Leslie Maitland is an award-winning former New York Times investigative reporter whose mother and grandparents fled Germany in 1938 for France, where, as Jews, they spent four years as refugees—the last two under risk of Nazi deportation. In 1942 they made it onto the last boat to escape France before the Germans sealed the harbors. Then, barred from entering the United States, they lived in Cuba for almost two years before immigrating to New York.
This sweeping account of one family's escape from the turmoil of war-torn Europe hangs upon the intimate and deeply personal story of the passionate romance between Maitland's mother and a Catholic Frenchman. Separated by war and her family's disapproval, the young lovers—Janine and Roland—lose each other for fifty years. It is a testimony to both Maitland's investigative skills and her devotion to her mother that she successfully traced the lost Roland and was able to reunite him with Janine. Unlike so many stories of love during wartime, theirs has a happy ending.