Margot is a simply-written story with a daring premise: what if Anne Frank’s older sister Margot didn’t die with her mother and sister in Bergen-Belsen, but secretly escaped and survived the war to reinvent herself in America. As the book opens, Margot is living in Philadephia under the name Margie Franklin, working as a legal secretary, pretending to be a Gentile and carefully hiding her concentration-camp tattoo. When the award-winning movie based on her sister’s famous diary hits the big screen and everyone around her is talking about it, Margot is finally forced to confront her hidden past.
Margot is interesting as a what-if story, and also as an exploration of the many different ways in which a person can be “in hiding.” Margot is more free in Philadelphia than she was in the Secret Annexe, but she is still not free as long as she has to hide her identity and her past. Given the heaviness of the subject matter, the book is perhaps lighter than a reader might expect — not “light” in the sense of being funny, but “light” in the sense that, as a few reviewers have suggested, the author’s style sometimes seems more suited to young-adult fiction or even romance than to a weighty historical novel reimagining a well-known true story. It was certainly a quick read, and while I didn’t find it by any means flawless, it was certainly an interesting way to explore a familiar story.