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 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.
Jewish Book Council Writers' Conference
Attended a wonderful Jewish Book Council Writers' Conference
Book Bin in Northbrook, Illinois
Learn more about the 1915 Eastland Disaster when you read Protecting Paige.
Photos courtesy of the Eastland Disaster Historical Society
Meeting the directors of the Eastland Disaster Historical Society and presenting them with a copy of Protecting Paige, where they are listed in the Acknowledgements.
Photos courtesy of the Eastland Disaster Historical Society
“Compelling . . . engaging . . . a moving family saga”
Just some of the many Great Reviews by Amazon Readers for Protecting Paige:
5 Stars — Fantastic historical fiction. The book was extremely well written and the characters and events will stay with you well after the time you have finished it. The Plot is great.
5 Stars — Wonderful story embellished with historical facts! A great read!
5 Stars — Great book! A real "Paige" turner. The characters were interesting and the situation unfortunately is currently what is happening in the world. It was a new insightful perspective for me to learn about and it truly captivated me.
5 Stars — Love, love, loved this book. Great characters, compelling reading. Even a mystery or two or three. Some real surprises. Includes historical references that provide an insight into 20th century history. Couldn't put it down.
5 Stars — This is the genre I often seem to read-historical fiction, Jewish, Holocaust. I try to read all those bestsellers, along with choices in general woman's fiction. I absolutely loved this book. I would say it is one of my favorites. It was much more than a Holocaust story. That was just one time period that the author covered. This is a family saga. It is the story of a girl becoming a woman, as she learns that the family tragedy that left her orphaned is not the first ripped-from-the headlines tragedy in her family’s history. And it is the story of a man's longing for his first love. The characters are great and the plot is compelling, with imaginative twists and turns.
5 Stars — From the very beginning I was drawn into the story and I didn't want the book to end. The characters were real. The plot was so rich with multi layered surprises that were heartwarming and believable. This is a book to savor.
5 Stars — I really enjoyed this book. It was a great story that kept me interested until the end. The author presented the characters in such a way that I really cared about them. The ending was very satisfying. The author is a master with words and descriptions. I also loved learning about actual events in history like the sinking of the SS Eastland. I highly recommend reading Protecting Paige.
5 Stars — The second Jewish saga written by Chicago-area author, Deby Eisenberg. Ms. Eisenberg's books (her first novel is "Pictures of the Past") show her love of Chicago, Jewish & international events of historic interest. Pair the history with intense stories of interpersonal relationships and love of family and you will have a clear picture of both the author's skillful writing and research ability.
Questions for Discussion
- The bond between Maxwell and Paige was incredibly strong. How could Maxwell emerge as an appropriate and even wonderful guardian for Paige, when he had often been described as a “bachelor vagabond?” Paige’s own mother “had referred to Maxwell as a child, himself.”
- If this is a novel of an adolescent’s journey for Paige, with its accompanying theme of the “loss of innocence,” what were examples of this throughout the story?
- The plot of Protecting Paige centers on three venues and time periods: Chicago in the 1960s and l970s; Chicago and Lake Geneva in 1915; and France, during WWII. What parallels can be drawn between people and events for these three different eras?
- Compare and contrast Celine and Cherise in their coping and survival strategies. Was one a stronger individual than the other?
- How would you describe Maxwell’s character? Could you forgive his betrayal, even though it tortured him?
- Maxwell and Paige searched for one more family member they could embrace. With today’s popular websites such as ancestry.com, people are connecting more and more with past generations. What interesting, or even fascinating, connections have you uncovered?
- Although Florie Bronstein did not emerge as a major character, why was she nevertheless an important figure?
- With the discovery of Celine’s diary, Maxwell and Paige’s emotional journey turned into a literal one. How did this impact their lives and set the course of their futures? What else was uncovered in the chest?
- The author has used a variety of narrative styles and moved from past tense to present tense at times throughout the novel. She felt each change worked best to enhance the story. Did you find this confusing or agree that it helped to draw you into the story and engage with the characters and plot line?
- A title is so often an author’s key to interpreting a novel. Trace references to Protecting Paige throughout the story.