Summary:In the spring of 1959, The Diary of Anne Frank has just come to the silver screen to great acclaim, and a young woman named Margie Franklin is working in Philadelphia as a secretary at a Jewish law firm. On the surface she lives a quiet life, but Margie has a secret: a life she once lived, a past and a religion she has denied, and a family and a country she left behind.
Margie Franklin is really Margot Frank, older sister of Anne, who did not die in Bergen-Belsen as reported, but who instead escaped the Nazis for America. But now, as her sister becomes a global icon, Margie’s carefully constructed American life begins to fall apart. A new relationship threatens to overtake the young love that sustained her during the war, and her past and present begin to collide. Margie is forced to come to terms with Margot, with the people she loved, and with a life swept up into the course of history.
And let us not forget Margot, who kept her own diary, which was never found.
– Miep Gies
While I really enjoyed Cantor’s Searching for Sky, I absolutely fell head over heels for her historical retelling Margot. Margot hit me on a much more personal and emotional level than her other novel did, as well as leaving me with a lot to think about too.
If you’ve read Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, you’ll remember that Anne has an older sister named Margot, who has somewhat been forgotten in history in place of her vivacious younger sister’s famous diary.
Margot is a historical “what-if” retelling about Margot (surprise, surprise!). Margie Franklin is a young lawyer with a secret: she’s really Margot Frank and has made a new life for herself in the United States. When her sister’s diary is published and begins gaining popularity, Margie is forced to come to terms with the young girl she used to be.
One of the things I loved most about this novel was the way Jillian Cantor crafted Margie. You can see how daftly Margie is struggling to forget the horrors of the war and the concentration camps, so much so that she pretends to be a Christian lawyer. She’s layered in layers and layers of secrets and lies, so much so that she doesn’t know what’s real anymore.
I am good at keeping secrets. I am wrapped in them now, the way I am wrapped in lies, like my sweater, clinging tightly to my skin, even on the hottest of days.
The character growth in Margie is pheonominal. She goes through a 180 character-wise and your heart really reaches out to hear as she learns to accept her past.
Told in heart-poundingly beautiful prose with a unique and unforgettable narrative voice, Margot is truly one of a kind, and as someone who was truly touched by Anne’s diary, it adds a wonderful extra layer to the original story.