Time. What is it? We all know the answer to that question: twenty-four hours per day; each and every day of our lives. There is no rhyme-or-reason for this. But for Aaron Cohen, time wasn’t exactly time. You see, one day he was a functioning man of age 32, living in 2016. Suddenly his idyllic life was interrupted when, in a sudden taxi crash, his loving wife and three-year-old daughter were taken from him. Imagine! Living the life of Riley—and the next...
He found himself in 1936. He found and adopted an Afro-American 10-year-old girl named Penny. These two would continue to live out their lives in 1936. But there was history upcoming—a war and a Holocaust. Aaron is aware of history to come. He now has two missions, and a responsibility—to prevent the destruction of six million Jews and a new life—with his daughter.
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I loved the story * concept *. It was a delightful and charming story. The surrounding scenery was very well described allowing the reader to visualize what the areas looked like. All of the characters were well described. I was pleased to find story family oriented with strong and loving family bonds as well as having great moral values. I do have some mixed opinions and strong disappointments in the story as a whole that I will detail later. In April 2016 we find Aaron Cohen. He is Jewish, 32 years old, happily married to Miriam, with a 3 year old daughter, Rose, that he adores. He is living his dream life, until his life is altered by tragedy. Mysteriously he is swept back in time to 1936! The story continues through Aaron's life in 1936 [one must live in whatever time and place they exist right?]. Aaron finds a 10 year old negro girl on his apartment doorstep and discovers, to his horror, that her mother has abandoned her! He takes Penny into his home and into his heart. He later adopts Penny. They do face the obstacles of a 1930s racist America. It was unheard of [unspoken of] to dare to have a blended family in the 1930s! I'm glad the story did not dwell on these issues – merely mentioning that they occurred and giving only small examples in the story. Aaron builds a “new” dream life with his adopted daughter Penny. He desperately wants to warn America of the coming Holocaust! Circumstances seem to offer Aaron the opportunity to do so. Then the fates intervene once again. As a whole, as I mentioned earlier, I have very mixed opinions of this book. I loved the actual story CONCEPT.... BUT... I did not like the 3rd person writing, nor the author constantly reminding me as in Chapter 3, “you're reading a book”. The author kept interjecting himself into the story and I found it very ANNOYING! At first I thought this book was suggested for Middle School aged children, so maybe the author could get away with interjecting his narration into the story. But I now notice that Netgally lists it's category as Historical Fiction. So, I'm back to annoying and childish narration. My primary concern with this book, and it's a deal breaker: I was very disappointed [disgusted] that the author REPEATEDLY inserts his own personal political opinion of the 2016 Presidential candidate [name calling – Trump bashing] into this otherwise charming story. There is NO place or reason for this in the book! I was so mad and disgusted that I almost threw my kindle across the room! *WITHOUT* the repeated Trump bashing or the author's very left-biased political opinions, I WOULD HAVE recommended this book for Middle School age children. But NOT as the book is now written! I'm sorry to say I can not recommend this book to ANYONE due to the forced inclusion of the author's UNWANTED political opinions. WRITE BETTER NEXT TIME. Please leave your political opinions in your own heart. The story concept alone: Fabulous. The author's injecting himself into the story and forcing his left-wing political opinion on the reader: EPIC FAIL ! Thank you netgally for the opportunity to read and give my honest review of this book
From the start, I would say it was the narration that I found the most interesting concept of this book. It was written in third person format, but I wouldn't say it was normal third person narration by any means. It was written as if I was being spoken to by the narrator. For example: 'Let's not forget the diary, folks." and "Let's examine a bit. He fell down the stairs, cracked his head maybe?...". Now do you see my point about the narration. Interesting perspective. I did enjoy it though. It was as if I was sitting in a cosy lounge being told a story by a friend. I guess you could say, Gary Chattman became a friend as he told my a story about man who ended up back in time. Now back in time... That was even presented a little different from the normal time travel book. He went back in time to exactly the same apartment, but with the 'things' were different. He had a daughter in 2016 (until an accident) and in the past he adopted a daughter. Things fell into place as though he had always been there... in both places. It was an interesting take on time travel. What did impress me was all the historical events spoken of. I was left thinking it would actually be a good school reader book. So, over all I enjoyed this for the interesting take on narration, time travel, and history. I don't exactly know where the author took me, from the beginning to the end of the story. But, I did venture into the story and through different time spans. I was left smiling and thinking. A book is good if it leaves you thinking.
I give the book 3.5/5 pennies. As the title would suggest, this book sort of speak of miracles and of second chances. If it were you, how would you go about receiving pennies from heaven? Aaron Cohen, the main character in this story is having the time of life. With a loving wife and a cute three-year old daughter, he could not ask for more. Until, a tragic accident took the lives of the love of his life. How will he live the rest of his life with the emptiness and void left by her wife and child assaulting him from every corner? This is a story of tragedy, a miracle and then a second chance. If you were Aaron Cohen, you would go crazy with all the experiences and emotions he has to go through but the end is the best of all. A life far more than he have expected. I ended up wishing something of the same sort of incident or miracle would happen to me. That in some bizarre way, the universe will give me a reason for waking up each morning and go on with life, even if it's more tempting to just sleep and wake up in the next century or never at all. The story also has an aspect of time travel. And the most unique of all is the narrator. In some way, I found him annoying yet informative and the way he emphasized some of the important facts and events in the story, helps the readers remember the very relevant details. Though, the story is at times bordering on monotonous and has a lulling quality that might put you to sleep, it also has a magical quality that redeems it. How the story ended was even more surreal but it worked and I would have never wanted for any other way for it to end. Aaron Cohen was devastated and broken and by some miracle of sorts, ended up finding the strength to go on. If I were him, even if the succeeding events in my life seemed like an episode from The Twilight Zone, I would do the same thing he did. Hold on to that piece of string that will help me get out of the fog and the dark. A little spark of hope can go a long way. And Aaron did not just get one penny that dropped on his doorstep but more. I give the book 3.5/5 pennies. This is a very unique story of loss, time travel, magic, miracles and second chances rolled into one. At the end of the story, you will wish that like Aaron Cohen you will fall unconscious and wake up in a brand new life and start over again. People are prejudiced because they are bad people; they need to pick on someone different than themselves to make them feel better. - Gary Chattman, Pennies from Heaven - Thank you, Netgalley and Black Rose Writing, for the copy.