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Sunday 19 February 2023

‘The Things We Cherished’ by Pam Jenoff

Published by Sphere,
10 November 2011.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-4729-0 (PB)

The book begins in Philadelphia in 2009 as attorney Charlotte Gold is approached concerning a case of a man about to be tried as a WW2 war criminal.  The lawyer who asks her aid broke her heart when they were students and sent her into the public defence system rather than the international legal career she had planned in The Hague while he moved onwards to a prestigious legal career.

The Story travels to and fro in time as the background to the tale is developed. The accused is now a wealthy man, and the accusation is that he betrayed his own brother who was helping Jews escape from Europe. His arrest in Poland was as a result of evidence found in the recently opened archives of the Eastern bloc.

Charlotte’s investigations in Germany and Poland reveal facets of the case while the various stories of Europeans at points in the 20th century provide others - all this eventually comes together to make a coherent whole. The central investigators in 2009 are fully rounded and necessarily lightly sketched background characters in Europe are well delineated. This is a historically impressive book.
Reviewer: Jennifer Palmer

Pam Jenoff was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. Upon receiving her master's in history from Cambridge, she accepted an appointment as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army.  Following her work at the Pentagon, Jenoff moved to the State Department. In 1996 she was assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, Poland. Having left the Foreign Service in 1998 to attend law school at the University of Pennsylvania. She does pro bono and civic work focusing on at-risk youth, hunger relief and homelessness.

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