Robert Marcum writes painstakingly researched historical novels. What makes them really great is that he doesn’t let all that research get in the way of his story. Rather he puts a set of characters into history and lets them live through it, allowing us to watch them struggle and fight for survival.
He’s one of the few writers among the LDS publishers that is actually a good writer.
The Return takes place in Europe just after the end of the second World War. The Americans have won the war and rescued millions of Jews from death camps only to have the Russians and British put them right back into camps because they didn’t know what to do with them or how to feed them. Many of those Jews, unable to face the horrors of camp life – even if it was drastically better than they got from the Nazis, many times it was the exact same camp – fled to Italy and from there to Israel. The problem was that the British controlled Israel at the time and it was full of Muslims. Neither of them wanted the Jews to get there.
Hannah and a group of her friends, recovering from malnourishment and trauma from years in the Nazi camps, decide there is no place for them in Europe and they must return to the land of their ancestors.
Thus begins their journey across a continent that still hates them, to a land they’ve never seen, through governments and armies that don’t want them to leave.
Many times the history books end when Hitler shot himself but the cruelty and dissociation continued. Many times simply because there was nothing anybody could do about it, but frequently because nobody wanted to.
I really enjoyed this book and think that most everybody would.