An American Decade
A man faces a moral choice between two lives on two continents at the dawn of WWII.
Christoph Rittersmann is a classical tenor broken by the death of his young wife. He leaves Germany and the memories that haunt him for the promise of a new life. Arriving in New York in 1930, he manages to scrape out a living by singing at the few music halls left in the city.
Unbeknownst to him, a short fling with Miriam, his late wife’s sister, has resulted in pregnancy. Miriam raises their daughter Eva alone in Nazi Germany, sending regular letters until the last saying that as a Jew she will be forced to move to the East but their daughter would hopefully travel to England alone.
Christoph, in the meantime has built a new life. His career on Broadway has progressed and he is living comfortably. He has re-married, has two children and lives with only a distant memory of what he left behind. But the abandonment of Miriam and their daughter leave him feeling ashamed and guilty, yet he remains motionless – unable to make any decision or tell anyone about her existence. He hides her letters in a shoebox for years …
In the backdrop Christoph witnesses the rapid rise of American organisations sympathetic to Hitler. The ominous presence and popularity of these far right groups become a constant reminder of his inaction. In the end, he is forced to act and sets sail back to Germany in 1939 to try to save the lives of Miriam and Eva.
Blending the rise of anti-Semitism, the secret Kindertransport rescue mission and the little-known story of the American German Bund,this is an ambitious novel that attempts to take in a sweeping and tumultuous decade, one in which the world was changed forever.