This is a completely charming little book, and I loved it. It’s the story of Vaclav and Lena, two Russian immigrants who meet at an English language class in Brooklyn. Vaclav dreams of becoming a famous magician, with Lena as his lovely assistant, and their young lives are dominated by planning and preparing their act. Until Lena disappears and they don’t see each other for another seven years.
I loved so much about this book. The characters were amazing and the writing was spot on, perfectly capturing the voices of our two children as they grow up, their childlike innocence and earnestness, how they kept each other safely in their hearts while they were apart, and how their relationship developed when they finally met up again. And Raisa was the perfect Russian immigrant mother. They were so believable and I could picture them clearly. But it’s not all sunshine and roses, and there is a dark side to this book, which is very real, and which had me in tears several times on a long bus journey.
It’s a beautiful little book and one I really enjoyed reading.