Friday, September 12, 2014

A Review of Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion

By Kim,

Synopsis (from the book jacket):

A war bride awaits the arrival of her GI husband at the platform…

A Holocaust survivor works at the Oyster Bar, where a customer reminds him of his late mother…

A Hollywood hopeful anticipates her first screen test and a chance at stardom in the Kissing Room…

On any particular day, thousands upon thousands of people pass through New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, through the whispering gallery, beneath the ceiling of stars, and past the information booth and its beckoning four-faced clock, to whatever destination is calling them. It is a place where people come to say hello and goodbye. And each person has a story to tell.

Now, ten bestselling authors inspired by this iconic landmark have created their own stories, set on the same day just after the end of World War II, in a time of hope, uncertainty, change, and renewal…

About the authors:

Melanie Benjamin is the NYT bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife
Jenna Blum is the NYT bestselling author of Those Who Save Us
Amanda Hodgkinson is the NYT bestselling author of 22 Britannia Road
Pam Jenoff is the bestselling author of The Kommandant’s Girl
Sarah Jio is the NYT bestselling author of Blackberry Winter
Sarah McCoy is the bestselling author of The Baker’s Daughter
Kristina McMorris is the NYT bestselling author of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves
Alyson Richman is the bestselling author of The Lost Wife
Erika Robuck is the critically acclaimed author of Call Me Zelda
Karen White is the NYT bestselling author of The Time Between


I don’t remember the last time I picked up an anthology of short stories, but this one I could not resist. First off, look at that list of authors, several of whom are among my favorites. Second, all the stories take place just after WWII, which is a major selling point with me. Third, I’m in love with the cover.

Let’s talk about that cover a moment, actually, because if a reader were to judge this book solely on its cover, that person may be in for a disappointment. As the title promises, there are love stories in this volume. Not all love stories end well. There are also tales of reunion, though some reunions are more nightmare than bliss.

Grand Central is not a light read. This is a volume filled with stories that made me swoon, filled me with rage, brought on tears, and made me want to reach into the pages to alternately shake and hug a certain character who was about to put herself and her child in terrible danger. (Erika Robuck, I’m looking at you.)

One of the most wonderful things about this collection is that while all the stories could stand on their own, this book was clearly a collaborative effort. That violinist playing in Jenna Blum’s “The Lucky One?” The reader will recognize Gregori from Alyson Richman’s “Going Home.” In Karen White’s “The Harvest Season,” Ginny will see a young woman run through Grand Central calling out the name David. The reader will know that is Ella from Pam Jenoff’s “Strand of Pearls” and, like me, will likely pray she finds her David. Finding connections between the stories became a fun game to play while I read and it certainly kept me from setting the book down often.

Have you read Grand Central? I’d love to know your thoughts.

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