Nebraska, 1943: Jenni Fields' husband Danny was killed in action two months ago. Now pregnant with another man's child, Jenni is determined to keep her secret from the small community of Meadow Hills.
Max Koenig fled Germany in 1938, escaping the Nazis and leaving behind a dark secret of his own. Employed to translate a historic German-language diary, Max moves to Meadow Hills, but the overly patriotic community isn’t happy to have a German in their midst.
When the diary goes missing, the whole town thinks Max is the thief. And when local businesses and landmarks start being vandalized with German graffiti, the residents naturally point the finger his way.
Jenni is the only one who believes Max is innocent. Clearly, the diary holds information someone in the town would rather keep quiet. What happened in Meadow Hills all those years ago? And will Jenni be able to prove Max’s innocence before it’s too late?
"Melissa hooks her reader in from the very first page with a compelling narrative… Two unlikely characters connect, both harboring their own dark secret that highlights the prejudice of that time that builds to a gripping and heart-wrenching conclusion."
— Suzanne Kelman, author of Under a Sky on Fire
"A searing look at the toll which divisiveness, shame, and fear can take on one man, one town, and even one nation."
— James R. Benn, author of Road of Bones and other Billy Boyle mysteries
"I love historical fiction that takes a period we think we know, and finds an unexplored element - this is an intriguing glimpse into smalltown America in WWII, wrapped up in a thoroughly gripping mystery."
—Frances Quinn, author of
The Smallest Man
"[A] well-researched and assured debut novel … both a tender love story and a thoughtful examination of national and individual guilt, shame, responsibility, and healing."
—Susan Elia MacNeal, author of the New York Times-bestselling Maggie Hope novels
"A spellbinding story about a town secret that might be revealed due to the relentless undertow of World War II… This is historical fiction at its finest."
—Patrick Hicks, author of In the Shadow of Dora and The Commandant of Lubizec
"This intriguing and immersive novel is a real-page turner with plenty of romance and a dark mystery at its heart."
—Rachel Hore, Sunday Times bestselling author of A Beautiful Spy