Tom Hope doesn’t think he’s much of a farmer, but he’s doing his best. He can’t have been much of a husband to Trudy, either, judging by her sudden departure. It’s only when she returns, pregnant to someone else, that he discovers his surprising talent as a father. So when Trudy finds Jesus and takes little Peter away with her to join the holy rollers, Tom’s heart breaks all over again.
Enter Hannah Babel, quixotic smalltown bookseller: the second Jew—and the most vivid person—Tom has ever met. He dares to believe they could make each other happy.
But it is 1968: twenty-four years since Hannah and her own little boy arrived at Auschwitz. Tom Hope is taking on a batttle with heartbreak he can barely even begin to imagine.
The Bottom Line: As my star rating suggests, I only liked half of this book and that half was any part which involved only Tom Hope. Tom Hope is one of the most sympathetic characters I have read in a very long time and I liked him from the moment he was introduced. Through no fault of his own, Tom has experienced a great deal of bad in his relatively young life. Consequently, Tom has become a rather solitary figure preferring to spend his time on his farm among the woollies rather than in the company of humans. That is, until he meets Hannah Babel, and this is where my enjoyment of this novel ends. Please believe me when I say, I wanted to like Hannah and certainly had a great deal of sympathy for her situation (especially the past!), but her general attitude and refusal to confront and deal with her problems caused her to come across as selfish and self-centered which caused a great deal of unnecessary pain for Tom Hope. Outside of my intense dislike of Hannah, I have no other complaints regarding this book. In fact, outside of that one issue, I rather enjoyed Tom’s story, the setting (both the farm and the bookshop), and the issues that continually arose in Tom Hope’s life. Outside of that single character, I found the plot and writing to be quite good. As for a recommendation, I suspect I am in the minority where Hannah is concerned and since I liked all other aspects of the read, I am going to go ahead and recommend this book to readers.