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Find

Me

Agai

n

Books in

Canada

Despite

Find Me

Again’s

cover

notes I

was

unprepar

ed for

the

engrossi

ng

journey

over two

centuries

on which

I was to

accompa

ny the

author.

This is

Warsh’s

second

novel, a

sequel to

the well

regarded

To Die in

Spring,

and

once

again its

central

characte

r is Dr.

Rebecca

Temple.

Rebecca

’s

husband

has

been

dead

eleven

months,

too short

a time for

her to

reconcile

herself to

this

tragedy

and the

opening

chapters

are

suitably

poignant

and

melanch

oly. Her

relations

hip with

Sarah,

her

Mother-

in-Law,

is

someho

w stilted

and

mostly at

arms

length

emotion

ally.

Sarah

has

justificati

on for

her

reluctanc

e to

commit

to a

warmer

relations

hip; her

experien

ce as a

Holocau

st

survivor

in

occupied

Poland

makes

her a

victim of

dark and

distressi

ng

nightmar

es. The

horrors

of the

Holocau

st are a

necessar

y and

integral

ingredie

nt of this

tale and

this

aspect is

handled

with

great

sensitivit

y by

Warsh.

We are

diverted

from

Rebecca

’s

sadness

with the

arrival of

Halina,

an old

friend of

Sarah’s,

who has

come

from

Commun

ist

Poland

to

Toronto

in the

hope of

finding a

cure for

her

daughter

Natalka’

s serious

illness.

Through

these

visitors

we are

introduc

ed to

Count

Michael

Oginski,

a larger

than life

charmer,

describe

d with

affection

by

Warsh

and

John

Baron,

another

Polish

émigré,

who is

the

martinet

owner of

the

mining

company

that the

Count

now

works for

in

Toronto.

The

Count

tells

Rebecca

with

great

enthusia

sm of the

historical

novel

that he is

writing,

which,

he

claims,

will

revise

current

understa

nding of

history

and

confirm

his royal

ancestry.

  A

surprisin

g

develop

ment

soon

follows:

There is

a murder

and we

are

introduc

ed to two

mysterie

s-one set

in the

late

1970s,

the other

in the

mid

1740s.

While

Rebecca

strives to

identify a

murderer

in

Toronto,

believing

that the

Count’s

manuscri

pt

contains

the

answer,

Warsh

transport

s us

through

history.

We

become

witnesse

s to the

often-

incestuo

us affairs

and

political

intrigues

of the

royal

courts of

Poland,

Russia,

Saxony

and

Prussia.

Rebecca

, while

searchin

g for

answers

in the

Count’s

novel,

becomes

transfixe

d by the

characte

rs and

their

machinat

ions;

there’s

plenty of

romance

, political

diplomac

y, and at

times,

plain

jostling

for better

status at

court. 

Warsh

knits the

two

mysterie

s

together

seamles

sly,

writing

convinci

ngly of

Europe

in the

1740s,

ably

capturin

g the

nuances

of the

languag

e of

those

times.

She

handles

the

transition

from one

story to

the other

deftly

until Dr.

Temple,

through

her

sheer

determin

ation

and

courage,

presents

us with

satisfyin

g and

believabl

e

solutions

to both

conundr

ums. 

The

author,

while

raised in

Toronto,

was born

in

Germany

, a child

of

Holocau

st

survivors

, and has

an

obvious

empathy

for those

who

lived

through

those

events;

she has

successf

ully put

that

understa

nding to

use in

this

excellent

novel.

Desmon

d

McNally

(Books

in

Canada)

 

The Queen of Unforgetting

Globe & Mail

At 13, Mel Montrose is plucked from a chilly lake by a large, indifferent fisherman named Tiny. This scene recurs

in variations throughout, as Mel’s life is repeatedly saved by others unwilling to let her drown. 

The subject of Mel’s dissertation is E.J. Pratt’s ambitious poem Brébeuf and His Brethren. In order to do some

field research on her thesis topic, Mel works as a tour guide at Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons. While most

PhDs rearrange their cutlery drawer, drink or clean their refrigerators for distraction, Mel writes a fictional

account of Brébeuf’s last days prior to his murder and torture, just for fun.

The anti-heroine reconnects with her parents, who own and run the only Jewish bakery in Midland, Ont. She

continues to spurn her ex, Hugh, who travels up weekly from Toronto to try to blackmail her for her love and

devotion. Mel’s deceptions and evasions eventually cause Hugh to take decisive and violent action.

Maultash Warsh tackles the loaded themes of racism, anti-Semitism, saints and sinners, and religious and

personal martyrdom in her fourth novel. The first half of the novel is quite enjoyable and quirky: There are many

lively, beautifully written and well-imagined scenes, such as Brébeuf’s encounters with the foul-mouthed,

begrudging Huron tribe and Mel’s touching relationship with her landlady’s neglected child, Dot. Such

exchanges reveal a complex Mel-cum-Malka – the drowning Queen who discovers how easy it is to forget and

how difficult it is to forgive herself.

Ibi Kaslik

The Canadian Jewish  News

Sylvia Maultash Warsh, the author of three mystery novels, now deftly turns her pen to a literary novel about a

student in Toronto researching her thesis. Although The Queen of Unforgetting is not a whodunit as her previous

acclaimed works are — she has won an Edgar Allen Poe Award — in a way, The Queen of Unforgetting is still a

mystery novel, exploring secrets that lie buried in the murky waters of the protaganist’s past. Mel decides to

spend the summer working at the reconstructed fort at Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons in order to research the

life of the Jesuit missionary Jean de Brébeuf. But Mel brings a lot more baggage with her than her typewriter and

scholarly notes. The fort is located close to her hometown of Midland, Ont., where her parents, whom she’s been

estranged from, still live. Fellow student Hugh, who's obsessed with her, follows her, threatening to

reveal information about her that could destroy her academic career. Both her parents have long-repressed

secrets and guilt from World War II buried in their past. Mel's fictional account of the Black Robes' hardships and

eventual martyrdom deep in Huron territory is described in full grisly detail and is an interesting side plot. The

massacre of the Hurons at the hands of the Iroquois  parallels the destruction of the Jews in Warsaw. As a

literary novel about an English grad student, this book is full of obvious literary devices including symbolism,

foreshadowing, mixed metaphors, water imagery and pathetic fallacy. An English teacher’s wet dream. The

Queen of Unforgetting is a well-told story that reveals its secrets slowly, with everything coming to a head in a

fast-paced climactic, bloody and, of course, highly symbolic ending. 

Joseph Serge

The Owen Sound Sun Times

Toronto’s Cormorant Press has been turning out noted novels for several decades.  It’s one of those publishers I

can rely upon for fine Canadian fiction, novels like Sylvia Maultash Warsh’s The Queen of Unforgetting.

Mel Montrose is a graduate student at the University of Toronto when she attempts to enlist the great literary

critic Northrup Frye as her thesis advisor.  Her subject is E. J. Pratt’s epic poem, Brébeuf and His Brethern.  Pratt

just happened to be Frye’s mentor and when the great man signs Mel’s advisor’s sheet, she can only exude,

“Northrop Frye/What a guy!”

Then it’s off to the newly reconstructed historical site at Sainte-Marie-among-the-Hurons at Midland where Mel,

a historical interpreter, dives into the legend and lore of the Jesuit Martyrs.  But Mel is being stalked by Hugh,

another graduate student with whom she conspired to trade sexual favours for a paper on William Blake.   When

Hugh threatens to tell all, Mel realizes that somehow she must face her wrong doings.

Like Brian Moore’s The Black Robe, The Queen of Unforgetting is steeped in the history of Huronia.  “A year

after Lalemant’s announcement,” Warsh writes, “a house stands, not quite French, not quite Huron.  It is in a

clearing where the lake flows into the little river.  To the unobservant eye, it is an Indian longhouse, but inside,

one steps into France.”

The novel is both a mystery and a history.  As the story develops, Mel finds an intersection between the

sufferings of Brébeuf and her parent’s experiences during the Second World War.  Mel, who learns the meaning

of sacrifice and truth, also finds love.  It’s a great summertime read that can be followed with a visit to Sainte-

Marie, only a few hours from Owen Sound.

Andrew Armitage

“ Told with a passionate blend of innocence, sexual persuasion, guilt, desolation and peace

…A must-read on my 2010 list.”

— The Hamilton Spectator

"Toronto writer Sylvia Maultash Warsh's move into literary fiction with The Queen of Unforgetting,

after three rich and compelling whodunits ... is a gain for anyone who appreciates

good writing of any kind."

— The Town Crier

Season of Iron

reviewingtheevidence.com

SEASON OF IRON is one of the most compelling and well-written books I have come across in years. The writer,

Sylvia Maultash Warsh, does a masterful job in describing two very diverse time periods, 1979 Toronto and

1930s Berlin. She manages to make both eras and its people come alive to interest and touch the readers.

It's a rare fiction book that can tell the story of the Holocaust while keeping respectful of the horrors that

happened. This book manages to use this dreadful time and combine it with a murder mystery to make an

outstanding example of fine writing.

This is the third in the Rebecca Temple series and the first I've read. Because it was written so well, I had no

idea this book was part of a murder mystery series until I was almost finished, it struck me as an example of solid

literary fiction, it is so well written.

I am determined to read the other books of this series and to definitely read any more books written by this

author.     

Reviewed by Sharon Katz

Hamilton Spectator

Season of Iron is a compelling mystery novel about the enduring legacy of Holocaust pain. Two parallel stories,

decades apart, converge at the book's climax like the lines of a road that meet and seem to vanish at the horizon

in a painting.

But the pain doesn't disappear into the sunset. It festers into a guilt-driven rage that results in murder.

Season of Iron is not a light entertaining read. Warsh's descriptive skill evokes such crushing images that,

combined with the powerful story line, I found the intensity almost overwhelming.

Dr. Rebecca Temple becomes involved with the life and murder of a schizophrenic homeless woman. Her

investigations are complicated by the birth of her sister's fourth baby.

The young mother finds life completely swamped by the needs of yet another child. Temple discovers the

desolate reality of where there is birth, there is not always joy and where there is death, there can be renewal.

In alternating chapters, the story follows a Jewish family's descent into the hell of the Nazi regime. You know

what's going to happen to them as you follow them from hope to exile to the Final Solution, but the inevitable

result and the disturbing climax make you wish you could reach into the pages and shake out something better.

The climax is satisfying but sad.

Don Graves

newmysteryreader.com

The complications will keep you reading as the tightly woven tales of two women converge. Surprises are in

store for the reader as well as the well drawn characters. Will Rebecca identify the killer and his motive?  How

did she get involved? These are two of the many questions you'll want answered.

This is a book I am pleased to highly recommend to any reader, not just mystery fans.  You will have to know

how it ends.  Talented author Sylvia Maultash Warsh has written a tale you may want to read more than once. 

An old history given new life and meaning serves as the backdrop for Frieda's tale and you'll live every

frightening moment, making this a history lesson you won't soon forget.  Enjoy.  I sure did.

Anne K. Edwards

“Masterful novel links Toronto and Berlin”

The Gazette

As events unfold in 1979 Toronto, alternate chapters narrate the story of the Eisenbaums, Jewish Berliners who

watch disbelievingly as the Nazis systematically divest them of their rights. Daughter Frederika, bright and

driven, manages to qualify as a physician only to lose her licence.

Toronto author Sylvia Maultash Warsh, the child of Holocaust survivors, has produced a sensitive and masterful

mystery with this latest installment in the Rebecca Temple series. By writing the Eisenbaum chapters in the

present tense, Maultash Warsh gives the family's persecution a moving immediacy, and the link between the

Toronto and Berlin plots is exacting and credible.

Find Me Again

Books in Canada

Despite Find Me Again’s cover notes I was unprepared for the engrossing journey over two centuries on which I

was to accompany the author. This is Warsh’s second novel, a sequel to the well regarded To Die in Spring, and

once again its central character is Dr. Rebecca Temple.  

Rebecca’s husband has been dead eleven months, too short a time for her to reconcile herself to this tragedy

and the opening chapters are suitably poignant and melancholy. Her relationship with Sarah, her Mother-in-

Law, is somehow stilted and mostly at arms length emotionally. Sarah has justification for her reluctance to

commit to a warmer relationship; her experience as a Holocaust survivor in occupied Poland makes her a victim

of dark and distressing nightmares. The horrors of the Holocaust are a necessary and integral ingredient of this

tale and this aspect is handled with great sensitivity by Warsh.

We are diverted from Rebecca’s sadness with the arrival of Halina, an old friend of Sarah’s, who has come from

Communist Poland to Toronto in the hope of finding a cure for her daughter Natalka’s serious illness. Through

these visitors we are introduced to Count Michael Oginski, a larger than life charmer, described with affection by

Warsh and John Baron, another Polish émigré, who is the martinet owner of the mining company that the Count

now works for in Toronto. The Count tells Rebecca with great enthusiasm of the historical novel that he is

writing, which, he claims, will revise current understanding of history and confirm his royal ancestry.   A

surprising development soon follows: There is a murder and we are introduced to two mysteries-one set in the

late 1970s, the other in the mid 1740s. While Rebecca strives to identify a murderer in Toronto, believing that the

Count’s manuscript contains the answer, Warsh transports us through history. We become witnesses to the

often-incestuous affairs and political intrigues of the royal courts of Poland, Russia, Saxony and Prussia.

Rebecca, while searching for answers in the Count’s novel, becomes transfixed by the characters and their

machinations; there’s plenty of romance, political diplomacy, and at times, plain jostling for better status at court. 

Warsh knits the two mysteries together seamlessly, writing convincingly of Europe in the 1740s, ably capturing

the nuances of the language of those times. She handles the transition from one story to the other deftly until Dr.

Temple, through her sheer determination and courage, presents us with satisfying and believable solutions to

both conundrums. 

The author, while raised in Toronto, was born in Germany, a child of Holocaust survivors, and has an obvious

empathy for those who lived through those events; she has successfully put that understanding to use in this

excellent novel.

Desmond McNally

(Books in Canada)

To Die In Spring

After the recent death of her artist husband, it's not all raisins and almonds in the relocated and refurbished

consulting room of Dr. Rebecca Temple in downtown Toronto. There was nothing in Rebecca's past to prepare

her for the headlong lethal drama that walked innocently into her waiting room in the guise of harmless old

Goldie Kochinsky. From Goldie, Dr. Temple learned, to her pain, that even paranoids have enemies. With the

unrelenting pace of a jack-hammer, the suspense and horror combine to keep the pressure on full, while

Argentine heavies and a relentless murderer stop at nothing in their attempts to keep the lid on a whole

Pandora's box of secrets going back to the death camps of Poland in the Second World War. This is the sort of

novel that sells the sequel as you turn the pages of the present most accomplished introduction.

Howard Engel

Author of the "Benny Cooperman" mysteries

"...To Die in Spring is Torontonian Sylvia Warsh's first published mystery and it's a good deal better than the

work of many veterans. It's also set up as a kickoff to a promising series featuring Dr. Rebecca Temple, a young

widow recovering from the early death of her beloved artist husband.

...The novel is set in 1979, which puts it in temporal reach of the Second World War as well as the horrors of

Argentina, where many Nazis and some surviving Jews fled after the war. Warsh handles fairly deftly the now-

historical issues, putting them into the terms and mouths of characters who display the full range of greed and

obsession required to play out her plot.

...Warsh, who teaches creative writing to seniors in Toronto, does a fine job of unwrapping mysterious identities

until both sins and crimes lie satisfactorily revealed."

Joan Barfoot

The London Free Press

"...Warsh writes sensitively about the persecution of the Jews, and she shows convincingly how the actions of

the past are not discrete-they have monumental effects on the present and future. And Warsh is even-handed in

her treatment of human nature by making villains whose evil is not based in religion, but in greed.

...Somehow Warsh manages to pull off the combination of oppressed and oppressors, while adding in losses of

love and life. In tying the threads of the mystery together, in the conclusion Warsh gives her characters and her

readers hope that the positive side of human beings will prevail."

Candice Fertile

The Edmonton Journal

"It's cause for celebration when another Canadian mystery writer has confidence enough to set a novel in a

Canadian city instead of somewhere real or fictional in the USA. Especially when the latest American trend has

been to use Britain as a setting and a nobleman, a la Peter Wimsey, as detective. When novels like Sylvia

Maultash Warsh's To Die in Spring appear, I am delighted to be on my home turf in a believable world."

Susan Evans Shaw

701.com