Crossing the Borders of Time: A True Story of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed - Leslie Maitland ETA: I would like to discuss this book with others who have read it. Please see message four below.


I cannot say I liked the ending, but hey this is not fiction! I would recommend this book to those interested in WW2 memoirs and those who do not get upset when they read about infidelity! I would avoid the audiobook narrated by the author. The melodramatic tone piled on top of emotional, melodramatic lines is sometimes hard to swallow. If this sounds like I did not like this book, then you have misunderstood me! The war experiences of Jews living on the border between France and Germany is very well depicted. The émigrés’ life in Cuba and what happened after the war was interesting too. I very much liked the description of the different places where the family lived and travelled. While I found the history of this family interesting, I am not at all sure the author has correctly interpreted the ins and outs of the love story. In relation to the ending, the decisions made brought sorrow to others, and this is simply disregarded…..


In chapter 24:

I am fascinated with this strange family. All families are strange except those you know nothing about….. My prime question remains how the mother’s previous love affair can be so exalted. For me it was always imagined, better than it ever really was. Then the author’s father enters the scene. The first ten years of the marriage was fine, but then…..he makes no attempt to curb his infidelity. She counters with the stories of her previous love affair. I am mentioning this because if you cannot stomach a book that has as one of its central themes adultery, I would advise you to look elsewhere. I find it interesting. What has happened in this family to lead these individuals to behave as they do? Are people born with a particular character? Is it that the mother and father together created this problem? The father seemed to never be able to live up to the magnificence of his wife’s earlier star-crossed love affair! Who could? And yet he was a flirter from the moment they met! We all know people who have had extramarital love affairs. An understanding of why and how this happens is another theme of this book. My opinion? After the war, people wanted to enjoy life; they set their goals and went after them a little bit regardless of the consequences their actions would have on others. Competitiveness was the name of the game. I recognize all this from my youth, growing up in NY in the fifties. The book is interesting.

I have stated that the author both narrates and composes her lines melodramatically. Here is an excerpt so you can judge if you react as I do. She has gone back to the birthplace of her mother, Freiburg, Germany. She is returning for two reasons: to better understand her familial past and to write about the reconciliation of the Jews in Germany after the war.

At night, inside the brooding, lonely confines of my dark hotel room in the town’s historic center, my narrow bed became an oar-less raft on which I lay awake, unmoored, tossed through space and time. I fought against the undertow of two terrifying waves….. (chapter 24)


[b:Crossing the Borders of Time: A True Love Story of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed|13129879|Crossing the Borders of Time A True Love Story of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed|Leslie Maitland||18306005] is till engaging me. There are two primary topics: a Jewish holocaust story and a love relationship. The author narrates the book herself and this is to detriment of the story. Her German is fine, at least to my ears, but the French leaves something to be desired. Her voice along with the melodrama of some of the lines is really soap-operatic. And she slurs words occasionally so they become indecipherable.

I don't buy the daughter's, i.e. the author's, analysis of her mother's relationship with a previous suitor. The author draws this as a wonderful, glorious love story. For me, this love relationship is pitiful and an excuse for the author's mother's inability to become independent of her own parents. Absentee lovers are often idealized; the mother does this in spades. I keep screaming at her to open her eyes and look at Roland (the suitor) clearly. But she doesn't seem to hear me....... Her brother warned her and she wouldn't listen to him either. I am wondering if this love affair should have been kept private. Should such a family relationship be dredged up and turned into a WW2 holocaust memoir? Let me explain: the mother loves Roland, never marries him, but instead chooses another, an American, after she immigrates to the States. Then for the rest of her life she pines for Roland. When her American husband dies, the daughter/author brings the Roland and her mother together again. This is not a spoiler it is stated at the start of the book.

I did like the historical facts related to the family's WW2 experiences in Alsace, Unoccupied France and Germany. Cuba too! They are forced to spend years in Cuba before being allowed to enter the States. When I am reading these bits I actually love the book! Interesting facts and perceptive analyses of French and Cuban war decisions are related.

I have at least 1/3 left of the book. Now I fear I will be drowned in the melodramatic, selfish and self-pitying behavior of the love-stared mother. She is always blaming others or inconvenient circumstances for her own actions. OR is it in fact the daughter, the author of this book, who has misconstrued the past, her mother's behavior and motivations?

Writing this helped me let off a little steam. I bet this will end up with three stars. There are good things and bad things in this book.