In Another Time

In Another Time is Jillian Cantor's latest historical fiction novel that spans Germany, England, and the United States and follows a young couple torn apart by circumstance leading up to World War II—and the family secret that may prove to be the means for survival. In 1931, bookshop owner Max meets Hanna, a budding concert violinist, and immediately he feels a powerful chemistry between them. It isn’t long before they fall in love and begin making plans for the future. Despite Hanna's hopeful naivety, Max knows that the climate of their country is shifting towards a violent and hateful state as Hitler comes to take power over Germany. Their love is tested with the new landscape and the realities of war, not the least of which is that Hanna is Jewish and Max is not. But unbeknownst to Hanna is the fact that Max has a secret, which causes him to leave for months at a time—a secret that Max is convinced will help him save Hanna if Germany becomes too dangerous for her because of her religion. 

"Wherever they burn books, in the end will also burn human beings." - Heinrich Heine

In 1946, Hanna awakens in a field outside of Berlin, with only her violin in hand. Disoriented and afraid, she has no memory of the past ten years and no idea what has happened to Max. The last she remembers she was in Max's bookshop playing the violin, when there was a knock at the door. With no information as to Max’s whereabouts—or if he is even still alive—she decides to move to London to live with her sister. Developing a routine of picking up her nephews from school, practicing the violin when possible, and working part-time as a typist at the hospital Hanna finds she needs something more. She throws herself completely into her music to keep alive her lifelong dream of becoming a concert violinist. For Hanna, her violin is the only thing has never abandoned her and the music she plays serves as a balm to heal her deeply wounded heart. Eventually, Hanna finds a way to play the music she loves for a living, all the while her memory from the past ten years remains a mystery. As the days, months, and years pass, taking her from London to Paris to Vienna to America, she continues to be haunted by her forgotten past, and the fate of the only man she has ever loved and cannot forget.

Told in alternating viewpoints—Max in the years leading up to WWII, and Hanna in the ten years after—In Another Time is a beautiful and eloquent work of historical fiction that kept me entranced throughout each and every page. The different perspectives and timelines build up to an unpredictable ending. The characters are well-developed individuals whose stories beautifully connect. Hanna and Max's story is one of passion, heartbreak, love, and resiliency. Jillian Cantor's writing is graceful and brilliantly unpredictable, creating a truly fascinating story. Cantor easily blends historical accuracy with fictional romance and a hint of science fiction, which molds an intense and passionate tale. In Another Time is unique and special to the historical fiction genre, and is sure to leave readers wanting to read more of Cantor's works.

Book: In Another Time

Author: Jillian Cantor

Hardcover: 336 pages

Publisher: Harper (March 5, 2019)

Price: Paperback, $11.59

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