From the Publisher’s website :
On a gray morning in 1936, Flora Phelps stands in line at the American consulate in Stuttgart, Germany. She carries a gift for the consul, whom she will bribe in order to help her family get out of Hitler’s Germany. This is the story of unlikely heroes, the lively, beautiful Flora and her husband, the brooding, studious Simon, two Jewish immigrants who were each sent to America by their families to find better lives. An improbable match, they meet in New York City and fall in love. Simon—inventor of the jigsaw puzzle—eventually makes his fortune. Now wealthy, but still outsiders, Flora and Simon become obsessed with rescuing the loved ones they left behind in Europe whose fates are determined by growing anti-Semitism on both sides of the Atlantic.
Inspired by her family’s legends, Betsy Carter weaves a memorable tale. In the tradition of Suite Française or Amy Bloom’s Away, she explores a fascinating moment in history and creates a cast of characters who endure with dignity, grace, and hope for the future.
Copyright © 2009 by Betsy Carter
I cannot adequately express how deeply The Puzzle King by Betsy Carter moved me. Her beautiful story grabbed me by the heart from the beginning and kept me engrossed until the very last typed word. I was unable to put this book down, so immersed was I in the lives of Simon Phelps, Flora and Seema Grossman, Margot and Fredrick Ehrlich, and their daughter Edith. The Puzzle King spans the years 1892-1936, which coincides with rising anti-Semitism following the decline of Germany after WWI, the stock market crash in the United States, and the rise of WWII. The Puzzle King begins with 9-year-old Simon Phelps traveling from Lithuania unaccompanied to America to start a new life. His goal, impressed upon him by his mother, is to find a job, earn enough money and make a home for his mother and six siblings. Intertwined with his story are the stories of Flora and Seema Grossman, two sisters who recently immigrated from Germany to America, as well as stories of their family members left behind in Germany. Beautifully mastered, Carter weaves together such an elegant and moving tale of humanity and ultimately, how one person’s faith in family saved hundreds of lives. This novel, so rich in detail, will grab the reader’s attention, if not the reader’s heart, from the start and stay with the reader long after the story has ended.
This novel, is one that will be with me for a long time and I hope others choose to read this beautiful novel and that it too will stay in the hearts and minds of its readers. The Puzzle King by Betsy Carter is indeed a novel I would recommend to everyone.
To learn the background behind the story, to view photos of the real Puzzle King and his family, visit Betsy Carter’s website.
My gratitude to Wonders & Marvels for allowing me to preview The Puzzle King by Betsy Carter.