Arts & Culture Author Interviews Canada Family

Author inspired by events related to her life, family

Author Nancy Richler with her new novel, The Imposter Bride, which she launched at her parents’ home in Westmount March 29. (Photo: Linda Zlatkin) Author Nancy Richler with her new novel, The Imposter Bride, which she launched at her parents’ home in Westmount March 29. (Photo: Linda Zlatkin)


MONTREAL – Nancy Richler launched her third novel, The Imposter Bride (HarperCollins), at a private party held by her parents Myer and Dianne Richler at their home in Westmount recently.

Everyone received a free copy of the book from the English bookshop Bibliophile. As the guests chatted among themselves, sipping wine and nibbling on h’orderves, Richler’s mother remarked in her speech how the characters in her daughter’s books often remind her of people they know (with different names of course).

Taking inspiration from real life events and people in her family, Richler took a trip down memory lane by bringing a part of her grandmother’s past to life through the story of Lily Azerov in The Imposter Bride.

It is after the war in 1946 when the young woman comes to Montreal from Poland. Arriving at the train station to meet Sol Kramer, the man who had agreed to marry her. She has a frightened and bewildered look on her face. This causes him to change his mind. However, his brother Nathan sees something in her his brother does not and weds her instead.

“Although the story and circumstances are completely different, like Lily Azerov in the book, my paternal grandmother immigrated to Canada from Europe for the purpose of marriage,” said Richler who recently moved back to Montreal from Vancouver. “But when my grandmother arrives, she is rejected by her prospective bridegroom and forced to face the same crushing rejection that greeted Lily Azerov.”

What’s more, Lily Azerov is not really who she says she is. She has come to Canada with a stolen identity having taken on the name of another woman who has passed away. This is kept secret. As the story goes on the reader follows Lily’s daughter Ruth’s journey to find, understand and love the mother who has abandoned her.

The story, set in the postwar years when the large, increasingly successful Jewish community received many Holocaust survivors brings out the feelings of loss and dislocation that lay at the core of so many people’s lives at the time. The ideas grew out of Richler’s own experiences growing up. But for her, writing is a process. The story comes out as she goes along.

“The ideas are inside me, but I don’t have access to them until I start writing. I’m inspired to write the same way I like to read fiction. It helps me to make sense of things,” said Richler, who is related to the late author, screenwriter and essayist, Mordechai Richler. “Our grandfathers were brothers.”

Nancy Richler’s other two historical fiction novels include Throwaway Angels and Your Mouth is Lovely. She won awards for both of them.



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