Max Beissinger and Hanna Ginsburg fall in love, but their relationship is destined for heartache when Hitler comes to power and outlaws marriage between Germans and Jews.
Max, a bookstore owner, stumbles across Hanna playing her violin at the Lyceum and is smitten. Hanna takes care of her sick mother and practices her instrument in hopes of earning a place in an orchestra. She conceals her growing affair with Max from her mother and sister, who would not approve of her dating outside the Jewish faith. Max has a secret, something he discovers in a journal his father kept, that causes him to suddenly vanish, often for months at a time, telling no one where he is going or where he has been. Hanna breaks off their engagement because of Max’s disappearances, but Max believes his secret can save Hanna should the fraught political climate take a turn for the worse as Hitler continues to rise in power. One evening, when he and Hanna are at his bookstore, Nazis bash the door open. Max grabs Hanna to secure her in a hidden closet, but she breaks away and rushes back for her violin. The Nazis grab them both, and they are separated. The next thing Hanna knows, she awakens in a field, not remembering the events of the past 10 years. Max, who had a mysterious glimpse of the future, knows she must be alive and works to find her. Cantor propels readers back and forth from the 1930s to the '50s in this well-researched historical novel, showing how the past impacted the future, including the secret of Hanna’s lost decade. Readers may want to urge Max to confess his secret to Hanna...but then there would be no story. Cantor elevates love as a powerful force that transcends tragedy and shows how music speaks to even the cruelest hearts.
A powerful story that exalts the strength of the human spirit.