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on May 18, 2012
This is the engrossing and highly readable story of "Lily Azerov" who has fled Eastern Europe after the turmoil and horror of the Second World War. In Palestine, she makes arrangements to marry a Canadian Jew, Sol Kramer. Sol, however, detects something not quite right beneath Lily's calm exterior. He decides not to marry her, but his brother Nathan does. However, all does not proceed smoothly: some of the actual Lily's Canadian relatives show up at the wedding and realize that this woman is impersonating their cousin. The imposter bride appears to have assumed Lily's identity in an attempt to escape the trauma and horror of her war experience. Not long after, the young wife, apparently fearing exposure by the true Lily's cousin, Ida, flees Montreal, her marriage, and her three-month old child, not knowing that Ida has her own painful past and no intention of calling this damaged young woman on her assumed identity.

The book largely focuses on the growing determination of Lily's daughter Ruth, who has grown up motherless, to find her mother and uncover the secret of her past. All she has to go on are the beautiful rocks her mother has sent her at irregular intervals over the years since Ruth was six, an uncut diamond, and Lily Azerov's journal, which was appropriated by the "imposter bride" somewhere along the way.

Author Richler has woven a richly rewarding novel of character,family, secrets, and history. In the Imposter Bride, she explores the deeply and uniquely human need to discover where we come from. Highly recommended.
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on April 30, 2012
Nancy Richler's new book is well-written and full of interesting events and details. I had tears in my eyes when I finished reading it. I found the characters well defined and yet quite familiar. The plot evoked my sympathies and I could not put it down. The historical setting made it even more meaningful, for me,at least.I am going to read it again because I enjoyed it so much. Definitely recommended for all readers.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon September 13, 2012
Nancy Richler is a writer based in Montreal, and The Imposter Bride is the story of a young woman, Lily Azerov, who flees to Montreal from a devastated postwar Europe. Canada is not yet accepting Jewish refugees, so Lily immigrates on the pretext that she is engaged to be married to a Canadian. Sol has agreed to marry her, sight unseen, for a fee. However:

"When he saw the bride, he recoiled. Damaged goods. That's what he saw. A broken life, a frightened woman, a marriage that would bind him - however briefly - to grief. Let someone else marry her, he decided on the spot. He would never deny the widows and the orphans of the world. But neither, it turned out, did he want to have to marry them."

Lily is not what he had expected, so he leaves her high and dry. Fortunately his brother Nathan Kramer decides to marry her on the spot. But, it turns out that:

"Lily Azerov Kramer. She was not who she said she was.

No one really is, I suppose, but Lily's deception was more literal than most. Her name before... she'd left it there, in that beaten village where the first Lily had died, freeing, among other things, an identity card to replace the one she'd discarded, an identity that could propel a future if someone would just step into it.

Someone would, of course. The village was in Poland, 1944. Nothing went unused."

Lily has a child with Nathan, but with no explanation, suddenly disappears.

As she ages, Ruth, their daughter, is driven to understand the truth about her mother, about where she went, and where she came from.

A compelling and touching story.
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on May 20, 2012
This novel examines such an interesting idea: a woman assumes another person's identity in order to avoid persecution, and finds without her own name she is unable to be anybody at all. Like Richler's other novels, you just can't put this book down. Every character is so well-drawn, every situation is so rich with ambiguity, and the questions it asks are so important. Highly recommended.
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on November 22, 2012
Like a previous reviewer, I had tears in my eyes when I finished this novel. The relationships created by the author are so descriptive and haunting at the same time. An interesting viewpoint of a W.W.II tragedy. I highly recommend this novel
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on December 2, 2012
A wonderful book that I read in a weekend spent indoors with a cold. Great female characters and a great sense of time and place in Montreal. Every page reveals another layer of the mystery at the heart of the story.
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on April 13, 2013
What a great book, started reading and couldn't let it go. Near the end I slowed down my reading because I didn't want to finish it. This is one story that will always be with me.
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on December 1, 2016
Who are you if everything you know about yourself is based on a deception? This is the story of Ruth - a young woman growing up in mid-century Montreal who was abandoned by her mother, Lily Azerov, three months after her birth. Lily steps off the train in Montreal after the Holocaust to meet her future husband - he promptly rejects her. Sol's brother, Nathan likes what he sees, however and steps in to become the bridegroom. Lily is not what she seems. Like many who survived the horrors of WW2, the young woman has taken over the identity of another who died during this time. There are others who knew the real Lily Azerov and quickly surmise that this young woman is not Lily. Unable to live with her deception, Lily abandons her family. The story is told from a number of different perspectives - the most interesting being that of her daughter, Ruth. Ruth spends her adult life trying to understand who she is, who her mother is and what her place is in her loving and supportive family.

The characters of Ruth, her neighbour Ida and her daughter Elke, who keep Lily's secret are well fleshed out and interesting. Unfortunately, the story of Lily feels very vague and I was not able to find her to be a sympathetic character. It was disappointing, since Lily is the character upon which everything hinges.

I guess that since this book was shortlisted for the 2012 Giller Prize, I expected more. If I had bought it for a 'beach read', I would have had lower expectations and found it more satisfying.
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on July 15, 2016
As a candidate for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, I expected this book to be a wonderful read; instead what I got was a story that trudged along without any clear indication of where it was going. I found it tough going almost from the start, and in the end I gave up about half-way through because I couldn't get a sense of any kind of story through all the detail.

This book had to have been edited, right? What am I missing here?
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on April 1, 2013
I found I faded in and out of interest in this novel, although more near the start. I would find an intriguing part, but soon after I felt bogged down by the slow but descriptive missives of daily life. However, in the end that time spent was good character development and gave a solid feeling of knowing the people involved.
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