Patricia and Marg of the Napanee Branch agree that Only the Beautiful by Susan Meissner is a fantastically powerful book. Those who follow the reading habits of Patricia and Marg will know that it rarely happens that they both not only read the same book but that they truly enjoy it and cannot wait to suggest it to others.
Patricia offers up these thoughts: Rosie is a strong determined young woman who is dealt a terrible hand. Orphaned at a young age and left to the care of Celine and Truman at the only home she had ever known, Rosie falls trap to the persuasion of an older man and ends up pregnant. Because Rosie is powerless against Celine she is categorized as unfit and sent to an institution due to her special talents. Rosie is determined to escape with her baby who she loves more than life itself.
Helen is an independent woman who has lived throughout Europe as a Nanny. During her time away she has kept in touch with her brother Truman at home. When the war ends and Helen no longer has employment she must return home. Here she learns that Rosie’s story and is determined to find out just what happened to Rosie and her baby.
This book weaves a powerful tale of determination, strength, and a mother’s undying love. I was so captivated by this book that I had to set an alarm to make sure I got to work on time.
And here’s what Marg has to share: In 1939 Rosie becomes a live-in housekeeper to vineyard owners Celine and Truman after the tragic death of her family. When Rosie becomes pregnant Celine decides that she must be sent away, not to a home for unwed mothers but to an institution because of her unique and misunderstood ability. Celine uses Rosie’s gift to prove that she is mentally unstable and she is vanquished from the only home she ever knew.
In 1947 Helen, Truman’s sister, who has lived abroad and worked as a nanny for years, returns home after observing the atrocities of war firsthand. She has witnessed the fallout of Hitler’s eugenics plan to rid the world of anyone he considered to be imperfect. A young girl in Helen’s charge was taken from her home and sent to a “hospital” because of her disabilities. This leaves Helen devastated and determined to rescue other children from suffering the same fate. Once back at the vineyard Helen learns of Rosie’s banishment and she begins an unwavering pursuit to discover the horrifying truth of what happened to Rosie and her baby.
There are so many different faucets and storylines to this deeply moving and intense book that I found it impossible to put down.
Patricia and Marg agree that Only they Beautiful by Susan Meissner would appeal to fans of Diane Chamberlain, Sara Jio and Joanna Goodman.