Crossing the Borders of Time: A True Story of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed

Other Press  2012

Janine Gunzburger Maitland literally crosses borders, oceans, and years as she and her family escape from Nazi Germany and occupied France, find shelter in Cuba, and finally come to know freedom and safety in the United States. Crossing the Borders of Time follows her journey of love, memory, fear, hope, and renewal.

This true story, written in a gripping and compelling style, reads like a novel. It traces the love story of two young people, Janine and her French Catholic lover, Roland Arcieri, caught up in war-torn France. This love is sustained throughout their lives, even though they have no contact for over fifty years. It ultimately provides a comforting ending to a lifetime of questions, duplicity, and doubts.

The book chronicles the precarious and dangerous years of running from the Nazis, the post-World War II years, the immigrant experience, marriage, children, and the eventual suburban lifestyle. The Gunzburgers’ strong family ties and loyalties see them through the many crises they face with their dignity, humanity, and hopes intact. The many family pictures and documentation included capture each phase of their lives and greatly add to the reader’s understanding and perception of their account.

Leslie Maitland, an investigative reporter, opens her mother’s life with penetrating research, significant details and description, and historical and geographical background information that recreate each chapter of Janine’s life. Maitland uses her reporting skills to track, confront, question, and successfully find her mother’s lost love and eventually reunite them. She writes with a clear, candid journalist’s eye and manages to remove herself from the story, yet place herself into the narrative at the same time. Maitland writes of her childhood, her parents’ troubled marriage, and her efforts to find Roland with insight and honesty. She closes this noteworthy read with poetic understanding and gentleness as she writes about Janine and Roland and the enduring strength of their love across the borders of time. Bibliography, maps, photograph.

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