A Woman of Valor is a monumental family saga that is in effect a history of the Jews in the twentieth century. It centers around a heroine who grows up in Bialystok, survives the Holocaust fighting in the Underground, and rebuilds her family in Israel.
This is a unique and profoundly moving story. Rarely has ordinary family life been depicted with such verisimilitude, and certainly not in the shadow of horrendous war. The triumph of the Lefkovitzes is not only the triumph of a family. It is also the triumph of a nation.
Fred Skolnik was born in New York City and lives in Israel. He is the author of six previous novels, three under his own name (The Other Shore, Death and Basic Forms) and three under his Fred Russell pen name (The Links in the Chain, Rafi's World and The Nightmare: A Sci-Fi Fantasy), along with two collections of stories. He is also the editor in chief of the 22-volume second edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica, winner of the 2007 Dartmouth Medal.
My review: I was fortunate to read this saga long before its publication date, and despite being an avid reader of WWII fiction, I haven't encountered anything like this before. The story is based off a real family living in Poland, the Lefkovitzes. It's an incredibly descriptive history of their lives, spanning from the 20s to the 2000s. Even though the main character is Emma, the first grandchild of the family's matron, you will get to experience the story through the eyes of many more characters. It's a tale of love, loss, war, and ambition spread across over 600 pages that didn't bore me for a second. The author helps the reader understand the massive family by including numerous pages with family trees. Anyone wanting to see a vivid glimpse into the lives on the Jewish families before, during, and after World War II should pick this up.
Publisher: Addison & Highsmith Publishers (September 27, 2022)
Hardcover: 680 pagesISBN-10 : 1592111432