Picoult interweaves a present day storyline of Sage Singer, a woman who bears the physical scars of … well, we’re not sure what the scars are from, with the past of Josef, a former guard at Auschwitz. Sage meets Josef when she attends a grief counseling group to help deal with the loss of her mother; due to her Jewish ancestry, the 90-year-old man chooses her to reveal that he was a former Nazi death camp soldier.
Sage decides to turn him in, which brings Leo into the picture. He is an investigator who tries and brings former Nazi guards to justice. The story takes a turn for the schmaltzy when a romance develops between Sage and Leo.
By a HUGE coincidence, it is discovered that Sage’s grandmother is a holocaust Survivor. And guess where she was? Auschwitz! And guess who was there the same time she was? Josef! What are the chances?
Perhaps the most interesting story was the story-within-a-story-within-a-story — Sage’s grandmother’s vampire novel she was writing while at Auschwitz. We are treated to little snippets of the vamp tale throughout the book and before it is revealed who the author is, we are left to wonder how this supernatural tale fits in with the rest of the story. As we discover, the vampire story is metaphorical to what is going on around Sage’s grandmother.
Even though I thought both of these plot devices were hokey, I still found myself engrossed in this book. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I would classify Picoult as light reading, but as this book deals with concentration camps and genocide, it’s not exactly something you want to bring with you to the beach.