In this gripping split-time novel, Grace Tonquin is an American Quaker woman who works tirelessly in Vichy France to rescue Jewish children from the Nazis. After crossing the treacherous Pyrenees, Grace returns home to Oregon with a brother and sister whose parents were lost during the war. Though Grace and her husband love Elias and Marguerite as their own, echoes of Grace’s past and trauma from the Holocaust tear the Tonquin family apart.
More than fifty years after they disappear, Addie Hoult arrives at Tonquin Lake, hoping to find the Tonquin family. For Addie, the mystery is a matter of life and death for her beloved mentor Charlie, who is battling a genetic disease. Though Charlie refuses to discuss his ties to the elusive Tonquins, finding them is the only way to save his life and mend the wounds from his broken past.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own, and I am writing a voluntary review.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The plot jumped back and forth between the 1940s and 2003, telling the story from the perspective of two different women whose lives were closely entwined even though they had no direct connection to each other. I have such a love-hate relationship with this type of storytelling, because as soon as I get invested in one plot line, the perspective changes, and the resulting suspense causes me to almost always finish the book quickly. I loved how Melanie focused on how World War II impacted children, and how people from all over the world came together to help them. This portion of the story reminded me a bit of The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel.
My favorite part about this story was the overarching message that family can come in all shapes and sizes. Every character in this book had lost someone they were close to, and yet they still loved others deeply and welcomed them into their family regardless of how unconventional it may be. It really created a beautiful picture of what the Church should look like.
Overall, I have no complaints. The characters felt real and relatable, the plot kept me fully engaged, and the overarching message was beautiful. What more could you ask for in a book?