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Crossing the Borders of Time: A True Love Story of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimedby Leslie Maitland
Synopses & Reviews
On a pier in Marseille in 1942, with desperate refugees pressing to board one of the last ships to escape France before the Nazis choked off its ports, an 18-year-old German Jewish girl was pried from the arms of the Catholic Frenchman she loved and promised to marry. As the Lipari carried Janine and her family to Casablanca on the first leg of a perilous journey to safety in Cuba, she would read through her tears the farewell letter that Roland had slipped in her pocket: “Whatever the length of our separation, our love will survive it, because it depends on us alone. I give you my vow that whatever the time we must wait, you will be my wife. Never forget, never doubt.”
Five years later – her fierce desire to reunite with Roland first obstructed by war and then, in secret, by her father and brother – Janine would build a new life in New York with a dynamic American husband. That his obsession with Ayn Rand tormented their marriage was just one of the reasons she never ceased yearning to reclaim her lost love.
Investigative reporter Leslie Maitland grew up enthralled by her mother’s accounts of forbidden romance and harrowing flight from the Nazis. Her book is both a journalist’s vivid depiction of a world at war and a daughter’s pursuit of a haunting question: what had become of the handsome Frenchman whose picture her mother continued to treasure almost fifty years after they parted? It is a tale of memory that reporting made real and a story of undying love that crosses the borders of time.
A true story of love lost during World War II and then found again fifty years later when a daughter’s investigative journey reunites her mother with her teenage sweetheart.
Leslie Maitland, a former reporter for The New York Times, returned to Europe throughout the nineties in search of her mother’s lost love. She was possessed by a history that was not her own and with questions that remained unanswered for more than fifty years. What had happened to Roland Arcieri in the time since the madness of war and the Holocaust had separated him from his young fiancée? What had happened to this Frenchman whose picture she had so often seen secretly tucked in her mother’s purse? Maitland was propelled to seek out answers and a new future for her mother that would either bring closure or the promise of a reunion.
About the Author
Leslie Maitland is a former New York Times reporter who specialized in legal affairs and investigative reporting. She joined the Times after graduating from the University of Chicago and the Harvard Divinity School. After breaking stories on the FBI’s undercover “Abscam” inquiry into corruption in Congress, she moved to the New York Times Washington Bureau to cover the Justice Department. After leaving the Times, she began, among other projects, extensive research for this book, including five reporting trips to Europe and one to Cuba. She has frequently participated in programs discussing literature on The Diane Rehm Show on National Public Radio. Maitland lives with her husband in Bethesda, Maryland.
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