Title: The Woman Who Heard Color
Author: Kelly Jones
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Lauren O’Farrell has been tracking a woman named Hana Fleischmann, whom she believes was a Nazi collaborator, helping them with the theft and destruction of countless priceless artwork. She tracks down Hana’s elderly daughter, Isabella Fletcher, but when she arrives at her appointment with Isabella, Lauren is in for a surprise. Determined to clear her mother’s name, Isabella treats Lauren to a long story about her mother’s life.
The Woman Who Heard Color is a beautiful novel revolving around World War II Germany. Hana is just a teenager when she runs away from home. Thanks to her sister, she finds work in the home of Moses Fleischmann, a Jewish art dealer, and through him, Hana learns of the world of art. Jones handles this time period incredibly well. Her rich descriptions create a vivid experience for the reader as they close their eyes and imagine these exquisite paintings that Hana sees. Jones also does a commendable job with the time period. At the beginning of the novel, Hana is carefree, but as the book progresses, things begin to clamp down. Life loses its joy as people begin to live in fear of the Nazi party and what it means for Germany.
However, Jones doesn’t neglect the present in favor of the past. She takes care with Lauren and Isabella, developing them well even though the majority of The Woman Who Heard Color is dedicated to Hana. Not once did I regret the time jumping; Jones has a knack for telling a good, suspenseful story, and she used this device expertly.
Hana’s life is not a happy one, and the reader will feel her aches and losses. She does what she has to in order to help her family, her children, and herself, but she sadly doesn’t find much happiness in life. The only solace she has is in art, which is beautifully described. Jones delves into the art scene of pre-WWII Germany, treating the reader with unique insights and allowing them to learn something while also ensuring they are fully entertained. As the art world is fascinating to me, I really appreciated this aspect of Jones’ novel.
If you’re interested in art, Nazi looting, or just a well-told, human story, The Woman Who Heard Color is an amazing novel to pick up. Jones creates her characters with such care, and her story is so rich and vibrant, even in the worst of circumstances. This book surprised and delighted me while engaging me fully, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.