Charlotte Gold is a public defender and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. She used to be an associate attorney for a big New York firm, but after the devastating loss of her gravely ill mother and a heart-wrenching breakup with her long time boyfriend, Charlotte has rebuilt her life in Philadelphia, where she tirelessly devotes herself to juvenile court cases. When her ex, a high-profile attorney himself, shows up at her office door ten years later, Charlotte’s hopes to rekindle their relationship are crushed. What she expects to be an attempt at reconciliation turns out to be a business proposal. Brian Warrington, Charlotte’s ex-boyfriend, has been asked to defend a wealthy Polish financier who has been accused of war crimes. Roger Dykmans, the defendant, faces trial for the alleged betrayal of his brother Hans and the subsequent deaths of hundreds of Jewish children during World War II. After trying in vain to get his defendant to cooperate and break his stubborn silence, Brian thinks that Charlotte, with her forensic expertise and knowledge of Holocaust history, may be the right lawyer to get Roger Dykmans out of jail. Motivated by her lingering feelings for her ex-fiance and moved by an undeniable desire to work on a high-profile case, Charlotte accepts the proposal and flies to Europe. To her great disappointment, Brian is not there to welcome her in his Munich office. Instead, Jack Warrington, Brian’s brother, will be a member of the legal team.
Apparently, the key to unravel the mystery that may prove Roger’s innocence is contained in an anniversary clock from the early 1900s, a handcrafted and valuable timepiece mysteriously linked to Dykmans’ history. Unfortunately, this is all the wealthy industrialist is willing to say in his defense. Charlotte and Jack journey across Europe to prove their client innocent, forming a special bond along the way.
The Verdict: With its story divided between present day Philadelphia and WWII-era Germany, award winning author Pam Jenoff weaves a riveting and suspenseful tale of love and betrayal against the backdrop of one of the darkest hours of our history. The Things We Cherished is a brilliantly plotted, wonderfully executed and cleverly concocted combination of legal thriller, historical fiction and romance. I would whole-heartedly recommend it not only to readers fond of wartime and Holocaust themed novels, but also to anyone who is looking for a high-quality read. A perfect book-club pick.
Release date: July 12, 2011
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Author: Pam Jenoff