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In the Shadow of the Greenbrier - enjoyable historical fiction combined with actual events that you may not know happened.

The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, is a world-class resort and National Historic Landmark set among West Virginia’s majestic Allegheny Mountains. It is the setting of this multigenerational historical novel about the Zelner family. In the early 1900s, Sol Zelner, a Jewish immigrant from Lithuania, came to America and went from a peddler to the owner of a dry goods store near the famed resort. By 1942, his daughter Sylvia is helping to run the store and is struggling as a mother and wife. To help the government, the resort becomes an internment camp for German and Italian diplomats. Sylvia finds herself getting close to one of them. When the story shifts to 1959, Sylvia’s teenage daughter Doree hears terrible rumors about her mother. And in 1992, Doree’s son Jordan, a reporter for the Washington Post, heads to the Greenbrier with a tip about a long-hidden secret about the resort. Will the mystery about the Greenbrier also unveil the secrets of the Zelner family?

Author Emily Matchar has done a fine job combining fact and fiction in In the Shadow of the Greenbrier. While the Zelner family is fiction, they represent those Jewish immigrants who ventured outside of the major cities and settled in places where they were complete outsiders. The Greenbrier comes to life in this book – it is so well described. And it is true that it was turned into what was essentially a luxury prison during WWII. While it took a bit of time to keep track of all the characters in each of the four generations, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. You’re sure to be googling afterwards – a sign of good historical fiction.

Many thanks to Penguin Group | G.P. Putnam's Sons for the opportunity to read this book in advance.

Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

Historical Fiction.

March 12, 2024.

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