Sonia Taitz, “In the King’s Arms”

Here’s what you need to know about In the King’s Arms. There is a pub in the very center of Oxford called “The King’s Arms,” so the title may be a pun. The protagonist’s name is Lily Taub: taub means “deaf” in German. Dunno if that’s significant. The story is that Lily, the earnest, studious, beautiful daughter of New York Holocaust survivors goes to Oxford for a graduate degree in the early 1970s. She falls in with a well-to-do English family: witty, clever elder brother Peter is a student, his breathtakingly handsome brother Julian didn’t get accepted at the university. Their mother is anti-Semitic. Lily spends a cold damp Christmas with them. I kept waiting for something a little bigger to happen but all the heft of the book was in the flashbacks to the Taub parents’ harrowing experiences. Lily gets homesick, gets mono, has a baby-sitting mishap. Gets, in the end, the lovely Julian. I have no objection to fairy-tale romances about handsome young Englishmen with long dark hair and that off-hand English way about them, but the culture-clash/anti-Semitism/re-examining-your-identity-under-a-European-sky part of the tale ended up going nowhere.

In the afterword Sonia Taitz reveals that In the King’s Arms was written 25 years ago.  She has an Oxford M.Phil. so I’m guessing the novel was inspired by her own experiences.

About carolwallace

I spend most of my time writing and reading. Most recent publications: the reissue of "To Marry an English Lord,"one of the inspirations for "Downton Abbey," and the historical novel "Leaving Van Gogh." I am too cranky to belong to a book group but I love the book-blogging community.
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