I chose another great book to read during our vacation.
I found this book on the "new books" shelf at our town library...the photo on the cover is what caught my eye first.
The author is new to me, and I plan on looking for her other books as well.
The book was set in 1940's England, during World War 2, and in 2012 in Portland, Oregon.
This book has two different stories going on. One story is about a widowed mom who lives and works in Portland with her 7 year old son, and the other story is about a young American girl (whose father is in the United States military) living in England, during the war. Each story has its own chapter all through the book. 2012 is connected to the story in the 1940s. It takes the entire book to actually learn how it is connected. It is fascinating to read how the author connects one story with the other. A nice feature, too, from the author, are poems before each chapter. The poem has some symbolism for what is going on.
Audra Hughes has been a widow for the past two years. She is a veterinarian who no longer has any kind of established faith....and does not believe in heaven. Her husband died unexpectedly, leaving her with then 5 year old Jack. They live in the same town as her in-laws, Meredith and Robert. Even though Devon, her husband is gone, she is still close with them and they dote on Jack.
Jack begins to have horrible nightmares..."night terrors"....and begins to mutter things about World War Two. He says things that he should have no knowledge of, given his young age.
Audra is eager to start a new job in Philadelphia to start fresh. She thinks the change will be good for her and Jack. But Jack becomes terrified of flying......and this anxiety begins to consume him. Audra stays in Portland. She starts to gather information based on Jack's nightmares. This leads her to Sean Malloy, an army veteran who has been wounded in Afghanistan and suffers from some memory loss. Audra and Sean form a friendship and begin to uncover a mystery dating back to the 1940's during World War II. They discover some old family secrets that still have the capacity to wound...........and to heal.
Meanwhile, back in England, in the 1940s, Vivien meets a young man whom she falls in love with. His name is Isaak. He says he is an American whose mother is German. His father is no longer living and his mother and sister are in Switzerland. At least that is what Isaak tells Vivien. However, she soon learns that some of what Isaak has told her are lies. And she wants to learn the truth.
Audra and Sean learn who Vivien was....they also learn more about Sean's mother Judith and her roots...and his aunt Luanne....how does Vivien tie in to his family?? and who is the Jakob Hemel that Jack keeps identifying in his dreams? Will Jack ever recover from these horrible nightmares and will Audra ever find the deep peace she seeks??
Only by reading the novel, will the answer to the above questions be solved. I am not going to spoil this story for you by telling you all of the plot. It is a fascinating story, based on some actual historical facts that the author writes about in the end of the book.
The thing I loved most about this story is the emotion behind each character. I could picture the NYC scenes in the '40s regarding Vivien and Luanne as they lived their young lives. I felt Vivien's pain when certain things came to light regarding the man she thought she loved.
I immediately fell in love with Jack and found my self rooting for Audra when we discover that she is accused of child abuse.
This book is a page turner but not in a suspenseful kind of way. There is a little mystery in it, a bit of romance (but not the sappy kind!), and a whole lot of intrigue and historical fiction.
In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 14 and older.
On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 10.