Nonfiction author (Freud's Women, 1993, etc.) and novelist Appignanesi's second sweeping romance (after Memory and Desire,...



Nonfiction author (Freud's Women, 1993, etc.) and novelist Appignanesi's second sweeping romance (after Memory and Desire, 1992) is a rare blend of intense emotion and intellectual challenge. When investigative reporter Helena Latimer receives a cryptic letter from her presumed-dead friend and mentor, environmentalist guru Max Bergmann, she believes he's still alive and sets out to find him -- a search that finally leads her to a magnificent country home in Germany, where she meets the handsome owner, Adam Peters, and discovers ""Anna's Book,"" a diary kept by Anna von Leinsdorf from 1913 to the beginning of WW II. Anna's story, rife with the revolutionary political and cultural attitudes that preceded both world wars, recounts the struggles within her own family and her relationship with her sister Bettina. Older than Anna, the stoic Bettina embodies the essence of feminism and intellect, whereas the spirited Anna is pure passion, ruled by innocence and emotion. Though the two women share a lover and each bear him a son, their destinies will be quite different: Bettina emigrates to California with her husband and son while Anna stays in Germany to look for her missing child. Finally, despairing of ever finding him, Anna decides to join her husband in death. Certain that there's a connection between Anna's family and Max, and suspicious of the amorous yet reticent Adam, Helena uses her investigative skills to solve the mystery. She discovers that Max is indeed dead, having committed suicide. She also finds that he was Adam's uncle and Anna's son, and that his past was shadowed by a devastating secret. The story culminates in a predictable romantic ending, a confession, and love everlasting. Sensual, thought-provoking, and passionate. But feminist and ecological themes, along with a contrived conflict between the lovers, nearly overpower the family drama.

Pub Date: May 22, 1995


Page Count: 592

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995