“Sometimes the truth is not ‘stranger than fiction’ but more compelling than fiction, and that’s the case here…. Well written and captivating, its story will stay with readers well after the book is finished.”
Library Journal, STARRED Review
“In Crossing the Borders of Time,Maitland turns her meticulous eye as a former New York Times investigative reporter upon the facts of her mother’s love life. Unwilling to let family lore go unsubstantiated, she tracks down documents, letters, photos and more to piece together the details of her mother’s family’s flight from the Black Forest of southwestern Germany, through France – eventually escaping from Marseille ‘at the very last conceivable moment’ – to Cuba and then settling in New York….There’s a beautiful story here.”
“Schindler’s List meets Casablanca in this tale of a daughter’s epic search for her mother’s pre-war beau—50 years later.”
"Driven by an extraordinarily close relationship between Holocaust escapee mother and journalist daughter, this is not only original social history of a high order, but one of the most poignant love-lost, love-found stories I have ever read, with an ending that Hollywood wouldn't dare."
Robert MacNeil, Journalist-Author
"Crossing the Borders of Time is a mesmerizing memoir of one family's shattering experience during World War II. It's a tale at once heartbreaking and uplifting, in which the story of a young woman's love - revealed by her own daughter - triumphs over the tragedy of world events."
Linda Fairstein, New York Times best-selling author of Silent Mercy
"This is a touching story about the odd collision of fate and will. A poignantly rendered, impeccably researched tale of a rupture healed by time."
"Crossing the Borders of Time is one of those sweeping, epic, romantic novels that seems tailor-made for the Oscars and a long summer afternoon. Except it’s real! Leslie Maitland has the rare ability to bring history, adventure, and love alive. The fact that this story captures her mother’s life gives it a wonderful added poignancy. I wish I could sit in on the many delighted book groups that will devour this beautiful book."
Bruce Feiler, best-selling author of Walking the Bible and Abraham
"How the small flame of an undying love can illuminate the darkness of a tragic era. This elegantly told story is for everyone."
James Carroll, New York Times best-selling author of Jerusalem, Jerusalem and Constantine’s Sword
"This is a true story. That simple statement will seem remarkable to you once you have read this book. A love affair thwarted by war, distance and a disapproving family became the defining story of Leslie Maitland’s mother’s life, and by extension, her own. Determined to fill in every part of the tale, Maitland poured through documents and letters, retraced her teenaged mother’s perilous escape from Hitler’s Europe, and in the process found the man her mother had never stopped loving. What happened next is surprising indeed."
Cokie Roberts, NPR and ABC News analyst and author
“An absorbing true account of romance, resilience, and survival during the years leading up to and during World War II, set against the backdrop of the Holocaust and the harrowing social history of mid-20th-century France.”
The Daily Beast
"Unrelenting in her quest for understanding, Maitland is a brilliant reporter who knows what questions to ask and how to get her story. Written with the precision of a historian, the result is a work I could not put down and scarcely wanted to end. Maitland writes of her family objectively and sympathetically – even of her father’s infidelity and the shadow that her mother’s love for her lost fiancé cast on the marriage – examining their struggles with exceptional candor, depicting her parents’ marital turmoil with brutal honesty and her mother’s yearning for what should have been, what might have been, with intensity. She writes of her mother’s love with passion and intimacy so rare in the mother-daughter relationship, weaving together her mother’s story and her own, taking initiatives that surprise both mother and daughter. The result is a work that moves one to tears and anger and taps into a longing that we all have for an innocent love unconsummated and for what might have been if life had not been interrupted."
Michael Berenbaum, founding director of the Holocaust Research Institute at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
"Had Leslie Maitland set out to write a gripping romance novel, she hardly could have exceeded this fascinating account of her mother’s life. Crossing the Borders of Time is more beautiful than a novel because of the power of its true story and the richness with which it is told. Maitland, a former New York Times reporter, writes with a reporter’s ear for clarity, eye for detail and care for quotation.... We learn of decades of twists, turns and surprises too rich for a reviewer to disclose."
“If you are looking for a real-life love story filled with heartfelt romance, adventure, the drama of war, and the aftermath of a life lived when this love doesn’t work out, then CROSSING THE BORDERS OF TIME will bewitch you. There is no fictionalized account of long-lost love that could be as compelling...”
"Leslie Maitland’s nonfiction account of her mother’s life Crossing the Borders of Time will keep you glued to its pages....Romantic novels don’t get as good as this book."
"This riveting memoir was an unusual survival story of both loss and love. As the author’s mother, Janine, flees from Germany to France and then to Cuba and the United States, her teenage love remains always in her mind. Maitland was able to use extraordinary primary sources and several visits to Europe to make the reader understand the terror and loss her mother experienced. The ending warms the reader’s heart, and I highly recommend this true story."
Cathy Becker, Cleveland Jewish News
"In this novel-like memoir of her mother’s life as a Holocaust escapee, Leslie Maitland, a former New York Times writer, has put her remarkable skills as an investigative reporter and narrator to the task of brilliantly retelling her family’s story across several continents and decades.
This story is dramatic, complex, with many intertwined characters – all following the thread of history during the Nazi era that began in 1933 when the German people elected Adolf Hitler chancellor of the government in Berlin. Maitland has researched this story exhaustively and told it with great sensitivity, in a beautifully evocative style that captures the nuances of a refugee family’s ordeal under the terrifying, overbearing regime of the Nazi machine."
"In contextualizing within one family’s story Nazi Germany’s methods for eliminating Jews, and France’s complicity in that goal, Maitland shines new clarity on both the insidiousness and scope of those methods and on the courage, grueling work and luck of Jewish families able to escape. The knock on the door that first pulled us into Maitland’s story leads to improbable and intriguing contemporary connections, some built on secrets not yet revealed. The separations of war reverberate still. And so, I wait for Maitland’s sequel."
"Within minutes of pressing “play,” the listener may forget this is a work of nonfiction—so engrossing is its story and so vividly is it told. As the author, Maitland crafts the story of her mother’s life as a young Jewish woman during WWII. Her writing exhibits the detail of a reporter and the narrative skill of a novelist. As the performer, Maitland provides smooth pronunciation of French and German terms, as well as various European accents, and superb pacing. The story is vast in scope, but the blend of facts about the time period and the personal love story between Maitland’s mother and a young Frenchman make the production engrossing."
"No matter what mood you're in, we have a great book for you. For real-life drama: Crossing the Borders of Time by Leslie Maitland. Schindler's List meets Casablanca in this tale of a daughter's epic search for her mother's prewar beau -- 50 years later."
Book Picks, Good Housekeeping
"Recently, I picked up Crossing the Borders of Time by Leslie Maitland....Her book is stunning. Her mother, caught in the net of WWII Europe is separated from her fiancé, becomes a refugee traveling from France to Casablanca to Cuba and finally to the US. Here, her mother starts a new life, marries, and has children. Yet she always yearned for that lost fiancé, and Leslie, a journalist, pursues the haunting question of what happened to this handsome Frenchman. I was swept away by the mystery, the love, and the journey. An incredible and utterly engrossing story!"
Roxanne Coady, R.J. Julia Booksellers
“This is a home run.”
Geoffrey Jennings, Rainy Day Books
“This is a worthy testament to how war and displacement conspire against personal happiness."
“As gripping as any fiction….The meticulously researched history underscores one family's saga of persecution and survival, while the tale of Janine and Roland adds a very personal theme. Readers hoping for a happy ending will be rewarded by a conclusion any novelist would have been happy to create.”
"Leslie Maitland’s personal account of her family is a major contribution to history interlaced with a lovely love story."
Arts & Leisure News
"This true story, written in a gripping and compelling style, reads like a novel. It traces the love story of two young people, Janine and her French Catholic lover, Roland Arcieri, caught up in war-torn France. This love is sustained throughout their lives, even though they have no contact for over fifty years. It ultimately provides a comforting ending to a lifetime of questions, duplicity, and doubts.
The book chronicles the precarious and dangerous years of running from the Nazis, the post-World War II years, the immigrant experience, marriage, children, and the eventual suburban lifestyle. The Gunzburgers’ strong family ties and loyalties see them through the many crises they face with their dignity, humanity, and hopes intact. The many family pictures and documentation included capture each phase of their lives and greatly add to the reader’s understanding and perception of their account.
Leslie Maitland, an investigative reporter, opens her mother’s life with penetrating research, significant details and description, and historical and geographical background information that recreate each chapter of Janine’s life...She writes with a clear, candid journalist’s eye and manages to remove herself from the story, yet place herself into the narrative at the same time. Maitland writes of her childhood, her parents’ troubled marriage, and her efforts to find Roland with insight and honesty. She closes this noteworthy read with poetic understanding and gentleness as she writes about Janine and Roland and the enduring strength of their love across the borders of time."
"This is a fascinating story of thwarted love, longing, and the travails of one woman and one family within the broader context of war and persecution. Maitland includes a treasury of old family photographs and documents to enhance this incredible story of the gauzy intersection of memory and fact."
Starred review, Booklist
"Maybe I'm being chauvinistic, but as a reporter since 1966, I've long believed that news people make the best writers. Think Ernest Hemingway, honing his writing and reporting skills at the Kansas City Star and the Toronto Star. And think Leslie Maitland, a prize-winning former investigative reporter for the New York Times whose Crossing the Borders of Time: A True Story of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed is a panoramic work of nonfiction that I believe Hemingway would have been proud to put his name on. Crossing the Borders of Time" has the power of War and Peace, the movie 'Casablanca' and the romanticism of 'Doctor Zhivago' -- reading like a novel but with the resonance of reality."
“This is a poetic story of undying love full of insight and honesty that truly crosses the borders of time.”
"Leslie Maitland's Crossing the Borders of Time... It's a compelling, epic, World War II story of love lost but not forgotten and the power of memories."
New Zealand Herald
"In a nonfiction narrative that is the stuff of novels and film, daughter Leslie Maitland not only limns an improbable love story but recounts the saga of her mother, who endured a harrowing flight from the Nazis that took her through Casablanca, Jamaica, and Mexico to internment in Cuba before finding a fresh start in New York City in the émigré community of Manhattan's 'Fourth Reich.'"
Steve Goddard, HistoryWire.com
"The author makes fine use of her journalistic skills to conduct the search and to write about it, producing a narrative that is both informative and electrifying. History and the family saga combine in an informative and heart-warming tale that grips the reader's attention."
Indianapolis Jewish Post & Opinion