From the author of the Book Club favorite, Pictures of the Past, comes another compelling, multi-layered novel, ripe with the twists and turns of the best historical fiction.
It is the still innocent year of 1962, and twelve-year-old Paige awakens in a hospital room in Chicago. She has no memory of the random act of gang violence that has left her injured and orphaned. As she waits for her famous uncle to come for her, Paige develops a bond with Gladys, a comforting black nurse’s aide, unaware that Gladys’s son was involved in the crime. Soon, the charismatic Maxwell Noble, a celebrated photographer, is located in Europe and rushes to her side. Although he has led a globetrotting bachelor life, he surprises Paige by embracing his new responsibility. He reveals to her a family legacy in the headlines, beginning with the 1915 Eastland disaster on the Chicago River. But Maxwell struggles to hide his long-time obsession with Paige’s mother, his enchanting French sister-in-law.
When Paige discovers her mother’s hidden diary, the secrets of the past begin to surface. Paige and her uncle embark on a journey to France, retracing events of WWII and the Holocaust, in an effort to find the one remaining family member they could claim. Her parents were always intent on protecting Paige, but Maxwell allows her to embrace the history and heritage that she was denied.
A beautiful and moving story about a young girl’s coming-of-age and a man’s quest for a lost love, Protecting Paige combines family drama and fascinating historical detail to create a rich, thought-provoking world.
Pictures of the Past is a compelling saga sweeping through Chicago, Paris and Berlin, reliving events from pre-World War II Europe, but beginning in contemporary times. An Impressionist painting, hanging for decades in the Art Institute of Chicago and donated by the charismatic philanthropist Taylor Woodmere, is challenged by an elderly woman as a Nazi theft. Taylor’s gripping and passionate story takes us back to 1937. Sent to Paris on family business, he reluctantly leaves his girlfriend Emily, a spoiled debutante from Newport, Rhode Island. But once in Europe, he immediately falls in love – first with an Henri Lebasque painting, and then with the enchanting Sarah Berger of Berlin. After Taylor returns home, the Berger family becomes trapped in the Nazi web, and any attempts for the new lovers to be reunited are thwarted.
“This novel is one of the most intriguing and beautiful books that I have ever read. . . . ” (Bookpleasures)
Interwoven with this narrative is the story of Rachel Gold, a beautiful and bright Chicago girl caught up in the times of the late 1960’s. Pregnant and abandoned by her boyfriend Court Woodmere, Taylor’s son, she moves to New York to live with her aunt, a Holocaust survivor. Years later, as the controversy surrounding the provenance of the painting becomes public, Rachel’s grown son is disturbed by his inexplicable familiarity with the work of art. And it is only Taylor Woodmere who can unravel the complicated puzzle of their lives.
With a heart-grabbing ending, Pictures of the Past is historical fiction at its best, giving a personalized window to the powerful events and intriguing venues of the eras. From a world torn by the horrors of war, a love story emerges that endures through years of separation.