The Imposter Bride

Nancy Richler's novel is set in post-war Montreal and was shortlisted for the 2012 Giller Prize.

Nancy Richler

When a young, enigmatic woman arrives in post-war Montreal, it is immediately clear that she is not who she claims to be. Her attempt to live out her life as Lily Azerov shatters as she disappears, leaving a new husband and baby daughter, and a host of unanswered questions. Who is she really and what happened to the young woman whose identity she has stolen? Why has she left and where did she go? It is left to the daughter she abandoned to find the answers to these questions as she searches for the mother she may never find or really know. (From HarperCollins Publishers)

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From the book

In a small room off a banquet hall in Montreal, Lily Kramer sat in silence with her new husband. It was summer and the room was hot. There were no windows and no door, only a curtain beyond which the guests--almost none of whom she knew--washed down sponge cake and herring with shots of schnapps and vodka. Lily and her husband sat on either end of the couch on which she assumed they were meant to consummate their marriage. In front of the couch was a table laid with fruit and hard-boiled eggs. Her husband picked up a plum and rolled it in the palm of his hand. His name was Nathan and she had known him for a week. It was his brother, Sol, she had been meant to marry, a man she had corresponded with but hadn't met, who had caught one glimpse of her as she disembarked at the station and decided he wouldn't have her. Lily watched Nathan roll the plum in his hand and wondered what his brother had seen in her that made him turn away. Nathan picked up a knife and began scoring the skin of the plum into sections. They had not yet touched, not even a brush of hand or lip upon becoming husband and wife. She could still count the number of glances they had exchanged, the first when she'd sat on the couch at the house where she was staying, so ashamed by the rejection at the station that she'd had to struggle to meet his gaze while he apologized on behalf of his brother and entire family.

From The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler ©2012. Published by HarperCollins Canada.

Author interviews

More about Nancy Richler

The Next Chapter columnist Donna Bailey Nurse remembers Nancy Richler's novels.