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Friday, October 14, 2011


I have always had a liking for stories set in the era of WWI or II and this is one of those. Vera Mueller is a refugee - first from Germany in the aftermath of the infamous Kristallnacht (she loses her only brother and parents then) and escapes to Denmark. The second time around she is forced to flee her adopted family's haven in Copenhagen for war time London.  Fluent in French, German and English Vera will surely become a very sought after employee with war time work in translation of documents.

With her knowledge of languages, Vera meets Paul - a young American who has to learn German in just two short weeks as he is on a secret mission to Germany. The attraction is immediate and before he leaves the two marry. Fast forward to the end of the war, Vera now has  a  daughter whom Paul has not seen as she did not know she was pregnant when he left and the three of them decide to return to America to start out life there.

Paul's father is a well established businessman in the field of arms - specifically guns who has done very well out of the wars. Paul on the other hand is a pacifist and hates the idea of profiting from guns and much to his father's astonishment opts out of the business and becomes a high school teacher. Vera on the other hand takes to the business like a duck to water, and with the support of Paul's father and the animosity of her brother in law slowly but surely builds up success upon success in a field which is very much a man's world..

In the midst of this new emerging businesswoman Vera is still passionate about Paul and knows that her entire life is centered around him and that whatever happens she cannot lose him. The story of Vera and Paul's life amidst the upds and downs of not just WWII but also the beginning of the Vietnam war - its effect on not just the Kahns but on Americans in general, the beginning of protests against the Vietnam war and the escape of so many to Canada to avoid the draft are all part of the story.

Although WWII and its stories are known to me the Vietnam war was an unknown entity. This was a good introduction to that period of American history.

Not just a story set at the end of WWII and the Korean and Vietnam wars, this is also a family story of love found in the most uncommon circumstances and how a family overcomes so many trials and tribulations to be together and to survive.  

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