A Life Apart
By L. Y. Marlow
(Broadway Books, Paperback, 9780307719393, 464pp.)
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
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From the author of Color Me Butterfly, a poignant novel about a decades-long love affair and the complicated and unbreakable ties between two families that live worlds apart.
Morris Sullivan joins the navy in 1940 with a love of ships and high hopes. Though he leaves behind his new wife, Agnes, and their baby daughter, he is thrilled to be pursuing his lifelong dream—but things change when he is shipped off to Pearl Harbor when the war begins. When he narrowly survives the 1941 attack thanks to the courage of a black sailor he doesn't know, Morris is determined to seek out the man's family and express his gratitude and respect. On leave, he tracks down the man's sister in his own hometown of Boston—and finds an immediate and undeniable connection with the nurturing yet fiercely independent Beatrice, who has left the stifling South of her upbringing for the more liberal, integrated north.
Though both try to deny their growing bond, their connection and understanding is everything missing from Morris's hasty marriage to his high school sweetheart and from Beatrice's plodding life as she grieves the brother she has lost. At once a family epic and a historical drama that brings the streets and neighborhoods of Boston vividly to life from World War II through the civil rights era to the present day, A Life Apart takes readers along for the emotional journey as Morris and Beatrice's relationship is tested by time, family loyalties, unending guilt, racial tensions, death, and the profound effects of war.
L. Y. MARLOW is the author of Color Me Butterfly and the founder of Saving Promise, a national organization dedicated to raising awareness of and preventing domestic violence. She lives in Maryland.