book and receive it for free for leaving a review... but I would have bought it to read...it's that good!
5 stars Very Good Read By Glee Burchon April 13, 2015
Just finished reading this engrossing novel I could hardly put it down. The dual storyline was well thought out and the characters were well developed I would highly recommend this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing read By Amazon Customer "Kelly R" on March 28, 2015
I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review...having said that I would have written a review anyway... this book has everything you could ever want in a book...history and suspense and a total twist at the end...I would recommend this book to anyone... I couldn't wait to finish and find out how the story ended... thoroughly enjoyed reading.
5.0 out of 5 stars Beginning was full off all kinds of feelings really enjoyed this
By Christine on March 24, 2015
This book had me from the beginning was full off all kinds of feelings really enjoyed this book
5.0 out of 5 stars The Golden Peacock was fascinating. February 28, 2015
By Vesta Smith
The cliffhanger, for want of a better term, really surprised me. England has always fascinated me too and the story really reaches different facets to keep my interest going. I didn't want to put the book down. My interest is always peaked to learn more about the Holocaust. My very first books about the Holocaust was by Corrie Ten Boom. I was sent this book for free to give an honest opinion.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best of the Year, February 20, 2015 Kindle Edition
This book is on my top 3 for the year. I have read many many books about the Nazis and WWII, but this is the best by far. I have been recommending to everyone. The relationship between brother and sister quite memorable and the ending was a BIG surprise. Thoroughly enjoyed.
The Golden Peacock, By Aly February 16, 2015
This good was very interesting for me. I think the holocaust history in the book was very intriguing. There were some good twists and surprises in the this book as well for me. I love it when I can't guess the ending.
*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review*
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great read. Really.
By janet laslavich on February 13, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition
I thought I knew what to expect from this book, but I really underestimated the impact it would have on me. Yes, it's a story of a Holocaust survivor. Yes, it has some cloak and dagger moments and yes, it is a love story. What surprised me is how much more it is than just those things.
This book grabbed me immediately and it really didn't let me go until the last page. There are twists and turn surprises I just did not see coming. A very clever plot and crisp writing kept me glued to it. I think this may be the first book in years that I completed in 2 or 3 sessions.
I highly recommend it and hope the author writes more of these types of stories in the future!
Great novel with Holocaust history, suspense and a surprise twist!
By Joyce Jordan "book lover" on February 9, 2015
I would rate novel 4.5 stars if it were possible. After reading Lauren B. Grossman's debut novel, I knew I wanted to read her latest novel. It was a fascinating and engrossing novel and once I started reading, I was absolutely compelled to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next. I haven't felt that way about a book in a while. The story starts out with a writer, Rainee Allen, who after having tremendous success with her debut novel is having a serious case of 'writer's block' in attempting to write a 2nd book. In going through her desk, she comes across a souvenir she had received years before at the Holocaust Museum, a copy of passport for a Holocaust survivor. Rainee had kept the souvenir because the survivor's birthday shared her birthday. She decides to try to find out more information on this survivor, a German girl named Jana Lutkin. She becomes caught up in her research on Jana realizing she may have an idea for a novel. When a close friend ends up going to London on business, Rainee goes along to continue her research on Jana. She eventually does find Jana, who is now Janet Bowman. Although Janet is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, Rainee develops a relationship with her and finds out more about her past. As she finds out more, she gets caught up in events that put her in danger and lead her to relationships with 2 men, one the director of the nursing home facility Janet is in and the other, a doctor who sees patients at the nursing home. I don't want to go any further in describing the plot so I don't spoil it for others. However, there is definitely a surprise twist at the end.
The novel switches back and forth from the present day with Rainee to Jana's past life as a child and what she went through after coming to England on the kindertransport. (Kinder means children) Sometimes switchbacks can be confusing or even annoying in a book, but in this novel, I felt they greatly added to the interest of the story and were done very smoothly. This book was such a refreshing change after having read several novels lately where I felt like I was wading through too many words, descriptions, and details. I thoroughly enjoyed Grossman's writing style---easy to read, fast moving, suspenseful and a multi-faceted plot. I loved the twists and surprises in the plot. Books dealing with Holocaust themes are always of great interest to me but this novel also had several interesting subplots. I would highly recommend it!
Full of twists and turns, a great read
By Laurie W-J-N "Laurie W-J-N" on February 8, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition
The Golden Peacock is an interesting book that weaves past and present around the story of a writer named Rainee and her search for her next great book idea. Rainee becomes inspired by finding a card from the Holocaust Museum about a Holocaust survivor named Jana Lutkin who shares a birthday with Rainee. The story takes several very interesting twists and turns as Rainee tracks down Jana in England and learns her story. I found this book very engaging, the story moved along at a rapid pace, and although some of the events were a bit too obvious or coincidental, it kept me surprised and eager to keep reading to see what would happen next. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest.
Historical Fiction with a twist of mystery
By You can call me Lynn on January 30, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition This book is Historical Fiction.
In the beginning we read about Jana, a young Jewish female in the 1930s. Then we are introduced to the main character, Rainee, an author working on her second book in 1997. Their two lives become intertwined after Rainee finds a long forgotten ID from the Holocaust Museum which the reader discovers gives Jana's biography. Rainee sets out to learn more about the woman who shares her birthday, albeit 30 years difference. Will Rainee find out enough to write the next bestseller? Will she stir up a hornet's nest of trouble that gets her dead? You'll need to read the book to find out.
I learned so much about events that occurred during World War II throughout this book. I enjoyed the twists and turns and unexpected outcome.
Warning: This book is best read by Mature Audiences who can deal with the atrocities and violence of war. There are sexual situations as well as Adult Language throughout.
Disclaimer: I was asked to read and review this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Some good ideas and writing, just some better interweaving of elements needed
By Sarah L. Gruwell on January 28, 2015
Golden Peacock possessed some interesting story ideas and the research to back them up. Jana’s story of escape and her life in England were vividly portrayed. The plight of Alzheimer’s, both on the patients and those close to them, made my heart twinge. The author took the time to really get into the effect regular visits have on the recovery for those patients and to show how devastating the loss of self can be, especially for a Holocaust survivor.
I enjoyed Rainee’s story as well. I found her to be a very sympathetic individual who came to care for Jana as more than just a story prompt. She dedicated herself to telling Jana’s story and connecting with her as family. I also enjoyed the romantic aspects, especially with Rainee being a bit older than your typical romantic lead. They were a pleasant side note to Rainee’s interactions with Jana.
However once the story gets into the second half of the book, I almost felt like I was reading a different novel. The pitch of the story changed from heartfelt exploration of survival, overcoming tragedy, and memories to this hell bent adventure story dodging bad guys and ferreting out Nazis. And then at the conclusion, it almost seemed liked the whole Alzheimer’s thread was dropped after the big reveal and showdown. The emphasis on themes and overall environment of the two halves were completely different.
That sudden switch in tone and story emphasis mid-book did kill the momentum and enjoyment a bit for me. If this had maybe been two short novels or something like that, I might have enjoyed it better? I don’t know. I enjoyed the different themes explored in the book individually: Alzheimer’s and its consequences, Rainee’s journey and relationships, and the excitement of the latter half. Yet, I felt like they should have been interwoven more rather than split down the middle. Still, an overall enjoyable read.
Note: Book received for free from author in exchange for an honest review.
Poignant story of kinship
ByBeverly Dane on January 1, 2015
Combine a mystery, a personal look at the Holocaust, and love story with unexpected kinship between women of two generations, and the result is a poignant novel. The juxtaposition of past and present makes for an especially interesting blend of two stories which seamlessly meld.
Read from cover to cover
By January Gray on December 21, 2014
Artfully written and heartfelt. Many surprises throughout this book. She has mastered the topics of the Holocaust and Alzheimers, and wove them together into a remarkable tale.
A wonderful heart warming story
By Greta Jaroslow on December 19, 2014
This book has it all. A wonderful heart warming story.
Great Airplane Read
By Craig Pickett on December 17, 2014
Great book! Read the entire thing on two air flights here in the US. Kept my attention, characters were believable and engaging. the style reminded me of Clancy so it was easy to jump on and off planes and not get lost.
By Steve G on December 12, 2014
The story line is captivating from the first chapter and the ending is a shocker! It's a great read and the author helps you really feel for each character. Read it now before it gets to the big screen!
By Janet K Williams on January 15, 2015
A very enjoyable book. The story is emotional and the ending is first rate. Congratulations Lauren. Looking forward to book three.
An incredible life story you won't want to put down!
By Jaris Lowe on October 7, 2014
This book truly has it all: intrigue, love, violence, and history. Take a little girl's journey from the horrors of the Holocaust through the trials of old age and dementia, with a fascinating life story that moves back and forth between the dark period of World War II and today. It's almost impossible to put down, given the unexpected twists and its cloak and dagger tone. The author has outdone herself with this novel. Dive in, but make sure you have nothing else to do for the next several hours.