Take a first love, make it forbidden, stir in a small Iowa town, a world war, and a passion for music, sprinkle it with deception, heartache, and loss, and let it simmer for decades.
My Mother's Friend
It is May 1991, and journalist Mollie MacAlister is flying to Germany to interview Maestro Horst Ebinger, Chief Conductor of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. In her briefcase are mementos from her mother’s young life—letters, programs, photos, an odd-looking necklace, diaries—things she found in a box last November when she cleared out her mother’s things from her parents’ bedroom. Before that day, Mollie knew nothing of her mother’s relationship with Maestro Ebinger decades ago. Now she knows everything, or almost everything. Later this week, Maestro Ebinger will learn that Mollie is Phee’s daughter—and so much more.
My Mother’s Friend tells of a unique and unexpected friendship that was found in a prisoner of war camp outside a small Iowa town during a world war that was raging across two oceans. There was deception, heartache, and loss, but it was their shared passion for music that strengthened their bond.
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". . . Phee found a letter from Horst. Before reading it, she considered how her life had become so much more complicated because of this man. While falling in love with him, she kept her family as whole as she possibly could while keeping up with her studies, church obligations, and her efforts to be a better pianist. She continued to miss her mom and her brother Jamie who was serving overseas, and like everyone else in Algona, she survived rationing, recycling, war bond drives, and constant war news and worry. Her best friend Christa, whose brother was killed in the war, grew to despise Horst because he was a German soldier. And yet, Phee had never been happier than she was right this minute, sitting alone in her dad’s car on the old Lovers' Lane, holding a letter from Horst in her hand."