Author: Kristin Harmel
365 pages, published June 7, 2016
Note: I received this book from NetGalley to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.
Emily Emerson is used to being alone; her dad ran out on the family when she was a just a kid, her mom died when she was seventeen, and her beloved grandmother has just passed away as well. But when she’s laid off from her reporting job, she finds herself completely at sea…until the day she receives a beautiful, haunting painting of a young woman standing at the edge of a sugarcane field under a violet sky. That woman is recognizable as her grandmother—and the painting arrived with no identification other than a handwritten note saying, “He always loved her.”
Emily is hungry for roots and family, so she begins to dig. And as she does, she uncovers a fascinating era in American history. Her trail leads her to the POW internment camps of Florida, where German prisoners worked for American farmers...and sometimes fell in love with American women. But how does this all connect to the painting? The answer to that question will take Emily on a road that leads from the sweltering Everglades to Munich, Germany and back to the Atlanta art scene before she’s done.
Along the way, she finds herself tempted to tear down her carefully tended walls at last; she’s seeing another side of her father, and a new angle on her painful family history. But she still has secrets, ones she’s been keeping locked inside for years. Will this journey bring her the strength to confront them at last?
I absolutely loved Harmel's last book, The Sweetness of Forgetting, so I was super excited to read her newest novel. This novel was in a similar format to her last one, so if you loved The Sweetness of Forgetting I am confident you'll love this one too! It's beautifully written, draws you in from the very beginning, and takes you through a roller coaster of emotions!
The love story between Peter and Margaret is absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking. The journey Emily takes to learn their story takes them through Germany, and then back home to the United States. There are so many parallels between her grandparents' life and her life that unravels as you read the book. The ending is beautiful and perfect and everything you hoped it would be. It's such an emotional book--definitely have tissues handy at the end, or beware of finishing this book in public!
I highly recommend this book for fans of Krsitin Harmel and anyone who loves historical fiction. I loved how the perspective switched between Emily in the present day and Peter in the past to reveal the clues to the story. A must read!
Overall rating for When We Meet Again": 5 stars