It’s 1940, and Paris is occupied by the Nazis. Corinne tries to hide her Jewish ancestry, preserve the family art gallery, and protect ‘Girl with Parasol,’ Monet’s masterpiece of air and light – which is a portrait of her mother.
Her friend Rose, the sole French curator at the secret German transit point for stolen artworks, spies on the Nazis and risks her life to pass details of mass-scale looting to the Resistance.
When Corinne meets Thomas, an enigmatic German diplomat, the danger increases. Trapped between love for Corinne and the orders of his Nazi masters who covet her painting, Thomas triggers events that will take away ‘Girl with Parasol’ for the next fifty years.
Girl with Parasol is a suspenseful novel about a little-known aspect of World War II that hit the headlines with the discovery of a cache of looted art in Munich, and the release of George Clooney’s feature film The Monuments Men.
In 1938, during the Great Terror, Nina Anishkova writes “Witness,” a poem about the suffering being inflicted on the Russian people. Working secretly at night, alone in her room, she learns each line of the poem by heart, and then puts a match to the pages. Paper is dangerous, and Nina is a marked woman. If the NKVD find “Witness,” they will send her to the camps.
In London, Andrei, who had to leave Nina behind when he was forced to flee Russia, despairs at the thought that she might already be dead. Will she survive? Will the purges swallow her up?
In 1989 “Witness” is published in Russia for the first time. Andrei’s granddaughter Charlotte buys a copy in Moscow and takes it back to London. Andrei is now over ninety, and a world-famous sculptor. After refusing for years to talk about the past, he consents to tell Charlotte about his love for Nina, and the life that was stolen from them by Stalin’s regime.
Berlin 1989. The Wall comes down, the East German communist regime collapses, and the secret police files are opened.
Matthias and Anne spent five years together in Leipzig. He was a cellist, she played the violin. They made music, and stayed out of politics. Until Anne was killed in a car crash in France, they were happy. At least, that’s what Matthias thought.
But after Anne’s death, he sees his file, and his illusions are shattered. He believed she loved him. That’s not what the file says.
Anne is no longer there to answer questions. Matthias must follow her trail back to Uzès to learn the truth.