I just finished this book and I absolutely loved it.
For her first novel, it is amazing. The author Julie Orringer is an amazing writer. Her characters are full of life and beautifully developed. The story takes place in many places, but mostly Hungary and France from the late 30's to the mid 40's. There is some intense, horrific and sad parts of the book, but it's obvious she knows her subject well and creates an in depth poetic world of family, art, culture, food and struggle.
I can't even begin to describe the beautiful story she has written but I couldn't set it down until I was finished. This was one of those books that keeps you up till midnight reading and you can't wait to wake up to start it again.