21 Aldgate (Friedberg)

21 Aldgate
Patricia Friedberg, 2010
Rainbow Books
ISBN-13: 9781568251424

A story of love and war. When young Clara Simon suddenly quit her steady job in Ernest Maxwell Abbott's law firm over his increasingly shabby treatment of Jewish clients, she soon realized the seriousness of her actions. Giving up any job in struggling, post-WWI London meant taking a chance.

Clara knew her family at 21 Aldgate would not be supportive. With that in mind she did the only thing a Londoner could do: she looked for a quiet place to have a cup of tea and think over her hasty decision. A coincidental meeting with a former Abbott employee resulted in the suggestion of a job offer in Chelsea.

Clara, reluctant to consider venturing into affluent Chelsea, finally agreed to meet with the important French artist, Paul Maze, who needed an assistant to help write his memoir of his work as a field artist during WWI. Her experiences in his employ left her profoundly changed by the ghosts of war, the Nazis—and by Paul Maze.

A story of class distinction, a people and their traditions, a family and its fate, a country and its fight against Fascism, and a woman with a secret she must take to her grave. Set in 1930s and 1940s in London, England, France and Germany in the chaotic time between World War I and into World War II.

Based on true-life characters and events, 21 Aldgate is a story about a place in time that no longer exists—except in rapidly fading memories. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—May 4, 1935
Raised—London, England, UK
Education—London School of Journalism; Marquette University (USA)
Currently—lives in Bradenton, Flordia, USA, and London, England

Patricia Fridberg was born in London, attended The Henrietta Barnett School and continued her studies at The London School of Journalism.  At nineteen she married a South African doctor furthering his studies in London and immediately following the wedding, the young couple left for Southern Africa and the then, Rhodesias, both North and South, first to Wankie, renamed Hwange and later in Salisbury, renamed aafter independence Harare, Zimbabwe.

While living in Wankie, Rhodesia she worked as Clerk of the Court in the Office of the Native Commissioner where she dealt with tribal and European law. The Friedbergs briefly returned to England where their first child was born, before relocating in Africa in the city of Salisbury (Harare) in Rhodesia where Patricia wrote for the local newspaper and joined the newly formed TV station RTV (Rhodesian Television).

Her experiences as Clerk of the Court in Hwange allowed her to travel freely into the rural/bush taking along a photographer. From those interviews she produced a number of Tribal Documentaries and wrote articles for the Rhodesian Herald.

Political unrest intensified in Rhodesia and for the safety of their children the family reluctantly left to settle in the United States, first in Baltimore, and then in Milwaukee.  In the years that followed she travelled extensively with her husband, a Professor of Cardiology, who lectured in major cities in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.

Patricia attended a playwriting course at Marquette University where her first play, "Masquerade" won the playwriter’s award.

She was moderator at WMTJ TV (NBC affiliate) Milwaukee’s, then weekly show, "People of the Book” and interviewed major celebrities, politicians, including the Israeli ambassador, Golda Meir, U.N. representatives and various personalities in the fields of art and music.

In Florida Patricia wrote for the Longboat Observer, became a collector of art and held monthly Salons for writers and artists.  Her thoughts often returning to the African years,  she wrote the film script "Journey from the Jacarandas" a feature film which began filming in Zimbabwe but was interrupted and unfinished due to civil disobedience and government sanctions.

Beginning with her novel 21 Aldgate and the recently released memoir Letters from Wankie, she is now completing the trilogy with Journey From the Jacarandas. (From the publisher.)

Book Reviews
Anyone with a tie to London's East End is likely to enjoy Patricia Friedberg's latest novel. Endorsed by historian Sir Martin Gilbert, 21 Aldgate is set in the pre-WWII Jewish East End and Chelsea. It is the story of a young Jewish woman who goes to work for the French artist Paul Maze, and the relationship that ensues. Mrs Friedberg, a great grandmother, has already been in touch with a production company about developing it into a film. .
Jewish Chronicle

Discussion Questions
1. What did you think 21 Aldgate is about?

2. How does it compare to other books of the same genre?

3. Which part of the story held your interest most?

4. Which of the characters would you like to meet? Why?

5. With which (if any) of the characters did you identify?

6. Some of the characters had to make a choice that had moral implications, would you have made the same decision?  Why or Why not?

7. How does the setting figure into the book? Did you feel you were experiencing the time and place in which the story was set?

8. What are some of the book's themes? How important are they?

9. How are the book's images symbolically significant? Do the images help to develop the plot and help to define the characters?

10. Did the book end the way you expected?
(Questions used with permission of author.)

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