With vastly different backgrounds Lizzie and Sophie settled in Huntsville, Alabama in 1950. Their husbands were part of the rocket program sponsored by the U.S. government.
Sophie’s husband, Jurgen, became part of “Operation Paperclip” which was a secret US intelligence program that employed former Nazis after WWII. (1,600+ Nazi German scientists, engineers, and technicians were taken from former Nazi Germany to the U.S. for government employment after the end of World War II in Europe between 1945 and 1959.) Sophie was left in Berlin with their children for 5 years before she was able to come to the United States. The transition to the United States was difficult. Learning English was hard, customs were different, and local citizens were suspicious of the Germans even though the U.S. government went to great lengths to hide the pasts of the scientists they brought to America.
Lizzie and her brother Henry grew up on a farm during the Depression. To survive, they were forced to abandon the farm after their parents died. They were accustomed to fending for themselves. Henry served in the military in Europe and came home a different man. Lizzie married Calvin, a wealthy widower, who gave her everything she could ask for and more. She quickly became bored with her pampered life. As a newlywed Lizzie had to suddenly become someone who was interested in clothes, hair, makeup, and her fancy home. She wanted to be back on the farm.
Early in the novel a picnic took place to welcome the German families to Huntsville. There Sophie and Lizzie quarreled Over time, their encounters continued to deteriorate.
This is a terrific book for fans of historical fiction with a lot of drama. I love it when I learn something new, namely “Operation Paperclip.”
Historically Dr. Wernher von Braun and his team of rocket scientists transformed Huntsville in the 1950s into a technology center. Today it is home to the second largest research park in the United States and to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) with its world-class educational program, Space Camp®.