Waiting for Walter by A. S. Balfour
Set partly in late 1950's London, Waiting for Walter follows the fortunes of two people over a forty-year time span, crisscrossing between countries. Days before his son's marriage to an Asian girl, Martin is obsessed by a chance sighting of a familiar young woman on the other side of the street. Whilst wading through old love letters in his attic, a dried-up gingko leaf falls to the floor and he is transported back to his romantic past and the girl who waited. In 1958, Martin, a Jewish boy, met Leni, a young German au pair, at The Moulin Rouge club in London. After a tempestuous start, they fell passionately in love. Secret plans to marry are made but in the aftermath of WW2 and the Holocaust, the forces of prejudice are against them. Martin's father is unmovable. Unable to bridge the deep-rooted cultural divide, Martin cannot walk away from either his father or the girl he loves. He makes a promise to each that he cannot keep. Now in their sixties, and after years of sworn silence, Martin and Leni arrange to meet once more in Heidelberg. There, a single act of beauty and courage finally re-unites them in an unexpected farewell, leaving Martin with a heartbreaking dilemma... Waiting for Walter is a unique and powerfully moving love story with a historical setting and a strong sense of jeopardy. It will appeal to fans of Julian Barnes, David Nichols, and Colm Toibin.