Judith D Collins
Wherever There Is Light
By: Peter Golden
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: 11/3/2015
My Rating: 5 Stars +
From the author of Comeback Love, a sweeping, panoramic tale of twentieth-century America, chronicling the decades-long love affair between a Jewish immigrant and the granddaughter of a slave.
Julian Rose is only fifteen when he leaves his family and Germany for a new life in 1920s America. Lonely at first, he eventually finds his way—first by joining up with Longy Zwillman and becoming one of the preeminent bootleggers on the East Coast, and later by amassing a fortune in real estate.
Kendall Wakefield is a free-spirited college senior who longs to become a painter. Her mother, the daughter of a slave and founder of an African-American college in South Florida, is determined to find a suitable match for her only daughter.
One evening in 1938, Mrs. Wakefield hosts a dinner that reunites Julian with his parents—who have been rescued from Hitler’s Germany by the college—and brings him together with Kendall for the first time. From that encounter begins a thirty-year affair that will take the lovers from the beaches of Miami to the jazz clubs of Greenwich Village to postwar life in Paris, where they will mingle with Sartre, Picasso, and a host of other artists and intellectuals.
Through his years serving in American intelligence and as an interrogator at the Nuremberg trials, what Julian wants most is to marry and find the joy that eluded his parents. Kendall craves her freedom, and after trading her oil paints for a Leica camera, becomes a celebrated photographer, among the first American journalists to photograph the survivors of a liberated concentration camp. Yet despite distance, their competing desires, and the rapidly changing world, their longing for each other remains a constant in the ceaseless sweep of time.
Captivating and infused with historical detail, this is the epic tale of three generations, two different but intertwined families, and one unforgettable love story.
A special thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Once again, Atria dominates. Ex·tra·or·di·naire! 5 Stars+ Following Comeback Love, Peter Golden returns with a captivating and epic love story— WHEREVER THERE IS LIGHT --Top Books of 2015! Making my Top 30 List for the Year, crossing many genres (my perfect cup of tea), touching on all my favorites categories---- A sensational suspense crime thriller, infused brilliantly with historical significance, mystery, intrigue, sex, passion, racial injustice, war tension, glam of the roaring 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s to the 60s; Prohibition, gangsters, excitement of South Beach, Miami, Paris, New York, Europe, and the diversity of Harlem and Greenwich Village-- jazz clubs, world travels, art, culture, literary, humor, the turbulent South, and numerous obstacles across three generations, two families, and at the heart,the most romantic unforgettable love story. A perfect novel made for the big screen! Can you imagine the cast? A cross between The Nightingale, The Notebook, Calling Me Home, and the Great Gatsby, with its own individual style and charm. You will laugh and cry. WOW! I would not change a thing ---- I want a front row seat. So blown away by the talented author; cannot, believe I missed,Comeback Love, and found myself quickly purchasing—cannot wait to read. After what I have read, sounds like another headed for the big screen. Julian Rose, Jewish—(with the looks of a movie star) came to American in the 1920s, escaping Germany as an immigrant and finds himself working with bootleggers along the East Coast, loyal to the people who helped him get a start. Along the way, he became a successful real estate tycoon in the residential and commercial sector. An intelligent, sharp business man, who wants nothing more than a loving family of his own. Something he never had as a child. Kendall Wakefield, --African-American, beauty an independent, driven college senior, raised by a single mother, and the founder of an African-American college in South Florida (Yeah, South Florida). Kendall is driven and wants nothing more than to escape the south and move to New York, to become a famous artist. Her mother (late forties) on the other hand, wants her to marry, settle down, and help her with the college so she can take over one day. When Garland, Kendall’s mom (daughter of a slave) hosts a dinner party for the Julian’s parents. Theodor, (a scholar at the college), coming from Nazi Germany to accept a post as the only white professor at African-American Lovewood College in Florida. Julian travels south to visit his parents. Not a lot of closeness between father and son. Julian and Kendall meet for the first time. Kendall is enamored with this man. Fireworks! What happens next . . A thirty-year affair which takes the couple across time and place. Kendall is always torn between her strong love of Julian and her own independence and career (carryover from her past generations). She wants nothing to stand in her way. From a struggling artist to an award-winning photographer. A roller-coaster ride and hopefully, second chances. All the while there is lurking danger, coming at them from both sides. Julian has a past with a number of enemies from his gangster days. From 1938 – 1965 readers experience an array of emotions with a world against these two lovers. Kendall has the cruel narrow minded south bigots to contend with; their family owns 2,000 acres of land and will stop at anything to attain. Two courageous individuals, both have a past and a strong desire to protect those they love. The author takes readers on an incredible journey. Historian Golden, not only knows his stuff, he can write like no other. I was mesmerized. There is so much depth to the story with Garland’s father Ezekiel and the land as well as Julian’s past. Settle in, for an engaging page-turner, which will hook you from the first page to the last, with characters you will remember, long after the book ends. Set aside the time, as worth every moment. Utterly Captivating. . And the Research----Impeccable! From the complex absorbing, multi-generational saga-- at heart a love story of two interracial different people bound together in a world of obstacles, in a compelling World War II era, in the middle of racial unrest. The author draws you into a powerful world with vivid settings and descriptions with well-developed characters. The diversity, the passion, the heartbreak, loss, joy, sorrow, darkness, light, and reconciliation. After you finish reading you will find yourself going back to the beginning to South Orange, New Jersey in Dec 1965 when the book opens. You will need to re-read the first few chapters again, to tie in with the last, coming full circle. Of course, loved the parts of my own backyard, South Florida, (love Eden Roc) the travels, art, history, and culture. Oh, the characters: I wanted to kick Kendall (wake up and see you can have both career and family) and her mom, Garland. Fell in love with Julian, Bobby, Eddie, Fiona, Lucinda—they will grab your by the heart strings and never let go! The ending was spectacular. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions. Love the front cover design, drawing you into the mysterious and intriguing Hollywood classical film "noir-look and feel" capturing the essence and mood of this exceptional and unforgettable story. I strong recommend buying this book, like NOW! Can’t wait to see what the talented storyteller, Golden has in store, next! Has been added to my favorite author list.
About the Author
Peter Golden is an award-winning journalist and the author of six full-length works of non-fiction and fiction. Some of his work has appeared in the Detroit Free Press Magazine, Albany Times Union, New Jersey Monthly, Microsoft’s eDirections, Beyond Computing, Electronic Business, Midstream, The Forward and Capital Region Magazine. Golden’s Quiet Diplomat, a biography of industrialist and political-insider Max M. Fisher made the Detroit Free Press bestseller list. Among those he interviewed were Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush; Secretaries of State Kissinger, Haig and Shultz; and Israeli Prime Ministers Shamir, Peres and Rabin. With J. Stanley Shaw, Golden wrote I Rest My Case: My Long Journey from the Castle on the Hill to Home, a memoir that chronicles Shaw’s life from his childhood years under the supervision of the Brooklyn Hebrew Orphan Asylum in the 1930s to his career as one of the preeminent bankruptcy attorneys in the United States. Golden re-interviewed Henry Kissinger, George Shultz and other world leaders, including Mikhail Gorbachev, for his nonfiction look at the Cold War, O Powerful Western Star (Gefen Publishing, May 2012).
His debut novel Comeback Love (Atria Books, April 2012) tells the story of a man and his romantic quest to find the women he loved and lost years before in the 1960s. Golden grew up in South Orange and Maplewood, New Jersey, and lives today outside Albany, New York with his wife and son. Website