Title: The Imposter Bride
Author: Nancy Richler
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
When Lily Azerov arrives in Canada after World War II, few know that she’ll change the lives of one Jewish family irrevocably. And indeed, she picks up and leaves her husband and baby daughter just a few years later, when the ghosts from her past catch up with her. Because Lily isn’t her true name, and it’s up to her daughter to figure out what secrets her mother had and what she’d been running from all those years.
The Imposter Bride is a novel with a fascinating premise. It begins with a woman named Lily, a mail-order bride, if you will, arriving just after World War II. But when her husband-to-be rejects her immediately on sight, it’s his brother that saves the day, marrying Lily and giving her a home. It’s definitely quite the hook to start the story, especially considering the mystery that surrounds Lily’s past.
Unfortunately, it’s shortly after this explosive, promising beginning that things get more difficult with The Imposter Bride. The novel jumps in time, forward and backwards, and between narrators without any sort of warning. It makes for a jarring reading experience, to say the least. What’s more, the novel loses its oomph factor as it progresses. It’s full of heady mystery at the beginning, but it ends up being more about Lily’s daughter and the consequences of Lily’s disappearance than anything else. Yes, Lily’s story is eventually told, but that isn’t the main focus of the book.
That’s not to say that Lily’s daughter isn’t well written in The Imposter Bride. Indeed, she’s an appealing character. The reader gets to follow her through different stages in her life, and it’s interesting to see how not having a mother, and later, discovering that the few things she knew about Lily were false, affects her. But this isn’t what I thought the book would be about; in the end, it’s much more quiet, about day-to-day living, than the premise leads you to expect.
In the end, I thought The Imposter Bride had too many dry spots and didn’t hold my attention the way I’d hoped. That’s not to say it’s a bad read, by any means. If you’re in the mood for a thoughtful novel with a minor storyline of intrigue, then this would be a good choice. The beginning of the novel is really worth reading, and though that heightened sense of suspense fizzles, it turns into a quiet book about a young girl who desperately wants to know about her mother.