World War II is devastating Romania, and the Jews and Roma are being targeted for extermination by the government, allied with the Nazis. Tsura, a young gypsy girl, finds herself forced to accept marriage to Mihai, a Nazi collaborator, in order to save her family, and her lover, Andrei, a Jew. As the war rages, and Tsura adapts to her sham marriage, she learns that Mihai has been leading a secret life in an effort to atone for his father’s sins.
Tsura by Heather Anastasiu is a tale of war and love, set against the backdrop of wartime Romania, allied with the Germans as a protective shield against the Russians who covet Romanian territory. This compelling story explores the actions and feelings of people caught in a seemingly no-win situation, a small nation caught between two equally undesirable situations, fighting to survive. The growth of the characters, as they come to terms with their situations, is profound. The author has done a fantastic job of showing the potentially devastating effect of war on human relationships, and the way that different people respond to desperate circumstances.
This novel ends on something of a cliffhanger, but in this instance, the author can be forgiven, for the cliffhanger ends one chapter in the main characters’ lives and sets the stage for even more chilling events to come.
I give it four stars.