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Love and Treasure

Love and Treasure [Kindle Edition]

Ayelet Waldman
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product Description


an ambitious, perceptive novel. (Guardian)

By allowing the narrative frames of the novel to interweave different stories and historical tales, Waldman creates a rich tapestry of detail which is both beautiful and heart-wrenching. At times funny, constantly compassionate, Love and Treasure forces you to look at the true value of objects and the worth of a life. A wonderful and extremely precious book. (Press Association)

Complex and thoughtful, moving and carefully researched, this is a novel to love and treasure. (Philippa Gregory)

Love & Treasure is something of a treasure trove of a novel. Where the opening chapters evoke the nightmare of Europe in the aftermath of World War II with the hallucinatory vividness of Anselm Kiefer's disturbing canvases, the concluding chapters, set decades before, are a bittersweet evocation of thwarted personal destinies that yet yield to something like cultural triumph. Ayelet Waldman is not afraid to create characters for whom we feel an urgency of emotion, and she does not resolve what is unresolvable in this ambitious, absorbing and poignantly moving work of fiction. (Joyce Carol Oates)

Ayelet Waldman's new novel, 'Love and Treasure,' places the Hungarian Gold Train at the heart of a multigenerational tale largely set in Salzburg in 1945 and in Budapest, both in the present and in 1913. Crucial to its plot is an enameled pendant, intricately worked in the design of a peacock, unusually colored in purple, white and green. Waldman skillfully interweaves this striking and enigmatic object - a symbol, as the book progresses, of fatal bad luck - into an ambitious sweep of history, setting the loss of millions of human lives against the pendant's own poignant, improbable survival. Waldman sustains her multiple plot lines with breathless confidence and descriptive panache, fashioning complex personalities caught up in an inexorable series of events. (New York Times)

One is quickly caught up in Love and Treasure with its shifting tones and voices - at times a document, a thriller, a love story, a search - telescoping time backwards and forwards to vividly depict a story found in the preludes and then the after-effects of the Holocaust. Waldman gives us remarkable characters in a time of complex and surprising politics. (Michael Ondaatje)

Love & Treasure is like the treasure train it chases: fast-paced, bound by a fierce mission, full of bright secrets and racingly, relentlessly moving. (Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket))

Waldman is a wonderfully imaginative writer . . . absorbing . . . As with the painting in Susan Vreeland's Girl in Hyacinth Blue and the manuscript in Geraldine Brooks's People of the Book the link between these separate stories in Love and Treasure is a pendant decorated with the picture of a peacock. In Waldman's exceedingly clever treatment, this piece of jewelry is not intrinsically valuable; it accrues value only as it passes from one unlikely hand to another, demonstrating the curious and tragic ways that history binds us together. . . a tense and romantic story that never seems polemical or overdetermined. . . a marvelous panorama of early 20th-century attitudes about women . . . Moving. (Ron Charles Washington Post)

In Ayelet Waldman's thoughtful, expansive Love and Treasure, American soldiers occupying Austria after World War II discover an immense freight train full of personal effects pillaged from Hungarian Jews... Absorbing... The pendant's crooked passage across the century serves as a connecting device, holding the book's elegantly balanced parts together like the wire in a Calder mobile. In the end, Love and Treasure is less concerned with belongings than with belonging - with the Jewish people's ongoing hunt for community and homeland, and what one character calls 'a sense of loyalty and identity.' Those things, once stolen, are much harder to get back. (Sam Sacks Wall Street Journal)

What ethics govern the custodians of property that can never be returned? How do the personal and the political intertwine in the wake of historical tragedy? These questions permeate the novel... Charming... The failings of the characters imbues them with a fuller and more complex humanity... the book's best moments explore subtle ambiguities... the human stories behind the looted objects flicker into life. (Nick Romeo Boston Globe)

In her 12th book, Love & Treasure, Ayelet Waldman ambitiously takes on the monumental atrocities of the Holocaust - and much more... the author does an excellent job of constructing a cohesive and engaging narrative... the three main female characters - Ilona, Natalie and Nina - are headstrong women brimming with passion, regrets and ideals. With her essays and Twitter presence, Waldman herself is no stranger to strong opinions, and her fictional trio of women embodies a similar tenor of strength and belief... In this novel, Waldman reaches thoughtfully into an epic sweep of complex issues related to identity, home, dislocation and feminism, and illuminates her ideas through the critical junctures of the journeys of both the pendant and the painting. In the end, as readers, we gain a deeper understanding of what it means to covet and what it means to love. (S. Kirk Walsh San Francisco Gate)

Like a set of Russian nesting dolls, Ayelet Waldman's historically resonant new novel offers stories within stories, spanning a century of European wars and social movements, (mostly) ill-starred relationships, and the ambiguous aftermath of these upheavals... Something of a page-turner, Love and Treasure dares to throw readers off balance and keep them searching for resolution to dangling plot threads... In its epilogue, Love and Treasure gives us a taste of what we've been craving - not a final plot twist, but rather a sense of both the solidity and mutability of the novel's primary symbol, the peacock pendant. The pendant evokes not simply "a remnant of regret" for doomed love, but a "complicated legacy of memory and forgetting." Like the diary of Anne Frank, or the pile of shoes without owners in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, it stands for nothing less than the loss of an entire world. (Chicago Tribune)

If the riveting history around which Ayelet Waldman's new novel is weaved doesn't draw you in, the characters that infuse it certainly will. Vividly crafted and full of intriguing complexity, Waldam's characters breathe life into a story of art, war, stolen treasures, forgotten crimes and star-crossed love... Skillfully crafted and told from multiple perspectives within a narrative that telescopes through time, Love and Treasure tells a captivating story about treasure lost and found and calls us to reevaluate what it is that we treasure most. (

Indeed the joy of this novel isn't just in the all-encompassing story; it's not just in the history that the world as a whole should not only know but also acknowledge. It's not even just in the encyclopaedic coverage that weaves knowledge seamlessly into a flowing narration. The joy of this novel is that we get all of this in a single volume making it well worth a read (

A powerful love story... With changing voices and a story that spans 100 years, Love and Treasure gives us the loves of characters before and after the Holocaust, and shows how love can endure - despite the horror and complexity of conflict. (Irish Tatler)

absorbing... a compelling meditation on love, missed connections and the pull of history on the present... well-written and entertaining throughout. (USA Today)

Ambitious... The eternal human struggle for self-determination and dignity pulses throughout. (People)

Love and Treasure, the new novel by Ayelet Waldman, couldn't be more timely... Waldman builds her narrative, which moves between three distinct stories and time periods, around one of the most notorious cases of property theft in WWII... It is a story ripe for retelling... Love and Treasure offers not just one romance, but two - one tragic, one comic... Drawing on what was clearly extensive research, Waldman brings to life the world of the Central European Jewish haute bourgeoisie, reveling in its textures, exposing its hypocrisies, and cheering on the incipient feminism that Nina represents... [A] fantasia on historical themes. (Tablet magazine)

Classic perfection... heartwarming and inspiring... interesting and educational, informing the reader about little-known segments of history through the eyes of well-drawn, credible, and sympathetic characters. The narrative progresses in a quiet, steady suspense of human drama without any melodramatic action. One never knows what turning the page will bring. Highly recommended. (New York Journal of Books)

Divorced, unemployed, and listless, Natalie Stein goes on a wild-goose chase to find the rightful heir of a WWII relic... This screams big-screen adaptation: Natalie Portman as Natalie Stein, perhaps? (Marie Claire)

Waldman's novel skips continents and generations, telling a multi-layered and well-constructed story. (Christian Science Monitor)

Inspired by the true story of World War II's Hungarian Gold Train, the tale set in present-day New York centers on a woman uncovering the truth about what her grandfather did as an American soldier in the war. . . [For] fans of The Goldfinch, treasure hunts and the work of Waldman's husband, Michael Chabon. (The Hollywood Reporter)

This lush, multigenerational tale... traces the path of a single pendant.... Inventively told from multiple perspectives, Waldman's latest is a seductive reflection on just how complicated the idea of 'home' is - and why it is worth more than treasure. (Publishers Weekly)

Waldman assuredly moves her novel in unexpected directions. At times a love story, and sometimes even a thriller, Love and Treasure reads like a document of the Holocaust, while also delving into the art world and embarking on an exploration of suffrage and the plight of women in the early twentieth century. Love and Treasure most successfully investigates what it means to be human. Waldman's somewhat playful take on Freudian analysis via Dr Zobel's couch is a delight to read, often disturbing and sometimes downright scary. There are no off-notes in this unpredictable and remarkable novel. (Readings)

Ms. Waldman opens an intriguing topic here about the repatriation of art lost or stolen during wars or oppressive political regimes, and she presents a fresh perspective. Amitai, whose cynicism melts when he falls in love with Natalie, is my favorite character in a novel filled with good ones. His reaction to the Holocaust, like Jack's, changes as the novel gets deeper. After he engages a tour with a professor of Holocaust Studies in order to learn more about the objects he'll soon be buying, Amitai voices what many readers will find a disturbing viewpoint. The whirlwind tour of Auschwitz, Treblinka and other death camps infuriates him, but not for the predictable reason. Instead he wonders, what "was the point of elevating the history of Jewish calamity to such fetishistic heights? Wasn't it a kind of idolatry?" These are questions you won't often hear asked in America, but they're important in light of this country's relationship to Israel. However, that's not why you should read Love and Treasure. Read it because it's a wonderful book, filled with energy and wit, its tragedies leavened with love and insight. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

It's an absorbing, ambitious novel which manages to combine two love stories with the pace of a thriller while throwing light on an aspect of the Holocaust unusual in fiction." (A Life In Books)

Waldman sustains her multiple plot lines with breathless confidence and descriptive panache, fashioning complex personalities caught up in an inexorable series of events. (New York Times)

Book Description

Salzburg, 1946. The Hungarian Gold Train, loaded with Jewish treasure. A dazzling jewelled pendant in the form of a stylized peacock. And three men who find their carefully-wrought lives turned upside-down by three amazing and fierce women, each locked in a struggle against her own history and the history of the last hundred years.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 899 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385533543
  • Publisher: Two Roads (10 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #48,060 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The two threads of Ayelet Waldman's novel are basically extremely straightforward. The first concerns a missing Hungarian masterpiece and Amitai Shasho, a dealer specialising in art and artifacts lost during the Holocaust of the Second World War. The second concerns an American-Jewish girl and her grandfather's final request that Natalie try and return a pendant he'd discovered - and kept - during the Second World War. He'd been in Salzburg and, as an American army officer, had been responsible for a train containing a vast amount of items `liberated' from the Hungarian Jews of Nagyvárad.

The link between the painting and Natalie is, of course, the pendant. Much later in the novel she discovers it's not a pendant but a locket containing a miniature portrait of the woman and a young girl (who turns out to be a dwarf) in that long-lost Hungarian masterpiece. It sounds quite simple but, for some reason, Ms Ayelet has decided to develop those threads in an extremely convoluted manner.

In a brief prologue, set in 2012 Maine, the dying Jack Weisman enlists his granddaughter's help over the pendant. We're told nothing about either his wife or Natalie's parents: simply that Natalie is a redhead. A Google search quickly established, to my slight surprise, that redheaded Jewish girls are fairly common.

The next part (we're now back in 1945 Salzburg) deals with the Jack's guardianship of that so-called Hungarian Gold Train - although, unfortunately, there's no gold. A Russian-Jewish girl appears from a nearby DP camp who, we're told, also comes from Nagyvárad (a coincidence?) and (remember Natalie?) just happens to be a redhead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
'He opened the little velvet bundle, and found a piece of women's jewellery, a large pendant decorated wth an enamel painting of a peacock in vivid purple and green, with white accents...'

Love and Treasure is a novel that spans a century, with a story that begins with a brief prologue in 2013, takes us back to 1945, then forwards again to later in 2013, and back once more, further this time to 1913. I found myself drawn into the story immediately, and was intrigued by what Jack Wiseman had asked of his granddaughter, Natalie Stein, who has arrived to visit him. Jack is very ill now, and Natalie is in an unhappy state after her marriage has ended. He entrusts her with the role of finding the original owner of a pendant which she wore on her wedding day and returning it to them. The first major part of the narrative begins in 1945, where is Jack is an American soldier from New York stationed in Salzburg after the end of the Second World War.

Ayelet Waldman does a great job with her characterisation; I felt I really got to know what sort of man Jack was through her portrayal of him, and I admired him. I found this first third of the story captivating, and I wondered what would happen between Jack and Ilona, the lady he meets in Salzburg, a displaced person originally from Hungary. Jack is charged with looking after the contents of the Hungarian Gold Train, items stolen from Hungarian Jews during the war and which are being stored by the US in Salzburg after they intercepted the train. Jack and Ilona are both Jewish, but with wildly different experiences of life in recent years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt 21 Mar 2014
By M. J. Saxton VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I found this a very intriguing book and enjoyed it from beginning to end. While it ostensibly traces the history of one piece of jewellery and those who have owned it, it has a much deeper theme of the treatment of the property of Jewish people that was confiscated during the war and uncovers the unjust redistribution of it in the post-war years.

There is also a brilliantly woven tale of love won and lost and the struggle of women to gain recognition in the pre-war years. that may all seem a bit dry, but the weaving of three tales is compelling and full of characters of depth and integrity. there is something epic about it that sweeps you into a colourful world of struggle, romance and expectations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceeded my expectations 19 April 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I enjoy Ayelet Waldman's writing so I had high hopes for this novel and was delighted when it exceeded my expectations. The interwoven stories are set in modern day America and Europe, and also in Hungary around the time of the second World War. They trace the thought-provoking history and ownership of a peacock pendant in the colours of the Suffragette movement.

I love books that entertain but also inspire and, for me, this novel did that in spades. It is clear that these stories have benefited from a lot of research, in addition to drawing on the author's personal experiences, but the story always takes precedence so the reader never feels bombarded with information. I finished the book feeling better informed but also eager to read and research more about the history and politics of the periods and places described. I wished I could spend time with the book's characters, hold the peacock pendant and see the painting it inspired, taste Dobos torte and swim in the Gellert's pool.

I am not usually one for re-reading novels but on finishing this book, I felt I could have happily started again from the beginning.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I loved this book. A really well-crafted story about the people connected to a locket over the course of a century. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Olivarovich
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I enjoy stories with a Holocaust theme, though that sounds a little odd I know. What I mean is I like stories with a historical element in them from that period in time. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Laura Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite interesting
This told an interesting story. It is quite involving but the author generally does a good job in making everything understandable. Read more
Published 1 month ago by The Emperor
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Gem
I was captivated from the first page of this book. The opening chapter is a touching vignette of the relationship between a dying grandfather and his granddaughter. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Dianne Trimble
3.0 out of 5 stars Moving account of WW2 stolen and missing art treasures
This is a lively and moving account of issues around the 'Golden Train' of stolen treasures from the victims of the holocaust. Read more
Published 4 months ago by D Webster
5.0 out of 5 stars an absolute delight
The theme of this story in reality has actually run through my friends life when she was younger and they left Poland. adorably written with beautiful historical detail-well done
Published 5 months ago by avid british reader
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
A book that spans several time frames in a journey to discover the origins of a piece of jewellery. It was an interesting read and I enjoyed it, but I lost the thread a couple of... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Cath B
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