Synopses & Reviews
“Belfers prose is heartbreaking, as are her twin themes of love and betrayal, both romantic and familial. . . . She also has a gift for rejuvenating spirit of placeturn-of-the-20th-century Buffalo in City of Light and wartime New York here.” USA Today
“. . . Belfer is adept at writing historical fiction that sizzles. Sex, spies, murder, big money, family betrayals, doomed romance and exotic travel are smoothly braided into her main narrative about the wartime race to make large quantities of penicillin.” Washington Post Book World
Lauren Belfers panoramic new novel is a love story wrapped around a spy story with a pivotal medical breakthrough at its center.” O magazine
“A FIERCE RADIANCE shines with fascinating detail about a moment in American history we have mostly forgotten, when penicillin was new, miraculous, and in short supply. Belfers powerful portrayal of how people are changed in pursuit of a miracle makes this book an especially compelling read.” Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank
“An ingenious first novel. . . . Alive with historical figures who mingle seamlessly with the fictional characters. . . . A huge, sprawling portrait of the United States at the turn of the last century.” New York Times Book Review, in praise of City of Light
National Jewish Book Award Winner
The New York Times-bestselling author of A Fierce Radiance and City of Light returns with a new powerful and passionate novel--inspired by historical events--about two women, one European and one American, and the mysterious choral masterpiece by Johann Sebastian Bach that changes both their lives.
In the ruins of Germany in 1945, at the end of World War II, American soldier Henry Sachs takes a souvenir, an old music manuscript, from a seemingly deserted mansion and mistakenly kills the girl who tries to stop him.
In America in 2010, Henry's niece, Susanna Kessler, struggles to rebuild her life after she experiences a devastating act of violence on the streets of New York City. When Henry dies soon after, she uncovers the long-hidden music manuscript. She becomes determined to discover what it is and to return it to its rightful owner, a journey that will challenge her preconceptions about herself and her family's history--and also offer her an opportunity to finally make peace with the past.
In Berlin, Germany, in 1783, amid the city's glittering salons where aristocrats and commoners, Christians and Jews, mingle freely despite simmering anti-Semitism, Sara Itzig Levy, a renowned musician, conceals the manuscript of an anti-Jewish cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, an unsettling gift to her from Bach's son, her teacher. This work and its disturbing message will haunt Sara and her family for generations to come.
Interweaving the stories of Susanna and Sara, and their families, And After the Fire traverses over two hundred years of history, from the eighteenth century through the Holocaust and into today, seamlessly melding past and present, real and imagined. Lauren Belfer's deeply researched, evocative, and compelling narrative resonates with emotion and immediacy.
About the Author
Lauren Belfer is the author of the New York Times bestseller City of Light. She lives in New York City.