When Gillian Gibbons discovers the man she loves and lives with is cheating on her, she retreats to the Connecticut farmhouse her father and 96-year-old grandmother share. She hasn’t seen her father in over five years and their reunion is somewhat awkward at first but her father is desperately glad to hear from her: he’s uncovered a secret in the attic that might change the meaning of his entire life.Gram came to this country with her young son, Edward, after the World War II, as the wife of her second husband, Grampa Jack. Her first husband, Theodore Gibbons, a deputy cabinet minister working with Churchill, had been killed in the Blitz along with her sister, April. After his death, Gram and Edward had gone to the country to stay with Theodore’s aristocratic family on their estate. But while doing her part in the war effort, Vivian had met and fallen in love with the American flyer, Jack Cooper, and after the war ended had married him and lived in the farmhouse since then. Or at least that is what Edward and Gillian had always believed.
While Edward was in the attic inspecting the roof, he’d come across his mother’s antique sea chest. The old chest was a familiar item; Gillian had always called it a “treasure chest.”) But, as Edward had examined it, he’d discovered a secret drawer inside with pictures of his mother and a German Nazi officer in Berlin dated only months after her marriage to Theodore. The photos made it clear that the two were very much in love. With so many questions and concerned that he was the son of a Nazi war criminal, he and Gillian decide to talk to Vivian and get some answers.The story is Gram’s revelation of what the pictures were and what happened in the war. While her son and granddaughter listen, they gradually come to terms with the real history behind their family as well as the other issues in their lives that were keeping them apart. The retelling is an emotional story with lots of action and history and the things people do for love and country.
The author obviously did a lot of research to bring the reader a solid thriller with twists and turns that really held my interest and kept me up reading late into the night. I highly recommend this book to readers of historical fiction.