February 2014 Indie Next List
“This story of a young woman's tour of duty as a WWII Army nurse is remarkable. Headed for a career in science, Juliet veers toward nursing in an effort to find her brother who is missing in action in Italy. Hope, love in many variations, stories of soldiers, doctors, nurses and support staff, the wounded and dying, civilians and officers -- it's all as messy as war and also splendid, heroic, and prosaic. Readers will be drawn in by the characters and deeply moved by the telling of their stories. Books as special as this make my job as a bookseller a joy!”
— Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA
From the award-winning writer of "Easter Island" comes a powerful story of love, loss, and redemption amid the ruins of war-torn Italy.
1943: When seventeen-year-old Juliet Dufresne receives a cryptic letter from her enlisted brother and then discovers that he's been reported missing in action, she lies about her age and travels to the front lines as an army nurse, determined to find him. Shy and awkward, Juliet is thrust into the bloody chaos of a field hospital, a sprawling encampment north of Rome where she forges new friendships and is increasingly consumed by the plight of her patients. One in particular, Christopher Barnaby, a deserter awaiting court-martial, may hold the answer to her brother's whereabouts--but the trauma of war has left him catatonic. Racing against the clock, Juliet works with an enigmatic young psychiatrist, Dr. Henry Willard, to break Barnaby's silence before the authorities take him away. Plunged into the horrifying depths of one man's memories of combat, Juliet and Willard are forced to plumb the moral nuances of a so-called just war and to face the dangers of their own deepening emotional connection.
In luminous prose, Vanderbes tells the story of one girl's fierce determination to find her brother as she comes of age in a time of unrelenting violence. Haunting, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting, "The Secret of Raven Point" is an unforgettable war saga that captures the experiences of soldiers long after the battles have ended.
About the Author
Jennifer Vanderbes is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a New York Public Library Cullman Fellowship. Her debut novel, "Easter Island", was translated into sixteen languages, and her essays and reviews have appeared in "The New York Times" and "Washington Post". She lives in New York City. Visit her website at www.jennifervanderbes.com.