Monday, April 17, 2017
Across Great Divides Blog Tour
Across Great Divides
Across Great Divides is a timeless, World War II story of the upheavals of war, the power of family, and the resiliency of human spirit. When Hitler comes to power in 1933, one Jewish family refuses to be destroyed and defies the Nazis only to come up against another struggle—confronting Apartheid in South Africa.
More on book
As Jews, life becomes increasingly difficult for identical twin sisters Eva and Inge under the oppressive and anti-Semitic laws of Nazi Germany. After witnessing the horrors of Kristallnacht, they flee their beloved homeland, finally finding a new home for themselves in the beautiful country of South Africa; however, just as things begin to feel safe, their new home becomes caught up in its own battles of bigotry and hate under the National Party’s demand for apartheid. Will Eva and Inge ever be allowed to live in peace? Across Great Divides is a tale of one family’s struggle to survive in a world tainted with hate, and the power of love that held them all together.
Berlin, Germany 1932
Eva first saw him on a mild summer night at the Berliner Philharmonie concert hall, minutes before a symphony. She watched from the balcony as the hall slowly filled up with people—women in glittering dresses, impeccably dressed gentlemen, and children scrubbed clean and in their finest clothes. Tuxedoed ushers greeted streams of guests as they floated into the great hall, soon to be riveted by sweeping, romantic music.
Eva concentrated on the stage setup—the position of the strings and basses in relation to the flutes and clarinets, as well as the talented musicians who readied themselves onstage, eager to deliver a truly spectacular performance. In fact, Eva always observed the way the instruments were positioned as it revealed a great deal about the performance to come.
Suddenly, her concentration was broken when the hall went silent and the audience’s attention was directed to a man who appeared in the second floor’s golden balcony. He was a recognizable and popular figure. He was not alone. A beautiful, young blonde woman clung to his side. Before he took his seat, he turned to the audience and outstretched his right arm in a rigid, formal salute. Many in the audience raised their right hands in response. Without a sound or any movement, he acknowledged the guests with his hypnotic, pale blue eyes and spellbinding manner. He possessed a strange and powerful magnetism. Gentle murmurs emerged from the audience and quickly hushed as darkness enveloped them.
Eva leaned over the balcony’s rail and stared across the hall at the man. She knew who he was. Everyone did.
“Is that –” her sister, Inge, softly whispered.
“Adolf Hitler,” Eva cut her off, maintaining her stare. “The leader of the National Socialist Party. Many say he is a man of great power and may be Germany’s last hope.”
Inge’s eyes, identical to her sister’s, grew wide with curiosity.
“He seems rigid and terrifying,” Inge said, leaning forward in her chair. “But still, it’s hard to believe that little man will be anything. I think he is somewhat comical…don’t you?”
“Beyond his physical appearance, Inge, I’ve heard he is a captivating speaker who has enraptured the hearts of many Germans,” Eva said, observing the audience as they waited to be dazzled by the symphony.
Eva noticed the finely dressed audience. Germans had a pride of appearance and a regard for cleanliness, which filled her with admiration. On the surface, there seemed to be prosperity in Germany. But, the extravagant dresses and spotless white collars only obscured the poverty and hardship that lay beyond the building’s sturdy walls.
Eva felt fortunate to be at the symphony, considering that Germany suffered greatly as the Great Depression left millions unemployed and the country in shambles. From elected leaders, the people of Germany received nothing but indecision and chaos. The Germans lacked confidence in their befuddled, degenerate government, the Weimar Republic.
Monique was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and her grandparents were European Jews who fled their home as Hitler rose to power. It's their story that inspired her to write Across Great Divides. She is also the author of a middle-grade book, Once Upon a Time in Venice, and Monique is working on her third novel, which also takes place during the World War II era.
Barnes and Noble