Harmel (The Life Intended, 2014, etc.) returns with a family drama that spans generations.
Freelance writer Emily Emerson loses her paycheck and dignity when her relationship column folds unexpectedly. Her time wallowing in self-pity is cut short when a surprise package arrives from Germany. Inside is a painting of a woman Emily recognizes as her late grandmother, only she doesn’t know who sent the package or what it means, as the accompanying note simply states, “Your grandfather never stopped loving her.” Determined to find out more about the painting and her broken family history, Emily sets out on a sleuthing adventure that reveals dark secrets and painful truths. While she investigates the family’s hidden history, Emily must face her own murky past and confront what she's kept hidden from others for years. The narrative alternates between Emily’s present day and revelations from the past. Harmel skillfully weaves among points of view and timelines, building tension and mystery along the way. Emily is a no-nonsense character with immense likability. She has an elevated sense of protecting her own privacy but has no reservation about digging into others’ flawed histories. Harmel has crafted an endearing narrator with a complex past who simply wants to live an uncomplicated life. Sorting out the family mystery requires Emily to rekindle a relationship with her father, which has its rewards and challenges. Their dynamic provides insight into present and past family matters while interjecting humor and tension that honor father-daughter relationships. Equally compelling is the rich family storyline that traverses generations and geographic locales as Emily uncovers connections between her family and Florida’s POW internment camps. Harmel, an Orlando resident with an eye for detail, authentically weaves American history into this engaging novel.
An appealing family saga that connects generations and reaffirms love.