When We Meet Again
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Emily thinks she’s lost everything…until a mysterious painting leads her to what she wants most in the world. The new novel from the author of international bestsellers The Sweetness of Forgetting and The Life Intended shows why her books are hailed as “engaging” (People), “absorbing” (Kirkus Reviews) and “enthralling” (Fresh Fiction).
Emily Emerson is used to being alone; her dad ran out on the family when she was a just a kid, her mom died when she was seventeen, and her beloved grandmother has just passed away as well. But when she’s laid off from her reporting job, she finds herself completely at sea…until the day she receives a beautiful, haunting painting of a young woman standing at the edge of a sugarcane field under a violet sky. That woman is recognizable as her grandmother—and the painting arrived with no identification other than a handwritten note saying, “He always loved her.”
Emily is hungry for roots and family, so she begins to dig. And as she does, she uncovers a fascinating era in American history. Her trail leads her to the POW internment camps of Florida, where German prisoners worked for American farmers...and sometimes fell in love with American women. But how does this all connect to the painting? The answer to that question will take Emily on a road that leads from the sweltering Everglades to Munich, Germany and back to the Atlanta art scene before she’s done.
Along the way, she finds herself tempted to tear down her carefully tended walls at last; she’s seeing another side of her father, and a new angle on her painful family history. But she still has secrets, ones she’s been keeping locked inside for years. Will this journey bring her the strength to confront them at last?
To Fall in love.....
I knew even before I picked it up, that I would love When We Meet Again, but if I am being honest, I was not at prepared for just how much. This book is a gem. Beautifully written and brilliantly researched, the story contained within these pages will keep you spellbound to it’s very last.
This is a love story told in flashbacks that are woven into Emily Emerson’s search for the artist who painted the picture of her grandmother. They are beautiful vignettes of how this pair – a German POW and the daughter of a Florida sugar cane farmer were brought together by war. In their young lives, they saw how hate could grow and spread until it tears at the fabric of humanity. While many around them were swamped in bitterness, they found love. In those moments when they are together, everything is awash in bold and beautiful colors until it’s not.
Emily Emerson is who drives this story. Her life is at loose ends and the painting is a beacon for her. Once she decided that she wanted answers, we are tucked in her pocket and swept away as she embarks on this journey that crosses oceans, continents and decades. In the process, we are reminded over and over again of the costs of war and how it can have devastating effects on the generations that follow.
When We Meet Again is such a beautifully told story and for me it was impossible not to become emotionally invested in these characters. This was a book that couldn’t walk away from -- once I picked it up, there was no way I could put it down. I wanted to know -- I needed to know where the painting came from – not just for me, but for Emily’s sake.
This book spoke to me on so many levels – just the sheer power of the love story. The reminders of our precious history that is in danger of being forgotten. But most importantly, the power of Kristin Harmel’s storytelling – this story did exactly what I needed – it transported me to different places and times, letting me see the world through their eyes and hearts, as well as my own tears.
It sweeps you back to 1943!
When We Meet Again by Kristin Harmel is a novel that takes us on a journey back to 1943. Emily Emerson is a journalist who was just laid off from work. Emily is at a low point in her life. She is alone (by choice) and out of work when she receives a package. When she opens up, she finds a painting. The package is from Germany and is a watercolor painting. It portrays a woman in a field wearing a red dress. The woman in the painting looks like her grandmother, Margaret. Is it her grandmother? Why was this painting sent to her and why now? Margaret passed away two months prior. It seems that Grandma had some secrets she never shared with Emily. The painting takes Emily on a journey into the past. Emily will travel to Munich, Germany, Belle Creek, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia in her search for answers. Emily will be given a chance to reconnect with her estranged father. Can she forgive him? More importantly, can Emily forgive herself for something she did when she was eighteen? Join Emily on her journey in When We Meet Again.
Kristin Harmel is what I call a descriptive writer. She provides great details (and is a little long winded). The writing is good but I found the pace to be slow. The novel is interesting (good concept), but I was never drawn into the story. The book drags on a little too long (I think it felt that was because the pace was so slow). The lesson in the novel is about forgiveness of others and of one’s self (easier said than done). I give When We Meet Again 3.5 out of 5 stars. The romance in the book was sappy (best word to describe it) and artificial (felt fake). I believe you have to like the main character in order to enjoy the book, and I just did not like Emily. She has so many issues that she comes across as someone in her 20s (not her real age of 36). I have to quit reading stories that take place during World War II. I have yet to find one that is enjoyable (and I have read a lot of them during the past year) and believable. This book was just not for me.
I received a complimentary copy of When We Meet Again in exchange for an honest review. The opinions and comments above are strictly my own.