Once We Were Brothers

I was intrigued by this book initially because of my undying love for WWII. I would not go as far as to call myself a history buff but I am indeed completely taken aback by WWII. As I have several historical fiction books just waiting to take me on a new adventure I fear this is only the first review of many. I’m sorry not sorry  in advance!

Normally I buy ebooks via Barnes and Noble since I have a Nook HD but since I was given an iTunes gift card for christmas by my Mother I opted to purchase this as an audiobook. I had looked into getting a few audiobooks to listen to while I run on the treadmill at the gym anyway, so this was a perfect oppurtunity. I’m not sure about you but I get ridiculously bored on the treadmill, I start staggering a bit then my mind wanders. I have concluded that audiobooks are the BEST IDEA EVER – for me at least.

Though I have read many historical fiction novels I have never read a legal thriller, naturally I was beyond excited to start this.

“Elliot Rosenzweig, a respected civic leader and wealthy philanthropist, is attending a fundraiser when he is suddenly accosted and accused of being a former Nazi SS officer named Otto Piatek, the Butcher of Zamosc. Although the charges are denounced as preposterous, his accuser is convinced he is right and engages attorney Catherine Lockhart to bring Rosenzweig to justice. Ben Solomon persuades attorney Catherine Lockhart to take his case, revealing that the true Piatek was abandoned as a child and raised by Solomon’s own family only to betray them during the Nazi occupation. But has Solomon accused the right man?”

The novel begins with rich philanthropist Rosenzweig and his granddaughter preparing themselves to attend an opera fundraiser (I believe it was an opera) and Solomon who is attending the fundraiser as well. While at the fundraiser Solomon points an unloaded German Luger Pistol at Rosenzweig and demands he admit that he was a former Nazi. Solomon is arrested but the charges are dropped by an understanding Rosenzweig. Solomon is not easily detered, through connections he persuades attorney Catherine Lockhart to hear his story.

Consider yourself officially forewarned… it starts off at a slugs pace. I believe my exact thought was “I can’t believe I wasted $23.00 on this.” Thankfully, the novel picks up speed when Ben tells Catherine about his life in Poland as a Jew during WWII and the man he thought was his brother. Solomon’s story is heart wrenching while also enthralling. Sadly, the euphoria I experienced while reading Ben’s story was soon replaced by predictability. Upon concluding his story the plot became extremely predictable.

Maybe it’s an old wives tale, maybe not, but I have always been told that the best kind work is done by someone who felt passionate about that work… Once We Were Brothers is a legal thriller written by a practicing attorney. You can practically smell the passion seeping from the pages. The writing is superior and Catherine’s character development was a nice touch but the predictability in this legal thriller killed the “thriller” part.

I still enjoyed this book nonetheless, would I recommend? Yes.  3/5


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