Whenever an author is scheduled to come to do a library fundraiser set up by our Friends of the Punta Gorda Library, I feel that I should familiarize myself with their work in order to tell our patrons about it. I have done this for Stephen King, Lisa See, and Gregg Hurwitz. With Peter Golden coming in the Spring, I knew I had to get to work.
Wherever There is Light by Peter Golden was released on November 3, 2015. It tells the intertwining stories of two families, the Roses: Theodor, Elana, and Julien – Jewish immigrants who came to the United States in 1938 and the Wakefields: Garland and Kendall Anne, an African American family who are the descendants of a runaway slave who became one of the wealthiest men in Philadelphia.
Garland Wakefield is the founder and president of Lovewood College, an African American school in Florida. During the 1930s, many African American colleges in the United States helped save Jewish professors that were driven out of the education system in Germany. Professor Theodor Rose is one of those who were saved. At the dinner welcoming Professor Rose to the college, his son, Julien, meets Garland’s daughter, Kendall. This meeting begins a love affair that spans from 1938 to 1966.
Julien and Kendall have to deal with the constraints placed on their interracial relationship, both from society and their own families. While Julien wants to marry Kendall, all she wants is to be free to pursue her art – painting and photography.
From Germany to New York to Miami and Paris, this book really had me from page one. I was interested to see the comparisons that were made between the treatment of the Jewish people in Germany during WWII and the treatment of African Americans in the South. Even with the serious subject matter covered in the book, I have to say that I really enjoyed it.
For more information, go to Peter Golden’s website.