Audiobook Revew: The Light After the War

The Light After the War by Anita Abriel
Narrated by: Jesse Vilinsky
Published February 4th 2020 by Simon Schuster Audio
Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins
ISBN13: 9781797102191


Inspired by an incredible true story of two Jewish friends who survived the Holocaust, this sweeping novel of love and friendship spans World War II from Budapest to Austria and the postwar years from Naples to Caracas, perfect for fans of The German Girl and We Were the Lucky Ones.

It is 1946 when Vera Frankel and her best friend Edith Ban arrive in Naples. Refugees from Hungary, they managed to escape from a train headed for Auschwitz and spent the rest of the war hiding on an Austrian farm. Now, the two young women must start new lives abroad. Armed with a letter of recommendation from an American officer, Vera finds work at the United States embassy where she falls in love with Captain Anton Wight.

But as Vera and Edith grapple with the aftermath of the war, so too does Anton, and when he suddenly disappears, Vera is forced to change course. Their quest for a better life takes Vera and Edith from Naples to Ellis Island to Caracas as they start careers, reunite with old friends, and rebuild their lives after terrible loss.

Moving, evocative, and compelling, this timely tale of true friendship, love, and survival will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

My Thoughts

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.I remember reading a poll earlier this year about how younger generations don't really know what Auschwitz is or why it's important. That's why these books are so important. They remind readers of the atrocities committed by our fellow man. Reading books such as this one invokes empathy, understanding, and dare I say, less likely to repeat mistakes of our past. 

The Light After the War mostly takes place after WWII has ended. Vera and her BFF, Edith, arrive in Naples looking to restart their lives after spending a year or so hiding on an Austrian farm. The two young women must learn to navigate the world without their families to help them. With only a letter of recommendation and little money, Vera finds work at the US embassy where she meets and falls in love with Captain Anton Wight. Just when Vera thinks she finds the happiness she has longed for, Anton disappears, and once again Vera and Edith have to start over again.

The Light After the War started out slow to me. It took me about 45 minutes to get interested in the story. Vera and Edith are best friends but it seems as though Vera was way more mature than Edith, especially after everything they went through. I hesitate to say it but Edith was a bit flat. Vera, on the other hand, was not. The story has several flashbacks where the reader finds out more about what happened to Vera and Edith's family. I don't know if it is like this in the book--I listened to the audiobook--but there didn't seem to be any break to let the readers know that a flashback was taking place. 

I enjoyed reading about these two women, and at the end of the book, in the author's note, learning that these characters are based off of real people made it even more special. The story of love and friendship, survival and loss is one that people will enjoy, especially as an audiobook.  

*My thanks to Simon and Schuster for providing me with a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.