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Margot: a Novel Paperback – September 3, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What if Anne Frank's sister Margot, instead of dying in Auschwitz, had survived and gone into hiding in America? Cantor's latest (after The Transformation of Things) posits this alternative scenario with a modern eye for symptoms of trauma and survivor's guilt. Wearing long sleeves even on hot days to cover her camp tattoo, Margot is passing as a gentile in 1950s America under the name Margie Franklin, avoiding both her father in Switzerland and her own tragic history. But after The Diary of Anne Frank is published by her dad and the movie version arrives in theaters, Margot's careful reconstruction of herself begins to fray. Joshua Rosenstein, the lawyer for whom she works as a secretary, asks for her help in finding Jews experiencing discrimination, further inflaming long-repressed memories. A troubled pair of love triangles figures in the book—one from Margot's teenage years in hiding and another in the law office; the first seems unfair to history and the second is a Holocaust survivor's version of Cinderella. But with Margot having been denied a happy ending in real life, Cantor is determined for her to find one here. Agent: Jessica Regel, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. (Sept.)

From Booklist

Everyone who’s read The Diary of Anne Frank knows that Anne and her sister, Margot, died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. But what if Margot didn’t die? What if she somehow survived and immigrated to Philadelphia? What if she continued to hide? That’s the premise of Cantor’s (The Transformation of Things, 2010) daring new novel. It’s 1959, after Anne’s diary has been published, and the movie made. Margot—morphed into Margie Franklin, a Christian from Poland—works for a law firm, where she pines for her altruistic Jewish boss as they take on a Jewish discrimination case. Guilt-ridden Margie’s life mirrors her attic days. She lives in a studio, eats minimally, and secretly keeps Shabbat. She covers her camp tattoo with sweaters. Throughout the book, Cantor drops a breadcrumb trail of Margot’s life outside Anne’s diary that leads to the reason why Margie covers her past. These morsels make the story believable. While Cantor occasionally overplays the drama (Margie is always tugging down her sweater sleeves), ultimately this story of sisterly rivalry, sacrifice, and love survives and thrives. --Laurie D. Borman
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594486433
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594486432
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jillian Cantor has a B.A. in English from Penn State University and an M.F.A. from the University of Arizona, where she was also a recipient of the national Jacob K. Javits Fellowship. The author of several books for teens and adults, she grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.

Visit her online at www.jilliancantor.com

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Rose McC. on September 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
I read The Diary of Anne Frank as a kid, and reading MARGOT at the ripe, old age of 46 got me thinking a lot more about not only Anne's experience, but that of her family and the family dynamics that must have been in play during their time in the attic. With two sisters, there must have been drama, even if it was beneath the surface. Did they both love Peter? Who did Peter really love, if either of them?

Because of Anne's diary, all the attention is always on her. And as she was the youngest, I imagine that's how it was in hiding, too. How must that have felt to Margot? What would Margot think about her father publishing Anne's diary, if she had, in fact, lived? What if it had been HER diary that had been published (she kept one, too). So many questions....

The plot of Jillian Cantor's novel has Margot living and working in Philadelphia, hiding her identity from most, falling in love with her boss while at the same time wondering if Peter from the attic might have lived, too. If she did but no one knew it, mightn't he have, too? Because Anne wasn't the only one who had feelings for Peter....

I really enjoyed this novel, because it got me thinking, and it enabled me to take part in a fictional happy ending for one of the members of this family that suffered so much.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on September 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
In Philadelphia, Margie Franklin is a quiet secretary at a Jewish law firm. Yet she is hiding a secret: she is really Margot Frank, older sister to Anne, who did not die in Bergen-Belsen as was reported. She escaped the Nazis and traveled to America. She hides her concentration camp tattoo behind long sleeves and secretly practices her religion in her apartment.
Her carefully hidden life is upended when her sister Anne's diary, adapted into a movie, becomes a worldwide sensation. She is forced to face her feelings for Joshua, a Jewish lawyer at the firm, while battling survivor's guilt and coming to terms with her past.
I absolutely loved this book. I knew nothing about Margot Frank before reading it--I barely remembered Anne had a sister--but after reading the book, I was grateful that Jillian Cantor had brought her into the spotlight. The book is an emotional, resonant, and relevant examination of how we can move past tragedy to find hope and happiness.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Cunningham TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Jillian Cantor's MARGOT is the fictionalized story of what might have happened to Anne Frank's older sister, Margot, had she survived the Holocaust. In the novel, Margot is living in Philadelphia in 1959, working as a secretary to a lawyer named Joshua Rosenstein. She calls herself Margie Franklin, denies her Jewish heritage (although she secretly lights the Shabbat candles on Friday evenings), and wears sweaters even on sweltering summer days to hide the numbers the Nazis tattooed on her left arm. As she explains it, Margie has put on a "second skin" so that she's still in hiding, even though the annex where she and her family hid from the Nazis is years in the past. It is hinted throughout the novel that something horrible happened on her last day with Anne, something she can't forgive herself for, something that has left her afraid and guilty and alone. When she finds herself falling for her boss, Joshua, she must come to terms not only with what happened in the past, but with who she really is.

While I admire Cantor's prose, and I quickly found myself engaged with Margie's story, the book felt so much like a Young Adult romance that I had trouble seeing Margie as an adult woman in her thirties, much less a Holocaust survivor. Huge sections of the novel are focused on Margie's love for Peter von Pels, the teenage boy who shared her annex confinement back in the 1940's. Anne Frank's diary suggested that there was a relationship between Peter and Anne, but here Margie states that it was she, and not the younger Anne, that Peter fell in love with. Margie claims that she and Peter made secret plans, before the Nazis discovered them, to change their names and move to Philadelphia, where they would get married and put the past (and their Jewish heritage) behind them.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jamie Cox Robertson on September 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
In a world full of so much noise and thoughtless rhetoric, it's nice to read a quiet, thoughtful novel. In Jillian Cantor's new novel Margot, readers are given the have the opportunity to ask `what if?' What if Margot Frank, Anne Frank's sister had escaped the concentration camp? What if she had moved to America and started a new life under a new name? Cantor steps inside these sets of `what if's and explores the possibilities with great authenticity and eloquence. The writing is subtle, careful and true to the intricate layers of human nature and a woman's desires.

The novel opens in 1959 when the movie, The Diary of Anne Frank, comes out in theatres and it seems as though everyone except Margot has seen the film and love to talk about it. Margie Franklin, the American name Margot Frank has given her American self, does not want to see the movie nor does she want to talk about it. She doesn't want to talk about her sister's diary at all; even more, she doesn't want anyone finding out that Anne Frank is her sister. But as her life in American settles in and she builds relationships in her new world, Margot finds herself at a crossroads and she has to ask herself: How much of Margot Frank is she really willing to give up? Should she spend the rest of her life lying to those she's come to trust? And what about love? Is it possible to love and man and be loved by him without revealing her true identity?
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