Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters.
As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last timeand all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya's life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother's life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.
First published in hardcover: January 2010.
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"Readers will find it hard not to laugh a little and cry a little more." - Publishers Weekly
"Anya's chronicle of the 900-day siege [of WWII Leningrad] imparts new gravitas to the novel...the effect, however, is all but vitiated by a manipulative and contrived ending." - Kirkus Reviews
"This tearjerker weaves a convincing historical novel and contemporary family drama with elements of romance. It is sure to please fans of Danielle Steel, Luanne Rice, and Nicholas Sparks." - Library Journal
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In her own words...
I was born in September 1960 in Southern California and grew up at the beach, making sand castles and playing in the surf. When I was eight years old, my father drove us to Western Washington where we called home.
After working in a trendy advertising agency, I decided to go to law school. "But you're going to be a writer" are the prophetic words I will never forget from my mother. I was in my third-and final-year of law school and my mom was in the hospital, facing the end of her long battle with cancer. I was shocked to discover that she believed I would become a writer. For the next few months, we collaborated on the worst, most clichéd historical romance ever written.
After my mom's death, I packed up all those ...
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