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  • She Writes Press News: Announcing The Sweetness by Sande Boritz Berger
This blog was featured on 08/27/2016
She Writes Press News: Announcing The Sweetness by Sande Boritz Berger
Written by
Cait Levin
February 2014
Written by
Cait Levin
February 2014

Early in The Sweetness, a young girl asks her grandmother why she is carrying only a jug of sliced lemons and ice water when their family is forced by the Germans to leave their home. "Something sour to remind me of the days of sweetness," she tells the child, setting the theme for what they both must remember in order to survive.

Set during World War II, the novel is the parallel tale of two Jewish girls, cousins living on separate continents, whose strikingly different lives promise to one day connect and converge. Brooklyn-born Mira is the eighteen-year-old daughter of Charles Kane, a hard-working, successful manufacturer of women’s knitwear. Her cousin, eight-year-old Rosha Kaninsky, is the lone survivor of a family in Lithuania exterminated by the invading Nazis. But unbeknownst to her American relatives, Rosha did not perish, unlike nearly all the Jewish population of Vilna the summer of 1941. Desperate to save Rosha during a round-up of their shtetl, her father thrusts her into the arms of Marta Juraska, a Polish Catholic candle maker, who hides the girl in a root cellar─putting her own children at risk. Marta’s husband, Avram─a Jew─is a member of the Judencrat, the council that answers to the Nazis. But when Avram is forced to make a moral choice, everything changes.

Meanwhile, the headstrong Mira—who dreams of escaping Brooklyn for career as a Hollywood fashion designer—finds her ambitions abruptly thwarted. Her father Charles, traumatized at the fate of his European relatives, will brook no dissent in safeguarding his family from the threats of the outside world. All the Kanes must challenge his unuttered but profoundly injurious survivor guilt. They endure the experience of the Jews who got out, revealing how even, in the safety of our lives, we are profoundly affected by the circumstances of others.

After nearly two decades as a scriptwriter and video producer for Fortune 500 companies, Sande Boritz Berger returned to her first passion: writing fiction and nonfiction full time. She completed an MFA in Writing and Literature at Stony Brook Southampton College where she was awarded The Deborah Hecht Memorial prize for fiction. Essays and short stories have appeared in over 20 anthologies including Aunties: “Thirty-Five Writers Celebrate Their Other Mother” by Ballantine, and “Ophelia’s Mom” by Crown. Her novel, The Sweetness, was a semi-finalist in Amazon’s yearly Breakthrough Novel Awards. Sande lives in Manhattan with her husband and has two daughters. Please visit her blog and website at www.sandeboritzberger.com

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