Dreams of Silver (The Silver Music Box)

Written by Mina Baites
Review by Jeanne Greene

Germany, 1938. Paul Blumenthal tries desperately to get his Jewish family out of Germany, but he is betrayed. Just before his two little girls are sent to different foster homes in England, seven-year-old Lilian hides a silver music box, the only family treasure, in baby Emma’s blanket.

South Africa, 1965. Lilian treasures the music box that reunited the surviving family after Emma perished in the Blitz. Now 34 and engaged to be married, Lilian decides to find out what happened to the toddler she hardly knew, from the time they parted until Emma’s tragic death. She picks up Emma’s trail in London, but the child’s name has been changed, records are missing, and worse, wartime criminals who sold refugee children like Emma tried to destroy evidence to cover their tracks.

Baites alternates the heartbreaking results of Lilian’s 1965 search with the true story of Emma’s hardship, until a surprising twist reveals the strength of the sisters’ bond. When Baites’s first novel (The Silver Music Box, 2017) became too long, she wrote Dreams of Silver to span the years 1938-1955 and include the grandmother’s struggles in South Africa. Dreams of Silver will appeal to all fans of historical fiction, particularly The Silver Music Box—but the reverse is also true. The Silver Music Box is recommended for anyone who reads Dreams of Silver first. Lilian, Emma, their parents and grandparents, whom Baites created, are too strong and too loving to leave behind without knowing how their story began.