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Extended Audio Sample Crossing the Borders of Time: A True Story of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed, by Leslie Maitland Click for printable size audiobook cover
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:
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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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by Dixie | 1/31/2014

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

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