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Karolina's Twins    by Ronald H. Balson Amazon.com order for
Karolina's Twins
by Ronald H. Balson
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

As he did in Once We Were Brothers, Ronald H. Balson continues to look at consequences that ripple down through the years from the horrors of the Holocaust in his new - and equally engrossing novel - Karolina's Twins. And again, he involves attorney passionate young attorney Catherine Lockhart and her skilled investigator (now also her protective husband) Liam Taggart.

Elegant, elderly Lena Woodward is determined to hire both Catherine and Liam to dig into her past in World War II Nazi-occupied Poland and discover the fate of 'Karolina's twins'. Reluctant at first, Catherine listens to her story and is soon in all the way. Liam is less sure it's a good idea to get involved after Lena's son hires an aggressive lawyer and initiates a competency hearing, intended to stop his mother's quest. Catherine is pregnant and Liam worries about the stress of the case.

The tale moves back and forth in time between court scenes in the present and past events recounted by Lena. Lovely Karolina was Lena's best friend from childhood. They grew up together in Chrzanow, Poland; lost loved ones and suffered horrors together under the Nazis; fought back and did their best to protect twin girls together after they were born. Now Lena wants to fulfill a promise she made to Karolina - but Catherine might end up in jail protecting Lena's confidentiality if the judge finds her in contempt.

Both the modern and the WW II stories are engrossing. Throughout, Catherine and Liam (hence also the reader) wonder if they're hearing the full account or are being misled in some fashion. And surprises are eventually revealed. It's a wonderful novel and my only issue with it is Lena's son's rather easy change of mind at the end. Nevertheless, I recommend it highly - and don't miss the author's Acknowledgements at the back, telling who inspired his novel.

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