Apr 132011

Smuggled by Christina Shea
Rating: 4/5
Source: Review copy from Netgalley
Links: Amazon, Goodreads

Will be published in Jul 2011.

Eva Fakas is five years old when her parents smuggle her out of Hungary to live with her aunt and uncle in Romania. She is renamed Anca Balaj and must start life again. This her story as she grows up, eventually returning to Hungary and becoming Eva again.

This is a book about survival. It is a tragic look at life post-WWII in a country that was immensely impacted. Having no first-hand, and barely any second-hand experience with war, I found the descriptions depressing. I couldn’t imagine living through it, and I marvel at everyone who did.

Eva/Anca was a strong woman who struggled to be herself in a life that was created. The descriptions of her life was a child were my favourite sections. They felt the most powerful and real. I found that as she aged, I became more and more removed from the story.

At one point, Eva/Anca remarked that she didn’t really like her friend because he was a changeling, changing to survive whatever situation he found himself in. I found this hypocritical. Eva/Anca did the exact same thing everytime her situation changed; she adapted to survive in the least damaging way. I think it was at this point that I began to dislike Eva/Anca. By the end, I knew I didn’t like her, but the story is so emotional and tragic, that I feel guilty for that. The story demands that I pity and like her, and I just don’t.

This story is not for the faint of heart. Life in Hungary and Romania is hard and many unhappy events occur. I don’t want to give examples because I don’t want to give away anything that happens, but I will say that whenever someone could take advantage of a situation, it seemed like they did.

  2 Responses to “Smuggled”

  1. What a stunning cover and also a subject I would read about.

  2. Great review… she was harder to relate to as she aged, that is exactly true. She would be doing something and I would literally snap my head back and ask “Why?”? It was certainly a difficult time and place to try to live and survive in… I'd really like to read more from this time period in that part of the world.

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