cover image Paper Love

Paper Love

Sarah Wildman. Riverhad, $27.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-59463-155-9

Wildman's childhood image of the world was built on a family narrative filled with danger, good luck and success. That story included grandfather's escape from Nazi-occupied Vienna and the successful life he created in America. However, a few years after her grandfather's death, a conversation with her grandmother shattered the "myth of a spotless escape; and, in part, a carefully curated history." After finding a trove of letters from Valy, her grandfather's "true love," tucked away in a file drawer, Wildman, a former New York Times reporter, begins a journey, hoping to uncover what became of the young woman whose letters stopped in 1941. "I wanted to use these small clues, these pieces of paper to rescue Valy's memory%E2%80%94retrace her steps from birth through school through the years she wrote her letters and, perhaps, even find her again." Wildman reveals the complicated story behind her grandfather's and Valy's lives once the war shattered their youthful, innocent world. Wildman's quest took years and took her across the globe. She visited Trebic, one of the most well-preserved Jewish ghettos in the world, the Czech countryside, London, Vienna, Berlin, the secretive International Tracing Service archives in the German village of Arolsen, and the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Wildman's intimate and mesmerizing biography blends her family history into the larger framework of World War II and the Holocaust. (Oct.)