A Best Historical Fiction of Spring Pick by Amazon, PopSugar, AARP, and BookBub!
A heartrending story about a young mother’s fight to keep her daughter, and the terrible injustice that tears them apart, by the USA Today bestselling author of The Nature of Fragile Things and The Last Year of the War.
California, 1938—When she loses her parents in an accident, sixteen-year-old Rosanne is taken in by the owners of the vineyard where she has lived her whole life as the vinedresser’s daughter. She moves into Celine and Truman Calvert’s spacious house with a secret, however—Rosie sees colors when she hears sound. She promised her mother she’d never reveal her little-understood ability to anyone, but the weight of her isolation and grief prove too much for her. Driven by her loneliness she not only breaks the vow to her mother, but in a desperate moment lets down her guard and ends up pregnant. Banished by the Calverts, Rosanne believes she is bound for a home for unwed mothers. But she soon finds out she is not going to a home of any kind, but to a place that seeks to forcibly take her baby – and the chance for any future babies – from her.
Austria, 1947—After witnessing firsthand Adolf Hitler’s brutal pursuit of hereditary purity—especially with regard to “different children”—Helen Calvert, Truman’s sister, is ready to return to America for good. But when she arrives at her brother’s peaceful vineyard after decades working abroad, she is shocked to learn what really happened nine years earlier to the vinedresser’s daughter, a girl whom Helen had long ago befriended. In her determination to find Rosanne, Helen discovers a shocking American eugenics program—and learns that that while the war had been won in Europe, there are still terrifying battles to be fought at home.
Meissner (The Last Year of the War) unfurls an emotionally rich narrative involving a young woman in 1930s California and a nanny in WWII Austria. Rosie Maras is orphaned at 16 when her parents and younger brother die in car accident. Her family had been living and working on a California vineyard owned by Truman and Celine Calvert, who become her temporary guardians. Celine is cold and distant, while Truman takes advantage of Rosie's vulnerability, seducing her and getting her pregnant. Celine discovers the pregnancy and banishes her to a state infirmary, where she faces forced sterilization. Meanwhile, in Vienna, Truman's sister Helen, who met Rosie, cares for a disabled child named Brigitta Maier. When Brigitta is taken from her home by the German government for their T4 euthanasia program, the Maiers and Helen are devastated. After the war, Helen returns to California and a widowed Celine bitterly reveals Truman's infidelity, prompting Helen to set out to find Rosie and her niece, the only family she has left. Meissner seamlessly unites the two narratives, drawing striking parallels between Germany's forced euthanasia of disabled people and eugenics in the U.S. Readers will be riveted.
Only the beautiful
Not only do the characters walk off the page, but you feel as if you’re experiencing everyone of their griefs and joys. Thank you I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Loved the books. Brought tears to my eyes.
Interesting story and characters.
Another Well Written Book
Sad, and engaging on so many levels. Thought provoking, and human. Susan Meisner doesn’t disappoint by reaching into the characters she’s creating to bring out believable emotions, and realist behaviors. As difficult as this time is in America past, Meisner points a light on some of the difficult decisions people made during this time. Often the best of all the worst choices to make. She still left me with hope and tears at the conclusion of the book.