Monday, June 13, 2016

Review: Fever At Dawn by Peter Gardos

Twenty-five-year-old Holocaust survivor Miklós is being shipped from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp to Gotland, Sweden, to receive treatment at the Larbro Hospital. Here he is sentenced to death again: he is diagnosed with tuberculosis and his doctors inform him that he has six months to live. But Miklós decides to wage war on his own fate: he writes 117 letters to 117 Hungarian girls, all of whom are being treated in the Swedish camps, with the aim of eventually choosing a wife from among them.

Two hundred kilometres away, in another Swedish rehabilitation camp, nineteen-year-old Lili receives Miklós’s letter. Since she is bedridden for three weeks due to a serious kidney problem, out of boredom — and curiosity — she decides to write back.

The slightly formal exchange of letters becomes increasingly intimate. When the two finally manage to meet, they fall in love and are determined to marry, despite the odds that are against them.

Based on the original letters written by Miklós and Lili (ninety-six altogether), Fever at Dawn is a tale of passion, striving, and betrayal; true and false friendships; doubt and faith; and the redeeming power of love.

Rating: 3 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a heartbreaking and heartwarming tale; it all depended on where you were in the story.

I thought it rather interesting to follow Mikos as he searched for a wife. His determination not to listen to his doctor's diagnosis, especially after all he'd been through, was amazing. I suppose he figured, after surviving the camps and forced labor, why listen to Death?

The story was interesting and I liked it when the story actually focused on the developments between Mikos and Lili, but there was an awful lot of dead space, if you'll pardon the term. The first fifty percent of the book was fairly fast paced, but after that I found myself skimming quite a lot.

I think I am rating it so high because, like I said, the first half was very good and the story of the main characters was intriguing. Letter writing can be very intimate and it is a dying art. That Mikos and Lili found each other at all is a miracle; that Peter came to be to share their story is another.

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