In 1930s Poland, the economy is crumbling, the government is in chaos, and Jewish groups argue over how best to deal with the worsening situation. Among them are the Guardsmen, daring and organized young Zionists who are determined to start a new life in Palestine.
A SUITABLE HUSBAND brings this vibrant period alive with the story of Bianca Lieber, caught between the pressure to marry Alex, the intelligent but staid doctor presented by the matchmaker, and Wolf, the intrepid Zionist leader who can help her get to Palestine.
PRAISE FOR A SUITABLE HUSBAND
“…A compelling and superbly written page-turner…With engaging characters, appealing subplots, and a fascinating historical background…A Suitable Husband is a highly satisfying read…” Long Island Woman Magazine
“…Lerner is a master at moving from the unsettling political scene to the equally unsettling turmoil of young love…” Karen Casey Fitzjerrell, EPIC award winning author.
“…A stunning portrayal of the changing social and political climate of 1930s Poland …” -Les Edgerton, author of nine novels including Just Like That and Hooked
Book Club Discussion Questions
- There are many books about the Holocaust, but fewer about the pre-war years in Poland. Were you surprised by the Polish Antisemitism that pre-dated the Nazi invasion?
- How did your perspective, as a reader who knows what the future holds, affect your reading of the novel?
- The novel focuses on one Zionist group, the Guardsmen, and contrasts it with the Bund. Do you think you’d have belonged to one or the other, had you lived at the time? Or would you have adopted Alex’s attitude of living as best you could in the face of discrimination?
- Minna and Hannah, both expressed the thought that the Zionists could live peaceably with the Arabs. Why?
- Who would you have chosen? Alex or Wolf? Who made a more “suitable husband” for Bianca? Why?
- How would you describe Wolf’s relationship with Hanna? Why did Hanna suggest Bianca for Hakshara?
- Bianca’s interest in Zionism seems connected with Wolf. If not for him, do you think she would have still wanted to go to Palestine? In Chapter 8, she says, “…the goal was Palestine, not him (Wolf).” Do you believe her?
- How was Celia different than Felicia, in Natan’s eyes? Have you had your own Celia, or Felicia (or male counterpart), or been one or the other to someone?
- What draws Natan to the Bund? Is it Felicia? Yankl? Or something else?
- Was what happened to Igor a crime?
- The theme of motherhood runs throughout the novel. Do you think Danka was a good mother?
- Papa is portrayed as a bit of a buffoon. Did he lend any comic relief, or was he a more tragic figure?
- Bianca wanted freedom and independence at the beginning, by the river. Does she achieve it? Does anyone in the novel?
- Did you expect the ending? If not, what did you expect to have happen at the end?
- What do you think happens after the book is over?