Margie Franklin prefers to live a quiet and solitary life. She works as a secretary in a Philadelphia law firm and doesn’t share much personal information with her friends and colleagues. They know that she is a shy young Christian woman and that she is originally from Poland. She rarely goes out with friends after work; instead she goes straight home to concentrate on her studies to become a paralegal.
Her routine is disturbed in the spring of 1959, when everyone starts talking about the new movie based on The Diary of Anne Frank. Her friends and co-workers can’t stop raving about the movie and don’t understand why Margie doesn’t want to go see it. What they do not know is that she knows the story better than anyone else can, because Margie Franklin is really Margot Frank. Contrary to contemporary press reports, Anne Frank’s older sister did not die in Bergen-Belsen. She managed to escape and came to the United States to make a fresh start and forget her former life. But how can she do that when everyone is talking about her sister? Suddenly the sweater that she wears to cover her concentration camp tattoo feels heavy and oppressive. Margie has to decide whether she wants to continue to keep her secret and live in hiding or if she wants to take a chance and finally start a new life and find happiness.
Cantor’s novel reminds us that both of the Frank sisters wrote diaries but only Anne’s was found. Her thoughtful imagining of Margot gives the reader another side to a familiar story. The author also delves into the guilt that many Holocaust survivors felt and explores their struggle to assimilate after the end of the war. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Margot since I finished this book. Highly recommended