France, 1941. Janine, a Jewish teenager, and Roland, her Catholic boyfriend, are passionately in love, and believe that nothing can come between them. But World War II intervenes, and Janine is forced to flee the Nazis with her family. They set sail from the docks of Marseille on one of the last ships to take Jews to safety. For 50 years, the last memory she has of Roland is an image of him in a rowboat on the sea, desperately trying to catch a last glimpse of her as the ship speeds towards the horizon.
Janine and her family become refugees in Cuba and, later, settle in the United States. Their new world is unpredictable, but the family is bound together by love and their memories of happier years in Europe. Janine marries and has a family of her own, but never forgets her love for Roland.
Decades later, Janine’s daughter, journalist Leslie Maitland, decides to track down the lost love who has haunted her mother for so many years. What happens when she finds Roland changes all of their lives irrevocably, and proves that even the worst violence of the 20th century is not enough to extinguish hope, passion, and romance.
Crossing the Borders of Time is at once an expansive history, a deeply personal family memoir, and a brilliant work of investigative journalism by an award-winning former New York Times reporter. Yet, above all else, it is a unique love story that will move you from the first page to its touching conclusion.
'A mesmerizing memoir of one family's shattering experience during World War II. It's a tale at once heartbreaking and uplifting.'
Linda Fairstein, New York Times best-selling author of Silent Mercy
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'One of those sweeping, epic, romantic novels that seems tailor-made for the Oscars and a long summer afternoon. Except it’s real! Leslie Maitland has the rare ability to bring history, adventure, and love alive.'
Bruce Feiler, New York Times best-selling author of Walking the Bible and Abraham
'How the small flame of an undying love can illuminate the darkness of a tragic era. This elegantly told story is for everyone.'
James Carroll, New York Times best-selling author of Jerusalem, Jerusalem and Constantine’s Sword
'Not only original social history of a high order, but one of the most poignant love-lost, love-found stories I have ever read, with an ending that Hollywood wouldn't dare.'
Robert MacNeil, journalist and author
'Maitland is a brilliant reporter who knows what questions to ask and how to get her story. Written with the precision of a historian, the result is a work I could not put down and scarcely wanted to end.'
Michael Berenbaum, former director of the Holocaust Research Institute at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
'A love affair thwarted by war, distance and a disapproving family became the defining story of Leslie Maitland’s mothers life, and by extension, her own. What happens next is surprising indeed.'
Cokie Roberts, NPR and ABC News analyst and author