Memories in a Box – a review of “Dreams of Silver” by Mina Baites

In “The Silver Music Box” Mina Baites carefully and lovingly chronicled the lives of the German Jewish family of Paul Blumenthal as they fled Germany during WWII and emigrated to South Africa. In “Dreams of Silver” Baites continues the saga as Paul’s daughter Lilian is determined to find out about her older sister Emma and the circumstances surrounding her death. The quest covers continents and uncovers some startling but hopeful information as she doggedly deepens her search for information. The thread tying the many lives and stories together is the silver music box, a much loved family heirloom that Emma gave to Lilian when they were separated as they were loaded onto the Kindertransport in Nazi Germany. The tension builds as the sequel unfolds and is heightened by the striking parallels with the horrors of apartheid in South Africa. The narrative is delivered in two voices, those of Lilian in London and Ceara in Ireland and the reader is enveloped by Paul’s extended family. The suspense held my attention until the denouement but what followed felt like extraneous details. Although in all fairness, even though the details were pertinent, I’m not sure they were really necessary. While not as compelling as the first book, this is still a very good read. Four stars.

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