This story goes back and forth between World War II and the present day. Simone Devereux watched her father and brother gunned down by the Gestapo. She spent four months hiding from the Germans until the end of the war. Annaliese Kurtz’s family agreed for her to marry a Nazi soldier out of fear for their lives. Rolf Kurtz was not a kind man and abused Annaliese regularly. When she was able to escape, she ran to her friend, Katrine. Katrine kept her hidden until they were involved in a car accident that took Katrine’s life. Out of desperation, Annaliese took Katrine’s identification papers to help her board a ship for war brides bound for America. On the ship, she had to pretend to be someone else and was afraid that someone would find out her secret. Coincidentally, Simone was also on this same ship. Annaliese confided in Simone and another roommate, Phoebe, about her situation. However, she told it as if it were Katrine’s story. When Simone found out Annaliese’s secret and that she was going to be deported back to her husband, she helped her plan her escape by preventing ‘suicide’.
Brette Caslake is able to see ghosts. She’s always ignored her sight because she figured it was nothing but trouble. She and her husband were just trying to deal with it day by day. A college friend contacted Brette because he needed her help reassuring his daughter that her deceased mother was not still around. The little girl thought she felt her mom’s presence on the Queen Mary, the same ship that took the war brides to America. During her trip, Brette comes into contact with what she thinks is a ghost of one of the brides. However, she comes to realize that it is more than just a ‘human’ ghost that needed her help.
I did get a little confused at first with the back and forth between characters and times. However, Ms. Meissner tied it all together perfectly and I enjoyed this story.
Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women—past and present—in the latest novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life.
February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Résistance spy.
Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark...
Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides—and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.