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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Book Review ‘Margot’ by Jillian Cantor


What if Anne Frank’s sister, Margot, lived and made the journey to begin a new life in The United States? Furthermore, delving deeper into speculation, Anne Frank mentioned her older sister also kept a diary, what would we learn from Margot’s perspective if her diary surfaced?

In fact, three years older than her younger, more famous sister, Margot Betti Frank lived with her parents Otto and Edith along with her younger sister the beloved Anne Frank. School records reveal Margot was an excellent student, additionally, in her diary, Anne claimed that her sister was better-behaved and more thoughtful than herself.

Through war records, but primarily, because of Anne Frank’s diary, we know the family went into hiding in response to 16-year-old Margot’s receipt of deportation orders from the Gestapo. Hence, the Frank family along with Fritz Pfeffer and three members of the Van Pelt family remained in hiding for two years. Ultimately, betrayed and arrested by the Gestapo, their betrayer, Tonny Ahler, reportedly escaped capture.

Although it is likely a far-fetched hypotheses’, Jillian Cantor, created a sensitive, well-meaning, and educated speculative story about Margot’s life in Pennsylvania after her escape from the concentration camp. Like many refugees, upon arrival and until she could be self-supportive, Margot lived with a sponsor family.

Though it was often half-hearted, in this work of fiction, Margot attempted to erase all indications of her former life from her new assumed identity as Margie Franklin, the Christian, legal secretary. In effect, on the surface, it seems to work for a few years, but as is reality, the past serendipitously intersects with the present and suddenly she must deal with the circumstances from her former life to move on with her new life.

In a way, Jillian Cantor’s Margot Frank is a representation of any or all of the women that did escape or avoided the grip of the Gestapo during WWII.  It is a fantastic story of hope, strength, and human struggle. Written by an author with care and sensitivity and that clearly understood the task she embarked upon.

I highly recommend the audio version of Margot as voice narrator; Rachel Botchan’s performance, adds another layer of intimacy with the character. 

Published by Riverhead books is available at Amazon, Audible, and other book retailers.    

Review by Sammy Sutton