How do you create a love story during times in history when love and lust were not discussed outside of marriage?
One thing that fascinates me as a writer of historical fiction is the commonalities in people, the way that women in differing time periods had the same feelings and doubts and desires as we do today. So the love story feels much the same to me. However, it is certainly true that the conversations were different. I’m not sure they were often discussed inside marriage, much less outside. But operating within those societal constraints creates a level of tension that can actually, if managed properly, be very useful in storytelling.
Pam Jenoff was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. Upon receiving her master’s in history from Cambridge, she accepted an appointment as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The position provided a unique opportunity to witness and participate in operations at the most senior levels of government, including helping the families of the Pan Am Flight 103 victims secure their memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, observing recovery efforts at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing and attending ceremonies to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of World War II at sites such as Bastogne and Corregidor.
Following her work at the Pentagon, Pam moved to the State Department. In 1996 she was assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, Poland. It was during this period that Pam developed her expertise in Polish-Jewish relations and the Holocaust. Working on matters such as preservation of Auschwitz and the restitution of Jewish property in Poland, Pam developed close relations with the surviving Jewish community.
Pam left the Foreign Service in 1998 to attend law school and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. She worked for several years as a labor and employment attorney both at a firm and in-house in Philadelphia and now teaches law school at Rutgers.
Pam is the author of The Kommandant’s Girl, which was an international bestseller and nominated for a Quill award, as well as The Diplomat’s Wife, Almost Home, A Hidden Affair and The Things We Cherished. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and three children.
Title: The Ambassador’s Daughter by Pam Jenoff
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley
Paris, 1919. The world’s leaders have gathered to rebuild from the ashes of the Great War. But for one woman, the City of Light harbors dark secrets and dangerous liaisons, for which many could pay dearly.
Brought to the peace conference by her father, a German diplomat, Margot Rosenthal initially resents being trapped in the congested French capital, where she is still looked upon as the enemy. But as she contemplates returning to Berlin and a life with Stefan, the wounded fiancé she hardly knows anymore, she decides that being in Paris is not so bad after all.
Bored and torn between duty and the desire to be free, Margot strikes up unlikely alliances: with Krysia, an accomplished musician with radical acquaintances and a secret to protect; and with Georg, the handsome, damaged naval officer who gives Margot a job—and also a reason to question everything she thought she knew about where her true loyalties should lie.
Against the backdrop of one of the most significant events of the century, a delicate web of lies obscures the line between the casualties of war and of the heart, making trust a luxury that no one can afford.
The Ambassador’s Daughter by Pam Jenoff is an absolutely captivating novel that is a wonderful mix of fact and fiction. Set in the aftermath of WWI, this compelling story provides fascinating details of the months leading up to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Told through the voice of a young German girl, Margot Rosenthal, the city of Paris is brought vibrantly to life.
Like Germany, Margot is also balanced on a precipice of change. Torn between family and societal obligations, Margot is deeply conflicted about the changes that the war’s end has wrought on her life. She is faced with the prospect of marrying her longtime fiancé Stefan but after a four year separation while he was fighting the war, Margot is unsure if marriage to a virtual stranger is what she desires.
Equally confusing for Margot is her craving to stretch her wings and gain her independence. While her father encourages her to be a free thinker, he at times imposes strictures on where she goes and who she sees. Margot’s one act of freedom puts her in an untenable position when she reveals confidential information to the wrong person and she finds herself in the middle of political intrigue.
Margot’s meeting with young German Captain Georg Richwalter further complicates her impending marriage to Stefan. Georg and Margot have a working relationship that develops into a close friendship. Their friendship quickly turns romantic but Margot’s engagement to Stefan impedes their burgeoning relationship. As Georg too is involved with the peace treaty conference, Margot’s loyalties are soon torn between Georg and her father.
The Ambassador’s Daughter is a riveting novel that has many unexpected twists and turns. Revelations about a long held secret and a shocking betrayal add to the story’s complex and multi-layered plot. Rich in historical detail, Pam Jenoff provides her readers with a fascinating story about a time period that is typically not featured in historical romances.
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