Three women. Two tales of love. One destiny.

When Melanie Levensohn took her husband’s last name at their wedding, she became the namesake of his French cousin who had been killed in Auschwitz. Her tragic life inspired Melanie to write this novel.

August 2022, Pan Macmillan, UK

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Paris, 1940: The City of Lights under German occupation. Christian, son of a bank director, falls in love with the Jewish girl Judith. The young couple secretly plan to flee, but suddenly Judith disappears. Christian begins a frantic search.

Montreal, 1982: Shortly before his death, Lica Grunberg confesses to his daughter, Jacobina, that she has an older half-sister, Judith. Lica escaped the Nazis but lost all contact with his first-born daughter. Jacobina must promise her father to find the sister she never knew.  But the search languishes for 25 years, until Jacobina is spurred on by her much younger friend Béatrice, a French diplomat experiencing a painful midlife crisis. At the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., they meet Grégoire. Not only does he make Béatrice’s head turn, he also finds clues to Judith's whereabouts. Soon the two women discover a dark family secret, stretching over two continents and six decades. It will change their lives forever.

Paris, December 20, 1943

My Beloved,

We have been sitting in the basement since the early morning hours waiting for something to happen. The sirens are howling incessantly in the city above, but no bombs have fallen yet. Three days ago, you disappeared, and without you my life is devoid of light. My heart is silent with agony. I keep blaming myself. If only I hadn’t left you alone, so close before our escape. You are everything to me. EVERYTHING! In my despair I write to your father’s address that I found in your diary. I pray for you my love, and for a new world where there is a place for us and our love.

Forever yours,


Béatrice read the letter again. Then she lowered the paper and stared at the wall. “Jacobina,” she whispered, “I think I found something.”

Melanie Levensohn, namesake of the author
Melanie Levensohn, namesake of the author, who inspired her to write this novel.