Sunday, 22 May 2011

Vaclav & Lena: A Sweet Immigrant Coming-Of-Age Love Story

A few weeks ago I received a publicity copy of Vaclav & Lena by Haley Tanner. I was happy to receive an advance reader's copy (my first!) but was worried a bit because I like to blog about books that I love or want to read. I used to be a book publicist and appreciate that the person who sent it to me thought that I would enjoy it. But what if I didn't? 

I am happy to report that I LOVED Vaclav & Lena.  

Vaclav & Lena by Haley Tanner published by Random House Canada

The novel is a charming, sweet story about Vaclav and Lena, five-year-old Russian immigrant children who meet in an ESL class in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.

Vaclav is wise beyond his years and he and Lena who has a troubled childhood spend everyday after school together and  aspire to one day perform a special magic show.

A lot happens as they grow up and part ways, but they have a special bond that can't be broken.

The story is at times funny, sad, sweet and anyone who reads it will be charmed by Vaclav and his love for Lena. 

Vaclav's mother is also an interesting character. She is tough on the outside but her weakness for Lena demonstrates that that she has a big heart. 

There are quite a few surprises and as the secrets and mystery of Lena's past were slowly revealed, it became really hard to put the book down.

I'm surprised that this  is Haley Tanner's first novel, she is definitely a writer to watch.

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