Reviews of “A Suitable Husband”

“A compelling and superbly written page-turner…With engaging characters, appealing subplots, and a fascinating historical background sprinkled throughout, A Suitable Husband is a highly satisfying read…” Long Island Woman Magazine

“A stunning portrayal of the social and political climate of 1930s Poland…the pressure never lifts from Bianca, her mother, and her twin brother: each with their own, often conflicting hopes and dreams, but all of them struggling against increasingly anti-Semitic government policies and harsh new realities…” Les Edgerton, author

“A beautifully written coming of age story that touches both the heart and mind. A must for all readers of historical fiction…” Jennifer Alexander, Mommy’s Reading Too, blog

By Kat from “The Aussie Zombie” (Netherlands)
“I love historical fiction, particularly stories set around 1940s Europe. A Suitable Husband is set in 1930s Poland, a period that also had my interested piqued, but not a setting of any other books that I can remember reading. It is the story of one young woman, Bianca, her family and friends, and the struggle of Jews in Poland during the 1930′s. Told from different POVs – primarily Bianca, her mother and her brother, A Suitable Husband delves into the politics and discrimination of that era, as well as age-old family dynamics – the mother that holds the family together, the daughter who dreams of an education and the son who is unsure of which path to take in life.

S.B. Lerner takes the story of a family living through difficult times and magics it into a wonderful mixture of political difficulties, coming-of-age and family sagas.

The characters are vivid and endearing, particularly those of Bianca, torn between doing what is right and what her heart wants, and her mother, Danka, who is determined that her children will have the best life she can possibily provide for them, all the while fighting to keep them safe from the changing attitudes of the Polish people towards the Jews.

And in the midst of a family saga there is also a fascinating look into the Jewish plight in 1930s Poland and their fight to belong, to be independent or simply to build a life for themselves in the face of terrible discrimination.

A Suitable Husband grabbed me from the beginning and didn’t let me go until the end. There were parts that felt a little rushed towars the end and the ending took me a little by surprise and although it wasn’t what I expected, I did think it suited the book and the characters perfectly.”

By Carol Scheiner -
“A Suitable Husband,” is a beautiful story of a young woman in pre-world war II Poland. It is enlightening and sheds insight on not only that period in Poland, but the attitudes of early European Zionists as well. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the character development and the story.

Bianca and her brother, Natan, live with their very strong mother and alcoholic father. The once wealthy family is now poor with Danka the mother, having to sell their few possessions including their china just to pay the monthly rent to a devil of a landlord. The landlord wants more, with his eyes on Bianca’s mother. The Poles are enforcing a boycott strangling the Jews for their very economic survival. Everyone is forced to submit to the anti-Semitism – and those who do not submit, like Bianca’s brother, Natan, are forced into exile or prison.

Bianca’s mother hires a matchmaker to find her a “suitable husband” which would be the financial salvation for the family. Bianca wants no part of this and joins a group of idealistic Zionists planning to build a new Jewish world in Palestine. I was surprised by how unrealistic these Zionists were. The group thought that the Arabs would embrace them in the new land because they could bring engineering and science to the desert to make it green. They thought all Jewish pilgrims would be satisfied living in a land where every possession is willingly shared and to some the idea of marriage no longer requires the prerequisite of monogamy. Bianca becomes infatuated with the leader of this group and the story takes a surprise twist culminating in the choice she must make that will determine her path for her future. Part of the magic of the book is that we know the end of the story. Not Bianca’s, but the storm rising in Europe that will overpower everything within a few years after the novel’s end.”

By Karen Casey Fitzgerrell.
“In the novel, Suitable Husband, S. B. Lerner expertly depicts a remarkable time of struggle in Jewish history. The story takes place during the mid 1930s as Poland is about to crumble. Due to the changing attitudes and increasing antisemitism toward Jews, young people felt pressured to do something – anything – to escape the political uncertainty. Bianca, the book’s protagonist, finds that no one seems to have the right path of action. Some want to stay in Poland and fight for respect and others want to escape to Palestine to live communally.

As Bianca struggles to decide on the right political solution for herself and her friends, her mother pushes her to marry the matchmaker’s choice, a young medical doctor who she hopes will pull them out of poverty. The pressure is so great that Bianca considers running away to Palestine to live a free-spirited life with a free-thinking young man who probably has no intentions of ever marrying her.

Lerner is a master at moving from the unsettling political scene to the equally unsettling turmoil of young love. Each character’s point of view comes clear with excellently written dialogue and with such wisdom that it as if the author lived in her character’s shoes.

Suitable Husband is cleanly written, well researched and never sappy. Lerner is a writer to be watched.”

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