Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion by Jenna Blum book review

Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion by Jenna Blum

My rating: 5 of 5 stars ★★★★★
Genre: Historical, Short stories, WWII
Source: Purchased

I love anthologies. I love being introduced to new authors and their storytelling. There are always some short stories that I’m glad are short, and some that I wish were the length of an entire book.

And this anthology was, hands down, one of my favorites I’ve ever read. It focuses on the lives of people after WWII, centered around Grand Central Station in New York City.

I’ve read a lot of books about WWII. I would say it’s one of my favorite subjects, which might make me sound like I have a cold heart. And maybe I do. Muah-ha-ha.

But not really. I’m nice.

I love books based on WWII because I love seeing how people reacted to the most difficult situations that I can possibly imagine. The physical difficulties were there, and so was the heartbreak. Broken hearts, broken families, broken people. Some of it is traumatizing to read so living through it must have been unimaginable.

But that’s why we read, isn’t it? To live someone else’s life.

Back to this anthology: These stories are about people after the war. After the camps, after the bloody battles, after the desperation of war. I loved this because all the WWII books I’ve read are about people during the war. Which, of course, is where the action happened, but I’m always curious to know how people felt when it was all over.

How did they hide the numbers tattooed along their forearms? How did they close their eyes at night when all they see are their friends dying around them? How do they sleep comfortably at night when they lived so long with panic in their hearts?

That being said, these stories are quick to read and almost all of them are very well-written. Some of the stories are better than others. The good ones present very interesting plots with dynamic characters. In just a few pages, I’d become attached to these characters and wish I could read a few hundred pages about them.

The best stories (in my opinion) were:
1. The Lucky One by Jenna Blum
2. The Branch of Hazel by Sarah McCoy
3. Strand of Pearls by Pam Jenoff
4. The Harvest Season by Karen White

These stories were just so good. I would read 10 more books just like this one.

As a side note, the term “love and reunion” on the cover is used very loosely. I was prepared for stories of romance and love, but the “love and reunion” in this book was ambiguous at best. Still, I enjoyed this book and did not hold it against the authors at all for not adhering to the romance alluded to in the title.

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