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Book Reviews

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Few books leave me thinking of it days after finishing it.  Even fewer can make me cry.   Far Above Rubies touched me like so few others can ... [it] it a gripping novel ... while one can read it quickly, to do so would almost be a shame, as this is a tale of courage survival worth digesting one word at a time.  Polansky has taken the life of a strong woman and put a spotlight on it, showing us just how so many others like Sofie persevered during such horrific times.  This is the story of more than one woman -- it is the story of terrible times, all those who were lost, and how life still went on.  And it is a story worth your time.
                             -- Angela Giles Klocke for Klocke Publishing
...Cynthia Polansky skillfully depicts the courage of heart that cannot be broken by man's cruelties.  Far Above Rubies incorporates, within Sofie's story, the story of all who suffered at Nazi's hands ... Rubies begins with the end, offering a whole picture of life renewed from the ashes of destruction.  Polansky tackles this incomprehensible subject with integrity and honesty.  Keep a box of Kleenex nearby while reading [it].
                        -- Dena Kosche for Women on Writing
... the novel appears to be the result of tedious research, documenting this terrible era in detail ... Despite the subject matter, the book is an easy read, full of the lives of the people who survived or perished in the labor camps.  The author creates characters who are real and imperfect and just happen to be Jewish, sealing their destiny for no other reason.  Everyone should know about this time in our history and Far Above Rubies provides an intriguing glimpse into those years we should never forget.
                              -- Conny Bryceland for
... this is a largely true story, recounted by the niece of the woman it concerns.  Polansky has used her intuition and imagination to unravel [Mieneke's] aunt's life story, and has handled this difficult tale with honesty and wisdom.  This is an uncompromising text, stark, often intensely distressing -- I have wept several times whilst reading it ... the writing style is powerful and needs no further comment ... to venture, even in the imagination into the dark places Sofie saw, takes courage.  Polansky has done something very special in creating this personal history.
                       -- Bryn Colvin for
... Polansky presents in this novel a gorgeous and haunting story of self-sacrifice and love.  Based on a real-life character whose life experiences she overheard at a Holocaust memorial, Far Above Rubies details the effect of the Holocaust on Dutch Jews, particularly those from Amsterdam ... Polansky synthesizes historical fact here with well-drawn, memorable characters in recreating scenes from Amsterdam and the camps ... Polansky's work is written with painstaking attention to grisly historical facts; this is what makes it most compelling.  Readers of other Holocaust [books] such as The Diary of Anne Frank or the work of Corrie ten Boom, will find Far Above Rubies a valuable addition to the range of voices that have been lifted before.  The title, incidentally, is from Proverbs, a story about a loving and true wife:  "Her price/Is far above rubies."  Polansky's work itself is priceless.
                              Julie Sandland for