“Based on a true, untold story The Light After the War paints a wonderful portrait of two young women, both Holocaust survivors, trying to find love and meaning in the aftermath of WWII.”
—Mark Sullivan, bestselling author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky
Anita Abriel was born in Sydney, Australia. She received a BA in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from Bard College. She lives in California with her family and is the author of The Light After the War which was inspired by her mother’s story of survival during WWII.
Photo credit: David Perry
The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab
“We’ll tell the story to our children, and they’ll tell their children, and no one will ever forget.”
Vera and her best friend, Edith, both from the ghetto in Budapest, survived jumping from a train headed to Auschwitz, and a year hiding/working on a farm in Germany. This is a link to the Author’s Note found on Anita Abriel’s website- Explaining the stories told by her grandmother: http://www.anitaabriel.com/authors-note/
Vera was fluent in five languages, including English, and Edith, a trained seamstress had dreams of becoming a famous fashion designer. The girls managed to travel to Naples, found jobs -Vera at the American Embassy, Edith as a seamstress- and a place to live. Forging ahead into the future – World War II has been over almost a year; readers will travel across oceans and continents with Vera and Edith. As survivors of the Holocaust, a photo of Vera and Edith caught the attention of Samuel Rothschild, New York millionaire & philanthropist. He was quite taken with the young girls’ story and sponsored their trans-Atlantic voyage to America to begin a new life. Very surprising events lead Vera and Edith to Venezuela- to yet another continent, with new friends and different opportunities. Anita Abriel’s descriptions of Naples from a Vespa, the captain’s table on the Queen Elizabeth, and the nerve-wracking wait at Ellis Island, draw the reader into the story; discovering the fear, guilt and heartbreak of being survivors of the Holocaust.
Themes of emerging roles for women, family relationships, and developing empathy play an important part in Anita Abriel’s novel. Samuel Rothschild’s reminder that our “country was built by refugees with big dreams,” opens a wide lens and has great historical relevance for present day readers. The Light After the War is quite a journey; treacherous, true and rewarding. Readers will be inspired and satisfied after the long trip, just like Vera and Edith, who found new lives and a beautiful “light after the war.” GR