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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (567 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Leslie Maitland Narrator: Leslie Maitland Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2012 ISBN: 9781470806781
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Leslie Maitland is an award-winning former New York Times investigative reporter whose mother and grandparents fled Germany in 1938 for France, where, as Jews, they spent four years as refugees—the last two under risk of Nazi deportation. In 1942 they made it onto the last boat to escape France before the Germans sealed the harbors. Then, barred from entering the United States, they lived in Cuba for almost two years before immigrating to New York.

This sweeping account of one family’s escape from the turmoil of war-torn Europe hangs upon the intimate and deeply personal story of the passionate romance between Maitland’s mother and a Catholic Frenchman. Separated by war and her family’s disapproval, the young lovers—Janine and Roland—lose each other for fifty years. It is a testimony to both Maitland’s investigative skills and her devotion to her mother that she successfully traced the lost Roland and was able to reunite him with Janine. Unlike so many stories of love during wartime, theirs has a happy ending.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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. The fact that this story captures her mother’s life gives it a wonderful added poignancy. I wish I could sit in on the many delighted book groups that will devour this beautiful book.”

    Bruce Feiler, New York Times bestselling 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 bestselling author

  • “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 bestselling 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 US Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • “A love affair thwarted by war, distance, and a disapproving family became the defining story of Leslie Maitland’s mother’s life, and by extension, her own. What happens next is surprising indeed.”

    Cokie Roberts, NPR and ABC News analyst and author

  • “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

  • “This wonderful book, written by a wonderful award-winning writer, did a notable job putting an extraordinary confluence of hope , love, hatred, and history of her family’s escape from Germany and France during World War II. Leslie Maitland’s personal account of her family is a major contribution to history interlaced with a lovely love story.”

    Arts & Leisure News

  • “This is a worthy testament to how war and displacement conspire against personal happiness.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This is a fascinating story of thwarted love, longing, and the travails of one woman and one family within the broader context of war and persecution…[An] incredible story of the gauzy intersection of memory and fact.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A poignantly rendered, impeccably researched tale of a rupture healed by time.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dona | 2/13/2014

    " very wordy - maybe a good story but couldn't get into it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 2/9/2014

    " Crossing the Borders of Time shares the life of a Jewish woman and her true love, lost during the war and then reconnected in her later life. Growing up in Nazi Germany, her family flees to Paris only to be chased from there as well. Never have I read such a detailed account of how France was taken into the war. While in Paris, she falls in love with a Catholic man and they begin their relationship- only to have it dashed when again the family is forced to flee. The story tells of friends and family swept up in the Nazi crush. It details the time her family spent in each of the countries and the people she had relationships with- always thinking of her true love. Finally settling in New York, her family pressures her to marry a Jewish man, and forget her love or face family ostracism. No sooner is she settled and married than she finds out her he has been searching for her. However, it isn't until she is widowed and her daughter- the author, makes their reunion a possibility that they are able to reconnect. A story well told and rich with history and true love. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Saralyn | 2/2/2014

    " I thought this was a great book. While reading it I realized just how little I know about this period of history. It revealed startling aspects of WWII that I'd never heard or read about before, as well as putting faces and personal stories to the ugly facts. For me it was a perfect blend of historical education and personal storytelling. I will never think of WWII the same way again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dixie | 1/31/2014

    " Fascinating and inspiring. A WW II story of survival --not all tragedies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 1/28/2014

    " This book had everything you want in a book-family, romance, suspence and tragedy, plus it is a true story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katherine | 1/25/2014

    " This would be a great book club book, there's so much to discuss about the story. Well-written and engrossing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sally Britnell | 1/22/2014

    " Slow but has some interesting bits! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lynne | 1/19/2014

    " This is more about adultery than history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patty | 12/27/2013

    " An interesting account of WW 2. If you liked Suite Francais, you will enjoy this family's history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 10jay | 12/21/2013

    " Good memoir with some excesses. Mix of Jewish refugee story in ww2 and lost love of youth rediscovered. Well written by NYT writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rhonda | 12/18/2013

    " Well written and researched, this would've been better as a much shorter book. I admit to skimming the last 100 pages specifically for stuff regarding Roland and skipping over the rest. I just couldn't read any more details by that point, though they were very interesting early on. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 11/1/2013

    " Excellent book! I loved reading it and was sad to finish. Tremendous research, wonderfully written and a wonderful love story! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kyla | 8/17/2013

    " Approximately 2 pounds too heavy for a slight story well-told. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sonia | 3/2/2013

    " Fantastically done. rich with historical facts intertwined in a heart wrenching story of long lost love. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Betty | 1/25/2013

    " Took a bit to get into this book, but turned out to be a good one. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer Sublett | 12/28/2012

    " Disappointing. Very dry. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole Sunderlin | 12/18/2012

    " This book was incredible. A love story, a journalistic approach to an incredible story of survival. luck, and love. I highly recommend it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leonore | 11/23/2012

    " It was Romeo and Juliet in the Holocaust. A very moving book. It would make a fantastic movie "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather Thorstensen | 10/15/2012

    " So much history! This book made me start to understand how the Nazis could gain power--gradually but steadily. Great true life love story between all the historical facts "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Betsy | 8/9/2012

    " Fascinating, especially if you know someone who lived through similar wartime circumstances. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Grace | 7/16/2012

    " Took a long time to get into the book, but was worth it by the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane Pont | 5/1/2012

    " Excellent portrayal of a woman's telling of her mother's escape from Nazi Germany and Vichi France and the story of her true love left behind in Europe. "

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About the Author
Author Leslie Maitland

Leslie Maitland is an award-winning former New York Times investigative reporter and national correspondent who covered the Justice Department. She appears regularly on the Diane Rehm Show on NPR to discuss literature and lives in Bethesda, Maryland.