Originally published in Library Journal, February 2020.
Based on the incredible true story of her mother’s life, Abriel’s novel set during and immediately following WWII is both moving and captivating. Jewish teenagers in Budapest, Vera and Edith, narrowly escape from the cattle car headed to Auschwitz, carrying both of their mothers. Believing their parents and Edith’s true love, Stephan, to be killed in labor camps, the best friends hide out on an Austrian farm until the war ends. The 19 year old girls then start new lives in Naples, with the aid of a kind Captain Bingham. Vera, who dreams of being a playwright, begins a secretarial job at the American Embassy, working for Captain Anton Wight, son of a wealthy American hotel chain owner. Vera and Anton quickly fall in love, allowing Vera a bit of happiness after so much loss in her past. Yearning to be a famous designer, Edith sews dresses while mourning the loss of Stephan. After Anton disappears, a heartbroken Vera and supportive Edith move to Caracas, Venezuela where Vera meets wealthy, handsome Ricardo and her life changes forever. Readers will delight in this tale of strong friendship and second chance romance set in picturesque Naples, Venezuela, and Australia. VERDICT: Highly recommended for all adult historical fiction collections.