The Things We Cherished (Hardcover)

By Pam Jenoff

Doubleday, 9780385534208, 304pp.

Publication Date: July 12, 2011

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Description

Pam Jenoff, whose first novel, The Kommandant’s Girl, was a Quill Award finalist, a Book Sense pick, and a finalist for the ALA Sophie Brody Award, joins the Doubleday list with a suspenseful story of love and betrayal set during the Holocaust.

An ambitious novel that spans decades and continents, The Things We Cherished tells the story of Charlotte Gold and Jack Harrington, two fiercely independent attor­neys who find themselves slowly falling for one another while working to defend the brother of a Holocaust hero against allegations of World War II–era war crimes.

The defendant, wealthy financier Roger Dykmans, mysteri­ously refuses to help in his own defense, revealing only that proof of his innocence lies within an intricate timepiece last seen in Nazi Germany. As the narrative moves from Philadelphia to Germany, Poland, and Italy, we are given glimpses of the lives that the anniversary clock has touched over the past century, and learn about the love affair that turned a brother into a traitor.

Rich in historical detail, Jenoff’s astonishing new work is a testament to true love under the worst of circumstances.



About the Author

PAM JENOFF is the author of "The Kommandant's Girl," "The Diplomat's Wife," "Almost Home," and "Hidden Things." She attended George Washington Univer-sity, Cambridge University in England, where she received a master's in history, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. A former Special Assis-tant to the Secretary of the Army and State Department officer, she lives in Philadelphia, where she works as an attorney.


Praise For The Things We Cherished

PRAISE FOR THE THINGS WE CHERISHED:

"The Things We Cherished succeeds in opening a provocative window onto the continuing effort to bring Nazi war criminals to justice, and the complexities involved in making legal and moral judgments decades later. The still-vivid memory of the Holocaust energizes this ambitious, sweeping narrative, and Jenoff weaves together the disparate threads of a tale that is at once a historical mystery, a legal thriller, and a romance novel."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Further cements Jenoff's reputation for adeptly using the harsh realities of WWII Europe as a context for a timeless love story."—Publishers Weekly

"Pam Jenoff weaves an intriguing and intelligent story with a delicacy that is captivating. The triangular love stories are threaded together with skill and passion, while at the heart of the tale ticks the clock that holds the answers. Jenoff evokes in touching detail a significant point in twentieth-century history and makes it resonate for readers today."—Kate Furnivall, author of the national bestseller The Russian Concubine


PRAISE FOR THE KOMMANDANT’S GIRL:


“With luminous simplicity, Jenoff’s breathtaking debut chronicles the life of a young Jewish bride during the Nazi occupation of Kraków, Poland, in WWII . . . This is histori­cal romance at its finest.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“In her moving first novel, Jenoff offers an insightful portrait of people forced into an untenable situation and succeeds in humanizing the unfathomable as well as the heroic.” —Booklist
 
“A well-written, intensely readable romantic tale.” —Jewish Book World



Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. Why do you think Charlotte agreed to help Brian and take on the case? Do you agree with her decision? 
  2. Do you think the ends that Roger was seeking (saving Magda and her daughter) justified the means of his choices and actions? Did you find him likeable despite these choices? 
  3. What do you think drew Roger and Magda together so powerfully? How did their dynamic change throughout the book? 
  4. What do you think Magda really wanted? 
  5. What role does the clock play throughout the book? Are there commonalities in the way it touches people’s lives? Differences?  
  6. The relationships between the brothers in the book (Brian and Jack, Sol and Jake, Roger and Hans) are fraught with both affection and acrimony. What is it about sibling relationships that makes them so complex? Is it different when the siblings are the same sex versus the opposite?  
  7. Charlotte initially dislikes Jack. When does she begin to feel differently about him? What conflicts develop between them, and are they things that can be overcome? Is the fact that they’re both attorneys an advantage or a detriment to their romantic relationship?   
  8. How do you think Charlotte’s personal and professional lives influenced one another at the beginning of the book? Did that change? 
  9. With whom in the book does Charlotte most closely identify/relate? Why? 
  10. Were you surprised at the way in which Johann, the farmer, went on to live his life after Rebecca died?  How so?  
  11. Which character in the book was most tested by circumstance? Which was most transformed? 
  12. Did you think the events in the characters’ lives were driven by fate? Chance? 
  13. What do you think of Sol's perception that he was the lucky one because he got to remain in Berlin after Jake was forced to flee? 
  14. Where do you think Charlotte winds up one month after the end of the book? One year? Five years?
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