At the center of LOVE, SARAH is a woman whose journey is the dominant thread in the novel. Through their personal struggles, Sarah and the people who fill her life, reflect the complex reality of America during the Second World War.
Sarah Rosen is the oldest of five children in a struggling, working class, Jewish family in the Bronx. In 1932, when her father disappears, she hides her fears and doubts and becomes the emotional and financial support of the family.
Searching for a better job leads her to City Hall where Fiorello LaGuardia has just become Mayor of New York City. Her new life challenges her to see the world in new ways. She finds an ally and friend in Eli, the Mayor’s press secretary. At the beginning of the War, he explains something she had not suspected — that the newspapers were hiding important stories on back pages. She tries to support him when he is devastated by the lack of interest in saving Europe’s Jews.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Sarah tries to hold the family together with weekly letters. One brother becomes an unwilling Military Policeman in the Manzanar internment camp. His experience and quiet rebellion are an exploration of internment camps. Another brother grows up under enemy fire and in his last letter home, confesses the secret which haunts him, a secret which has defined much of the family’s life.
Sarah wants a more active role in the War effort. Because she needs to keep the job at City Hall, she volunteers as a counselor with an organization helping refugees. When the organization becomes a temporary home for children secretly smuggled out of Europe, they are another window into the tragedies of war.