The Day the Flowers Died written by Ami Blackwelder is a gently narrated historical romance novel. Set in 1930 Munich, Germany two strangers fall in love in the midst of a crumbling country. Eli Levin was raised in a strict orthodox Jewish home while Rebecca Baum grew up in an affluent Catholic family. Despite their differences, they stay true to each other and form a bond that lasts well after the war. Through-out family disapproval, social prejudice and a growing Nazi party, they struggle and overcome; but when identity becomes the difference between life and death, the two must make decisions that will change their lives forever.
Here's an excerpt:
Saturday, October 1, 1932
Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year: Eli told Rebecca a week in advance about the upcoming Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of their New Year. He invited her to participate in it with him at his family’s home.
Ezekiel, though disapproving of their relationship, was proud to see his son remember his heritage and invite Rebecca. Ezekiel was also glad to see Rebecca willing to observe and learn a new tradition.
Last year on Rosh Hashanah after synagogue, groups of Nazis waited outside to brutalize the Jewish fellowship. Brawls broke out, wounding many. This year, Eli and Ezekiel worried something like that would also occur.
Rebecca rode with Eli to the Levin home on Saturday afternoon after they ate in Munich.
Ada opened the door, welcoming both Eli and Rebecca inside and then, out of social decorum, guided them to the living room where Eli’s family awaited.
When Rebecca turned the corner after a long walk through the corridor, she saw Miriam’s bright eyes shine out from under her mama’s arm where they sat on the sofa. Sarah sat on the far sofa with her posture upright as Rebecca had been shown many times by her own mother.
“Welcome Eli and Rebecca,” Deborah said with warm affection and rose to hug her son and then Rebecca. The hospitality surprised Rebecca since their last visit ended after an argument between Eli and his father. Rebecca accepted the hug and followed Eli to the sofa across from Deborah. After Leah’s big brown eyes became bored of staring at the new guest, she returned her focus to the game on the floor.
“How was your trip, Eli?” Deborah asked in a curt tone, her attention divided between him and Miriam. The girl put her fingers inside her mouth and wiggled them around until Deborah pulled her hand away from her face and held it down on her lap.
“It was good, Mama, always a pleasant journey. Rebecca enjoys the scenery too. It’s quite different from the busy city of Munich.”
“Which is why your father and I chose to live in this house, away from all the hustle.” Deborah’s words carried an air of sagacity.
Eli told Rebecca a couple months back that his mama was a soft hearted woman and did not much disapprove of him with her, but that his father, the strict center of the family, would rather Eli date a Jewish woman. This soothed Rebecca’s nerves while she sat in the room with Deborah. In fact, Rebecca began to feel more acquainted with Eli’s family than with her own.
Compared to this, her own home felt quite barren and, besides Mildred, who mostly raised her, and Rueben the chef, she did not have much of a childhood. The time spent with her mother involved formal classes and direction, teaching her to be a lady, a German woman of sophistication. On occasion, she could steal a few laughs from her father when she managed to escape her mother’s rigid grip.
Rebecca rose from the sofa and sat on the floor with Leah, familiar with the game, one of the few she played as a young girl. Leah looked up with her short bob swaying and smiled.
Rebecca reached her hand towards the jacks. “May I play?” At Leah’s nod, Rebecca lifted the jacks up high and then released them, letting them dribble to the wood floor. Leah bounced the ball once and lifted one of the scattered jacks into her hands before the ball hit the floor again. They played this game for a few moments with concentrated efforts while Sarah, Eli and Deborah watched in amusement. Eli even saw Sarah sneak a smile at Rebecca and her childlike demeanor.
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