Last summer, I told you about a novel I titled From the Ashes, how it won the 2022 Braun Book Award, and how Word Alive Press would publish it before the end of the year. I’m happy to tell you the end of the year is rapidly approaching, and my 200 author copies are supposed to arrive today.
Except nowhere will they say, “From the Ashes.”
Although that name would have fit—you’ll understand why when you read it—one quick search on Amazon will show you the title has been used many times. Book titles cannot be copyrighted, but I wondered at the wisdom of using such a common one. My publishers wondered, too. They suggested Lilly’s Promise, named for the main character in the historical portion of this split-time story.
I could live with Lilly’s Promise. I checked Amazon for other books with the same title. I found one, but Lilly was spelled with only one L. Plus, the other Lily’s Promise is nonfiction. I mentioned it to my publishing team and they agreed it shouldn’t be a problem, for those reasons. Plus, they thought perhaps the other book may prove obscure. We settled on Lilly’s Promise and kept moving forward.
In mid-August, I stepped into Chapters Book Store in Winnipeg. You know how they always display the hottest current books right inside the door? Well, guess where my gaze landed? Lily’s Promise. The nonfiction story with one L. I simply had to buy a copy.
Written by Lily Ebert and her great-grandson, Dov Forman (only 17 when the book released), Lily’s Promise is sub-titled Holding on to Hope through Auschwitz and Beyond—A Story for All Generations. Lily’s story is a life-affirming intergenerational memoir and an unforgettable tale of resilience and resistance. On Yom Kippur, 1944, fighting to stay alive as a prisoner in Auschwitz, Lily made a promise. She would survive and tell the world her story, for everyone who couldn’t.
Nearly 80 years would pass before Lily could keep her promise. For decades, no one talked about the horrific events that occurred in those Nazi concentration camps. “The Holocaust not only killed the people who died during the war, more people than the mind can take in, but also killed something in everybody who lived through it,” Lily says. “It meant that survivors could never lead normal lives and neither could their children, as I eventually came to realize. Maybe the next generation was even affected too.”
Not until the 1980s did Holocaust support groups begin to form—a safe place where survivors could gather to talk, or not talk, as they needed. One element they quickly realized held great importance was the food shared at their gatherings. For those forced to live on nearly nothing for so long, the freedom to select their own food and fill their plates can provide healing and rich comfort.
The book also chronicles Lily’s return visit to Auschwitz and her opportunities to speak to young people about her experiences. When Dov, a social media content creator, offered to help Lily tell her story, she knew that at 96 years of age, it was time to keep her promise. Harper-Collins agreed to publish the book. The foreword was written by the Patron of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, HRH The Prince of Wales, now King Charles III. I highly recommend the book.
|Two books, same title. I recommend both.|
My own Lilly’s Promise does not have a foreword written by a prince or a king or anyone, for that matter. But it’s a good story and I hope you’ll check it out. Click the book cover (top, right) to buy online. Local friends, here are the details of my upcoming launch event: