The End of Innocence by Allegra Jordan
"A thoughtful look at a turning point in world history... Helen is a sympathetic and complicated main character. Her strengths and weaknesses keep the reader's attention, making this a worthwhile read."
"Reminiscent of Jacqueline Winspear's Maise Dobbs books without the mystery, this novel explores the complications involved when war becomes personal. Jordan builds empathetic characters and an intriguing story."
"Love in a time of war....surely there is no more compelling or romantic theme in all of literature Yet this fine debut novel appeals to the brain as well as the heart. Allegra Jordan brings us historical fiction at its best."
—Lee Smith, New York Times bestselling author of Guests on Earth and The Last Girls
In this enthralling story of love, loss, and divided loyalties, two students fall in love on the eve of WWI and must face a world at war—from opposing sides.
Cambridge, MA, 1914: Helen Windship Brooks, the precocious daughter of the prestigious Boston family, is struggling to find herself at the renowned Harvard-Radcliffe university when carefree British playboy, Riley Spencer, and his brooding German poet-cousin, Wils Brandl, burst into her sheltered world. As Wils quietly helps the beautiful, spirited Helen navigate Harvard, they fall for each other against a backdrop of tyrannical professors, intellectual debates, and secluded boat rides on the Charles River.
But with foreign tensions mounting and the country teetering on the brink of World War I, German-born Wils finds his future at Harvard—and in America—increasingly in danger. When both cousins are called to fight on opposing sides of the same war, Helen must decide if she is ready to fight her own battle for what she loves most.
Based on the true story behind a mysterious and controversial World War I memorial at this world-famous university, The End of Innocence sweeps readers from the elaborate elegance of Boston's high society to Harvard's hallowed halls to Belgium's war-ravaged battlefields, offering a powerful and poignant vision of love and hope in the midst of a violent, broken world.
Allegra Jordan is an author and innovation consultant. She led marketing at USAToday.com, handled crisis communications for the Enron investigation, co-developed a Google Glass app, and has taught innovation in sixteen countries on five continents. Her articles, cases, and book reviews have appeared in USA Today, TEDx, and in publications by Duke, Harvard, and UT-Austin. She curates a top-ranked reconciliation poetry website. A graduate with honors of Harvard Business School, she has been named a top executive under 40 in Austin, Texas, and Birmingham, Alabama. The End of Innocence is her debut novel. (Formerly HARVARD 1914, the work was acquired by Sourcebooks, edited, and new material added.)