This post contains affiliate links. I read The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel this fall and loved it. I then read, The Sweetness of Forgetting, but I wasn’t a fan. Still, when several people raved about When We Meet Again by Kristin Harmel, I hoped that maybe it would be as good as her first book I read. While it started out promising, in the end, it was disappointing.
About When We Meet Again
Emily is in her mid-30s and a relationship newspaper columnist. Her mother and grandmother have died, and she is estranged from her father. When she was just 18, she gave her only child, a daughter, up for adoption without telling the father. She regrets that decision every day and hopes that one day her daughter will come looking for her.
Emily writes about how her grandfather, a German POW who worked in Florida during his captivity, left her grandmother, heartbroken and alone. Emily is clearly bitter that both her own father and her grandfather left their families. But soon after, she receives a gorgeous painting of her grandmother in her youth along with a note that states Emily is wrong. Her grandfather never stopped loving her grandmother.
This note sends Emily on a journey to discover the truth. She travels throughout Florida, to Germany, and to Atlanta. When she’s done, she’s discovered the truth about her grandparents, and her life is much richer for it.
I’ve learned that with any of Harmel’s books, I need to suspend my disbelief, but this book, wow. The first 250 pages, I could believe what Emily was discovering. After all, difficult, tragic things happen during war. However, the last 100 pages, I couldn’t suspend my belief any longer. The author was simply asking too much of me. All of the obstacles that had been in Emily’s grandmother and grandfather’s way seemed to be contrived after awhile.
In the story, there’s one character in love with a beautiful woman. He hates the way she always has to wear her make up because he finds her naturally beautiful. I feel that way about Harmel’s writing. She has a good story, but she goes so far with the unbelievable plot that ultimately the story is ruined for me. Simpler is better.
However, I do have to say that I had no idea that German POWs were shipped to the US to work during the war. I do love the way that Harmel finds these obscure facts about World War II and creates a story around them.
I give When We Meet Again by Kristin Harmel 3 out of 5 stars.