The lovely, idyllic cover of Suzanne Anderson’s ebook debut, Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure [Kindle Edition], holds the promise of a children’s story filled with adventure. And, on one level, that hold true even though the other story told in this book within a book format provides a dramatically opposite tale.
In her ambitious, action-packed, suspenseful first novel, the author combined the following two thoughts:
1. A brilliant, talented person knowing she suffered from Alzheimer’s and would slowly lose her mind.
2. Being 1/4 Jewish in Nazi Germany was a sentence to a death camp.
And then added her personal interest in reading about WWII, particularly the city of Budapest — her maternal grandparents’ home.
The result, according to Suzanne:
“Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure originally started as a story about a family caught up in the terrors of World War II Budapest. However, I changed the particulars of the story, choosing to refer to the Nazis as the ‘Black and Reds’, and never naming the actual city but simply alluding to the fact that it was a European city. I made these changes because I wanted the story to focus on the relationships within the story, because to me that was the real point. How do the dynamics of relationships between siblings change in the face of illness? How do we react under the ultimate stressful situations? How do we express our loyalty? How far are we willing to go to save those we love?”
In answering those questions, the story evolved and is described in this synopsis:
On a cold winter morning, twin sisters race to a train station to save the life of a child who has been abandoned by her parents. Seventy years in the future, an old woman finds a package that reveals the key to the child’s safety.
So begins a race against time. Set against the backdrop of war, Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure is a tale of undying love and a mother’s betrayal. In order to survive, those left behind must make their way through a frightening landscape where the rules are constantly changing even as one sister’s loosening grip on reality threatens them all. Is their only means of escape real or a flight of one writer’s creative fantasy?
Yes, even as the other questions play out in the novel, one question remains for readers to decide. Intentionally choosing this option, Suzanne Anderson used the literary device of a book within a book not to confuse but rather offer the possibility of a hopeful ending.
Fast-paced and vividly descriptive, there is also a genuine warmth to Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure that comes from the family bond that holds the twin sisters — Kate and Lily — and their 12-year old niece, Mila, together. Through the use of flashbacks the sisters’ background and consequential sibling rivalry is told and explained. In fact, it is here that the author truly shines as she describes their father, a master of manipulation, who likely sealed their personalities and fate in adolescence. Jealousy, anger, and mistrust exist between the two now grown adults yet, despite all, the bond of love remains.
In this fluidly written book, the main message is that there are times when we are willing to risk everything for the ones we love. And Suzanne’s themes of fear, loyalty, and impossible choices — woven throughout the story — highlight that message in a believable light. The characters’ tension and terror feel as real as a successful escape appears hopeless. Still it’s the humanity of war that tends to bring forth surprising heroes.
Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure [Kindle Edition] is an exciting, entertaining, and impressive first novel with its story’s unique perspective as original as the book’s cover. Suzanne Anderson took control over her lifetime dream of writing and publishing a book by self-publishing an ebook. Its reviews have earned 4 1/2 stars and readers are (pleasantly) surprised at its universal appeal. The truth is they would like to read more. If you own a Kindle, do download this emotionally haunting story.
[While Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters remains on The New York Times Bestseller List, another TDW author’s novel is being popularly acclaimed. Sarah Pekkanen’s (The Opposite of Me) latest book, Skipping a Beat, garnered a lovely review in People Magazine (the Oscar issue) and in The Washington Post. In addition, it’s an O Magazine pick for April and Harper’s Bazaar magazine put Skipping a Beat on it’s “hot list” for March. Sarah’s novel is also a Doubleday Book Club pick. And Foreign Rights have sold in Italy and Australia. Since it went into a second printing before publication, could a third and fourth run be far behind?
Ah, there’s nothing better than a good news Monday!
Book Giveaway: For those readers who have Kindles, The Divining Wand will honor the first 10 comments left only on this specific post — until Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. EDT. — with a download of Suzanne Anderson’s Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure. Please include the email address used to download and the ebook will be gifted to you promptly.