Ami Sands Brodoff ’s novel The White Space Between is a family story of love, fear, and the secrets of the past. It centers on a mother, Jane, who is a Holocaust survivor, and her adult daughter, Willow, a puppeteer. Jane is determined to shelter Willow from the past and does not talk about the war; Willow does not even know who her father is. Her only clue to her mother’s past is a photo album of Prague, where Jane lived before the war — a book of memories. Jane lies to Willow about her past and her father, until both women find themselves in Montreal, where Jane first settled after the war. She has come back to take part in a Witness program, and it is finally time to tell her story. As the narrative travels back and forth through time, the reader witnesses a coming of age — or maybe coming to terms — for both mother and daughter. We see Jane as a young woman, forced to keep secrets in the camps. Willow softens; their relationship changes and deepens. The characters are the strength of this novel. Jane and Willow are three dimensional women, with strong motivations and fears. Jane’s determination to hold back the truth is powerful, but eventually, the yearning for genuineness and love takes over. This moving story offers the reader a promise of hope, a bridge between the past and the present, a story of family and love and finding a voice.
Sarah Aronson holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She is a full time writer and has recently published her first novel, Head Case (Roaring Brook) for young adults. Sara blogs every Thursday for the Lilith blog.