Beatriz Williams, I had no clue it was the third book in a series. Normally, I wouldn't read book #3 without reading the other books first. But I'm a sucker for historical fiction, especially World War II fiction. Fortunately, it wasn't necessary to know the backstory from the other books.
It's the summer of 1966 and Pepper Schuyler is in a bit of trouble. She's pregnant and unmarried. She had an affair with a married man. A married politician. A married politician who seduced a young woman. This isn't a real relationship. After discovering she's pregnant, Pepper's life is thrown into turmoil. How is Pepper going to provide for her baby? What does the future hold? Pepper has a lot to figure out. In the interim, she finds a way to score a big windfall.
Pepper finds and restores a vintage Mercedes, which she sells at auction for six-figures. To Pepper, it's just another car. But to the buyer, Annabelle Dommerich, it's so much more. During WWII, this car saved Annabelle's life. She used it to escape Nazi Germany. There has to be a story there. How and why did Annabelle escape? What's Annabelle's story? Like Pepper, is she running from something or someone? On the outside, Annabelle seems like a strong woman. When it comes to Pepper, Annabelle can see that she needs a friend. Annabelle offers Pepper a sympathetic ear and a place stay. It's just what Pepper needs. But what does Annabelle need? Inwardly, you can tell Annabelle is holding back pain from the past.
Slowly, Annabelle tells her story. She once had a Jewish lover and a Nazi husband. Each chapter alternates between the past and the present. Sometimes I'm not a fan of that, but it works here. What didn't always work for me was the romance. As a young woman, Annabelle fell in love with the mysterious and older Stefan. She nursed him back to health and got more than she bargained for -- she fell in love. She fell in love a little too quickly for my tastes. Overall, I did like how the past weaved seamlessly with the present. I was more attached to Annabelle's story than Pepper's. Perhaps because Annabelle had experienced a lot more in life, she was a survivor. At times this is an overly dramatic story, but it's a worthy read.
Rating: Give it a try
Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Berkley) in exchange for an honest review.