In Another Time by Jillian Cantor
Harper Perennial, 2019. Paperback, 336 pages.
Cantor’s latest novel spans nearly three-decades to tell the story of two lovers who met in pre-Nazi Germany. The novel features two intersecting storylines, one that begins in 1931 and the other that began in 1946.
The earlier storyline introduces Max Bessinger, a German bookshop owner, and Hannah Ginsberg, a German-Jewish violinist. They meet by accident, but a powerful bond forms between them. It does not take long for them to fall in love and plan for a future. However, times are changing in Germany, especially one Hitler rises to power. How will their love be tested? Will it endure or fail with each test?
The later storyline follows Hannah after the war, starting when she wakes up in a field after the war, violin in hand. She does not remember the last decade of her life nor does she know what happened to Max. Hannah moves from Berlin to London to join her sister and try to re-establish her life. Her singular goal is finding her dream role as a violinist in an orchestra, something she’s worked towards since childhood. Will Hannah find Max again? Will she succeed in her goal? How haunted will she be by the past she cannot remember?
As always, Cantor’s writing draws readers into the story and they will not want to put the novel down. The characters are written in such a way that their passion come through with ease. It was not hard to feel joy or pain alongside Hannah and Max. And her attention to detail is always wonderful. However, unlike with The Hours Count and The Lost Letter, this novel does add a surreal element which I was not too fond of, but I cannot say more without spoiling the story.
Do you think you will read this book? If you have read any of Cantor’s other novels, what did you think?
This review is based on an advanced copy of the novel obtained from the publisher, HarperCollins. It was released on March 5th, 2019.