Two different families escape from the political tyranny of their respective homelands, the Josephsons from Sweden and Matias and Kurt Bauman, brothers from Germany and Austria Hungary, with the aid of a Viennese opera diva, Sophie Augusta Rose, and Jean Guenoc, a former Jesuit priest, family friend and protector and partisan of the French underground.
Their journey brings them to America in the throes of the industrial revolution during the 1890s and early 1900s. Ingrid and Olaf Josephson settle on a small wheat farm in North Central Minnesota to raise their children, Newt and Julie.
Among the Jewish entrepreneurs forced to leave Germany and Austria-Hungary, Matias and Kurt Bauman re-establish their transportation company in Chicago, Illinois.
In search of a secret list of insurgent social democrats, the bounty hunter assassin, Luther Baggot, tracks his victims to the American heartland. Following the murder of their mother and father, Newt, Julie, and their friends, Aaron and Beth Peet, hide from the killer in a Northern Minnesota logging camp. Believing the children have taken possession of the list, Luther tracks them down.
Fleeing to a central Minnesota town, the four young people come across a remote business location of Bauman Enterprises and meet Matias Bauman, who had been a friend and former political collaborator with Newt's and Julie's parents. He takes them all to Chicago where a different world opens up to them as they are thrust into the turmoil and violence of an urban society and economy careening into the new century.
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About the Author
Tell-Tale Publishing Group LLC
9781944056452, 600 pages
Set in the early 20th century, this is a story of loss, love and redemption that is based on true stories.
The Josephson family, recent immigrants from Sweden, have a dairy farm in Minnesota. The parents, Olaf and Ingrid, were part of the social democratic, or socialist, movement in Europe. The right-wing Prussian government would like to wipe socialism off the map, which is why the Josephson's are in America. The parents are visited by Luther, a bounty hunter sent by Prussia. He really wants a list of social democrat members that the Josephson's supposedly have. The parents are killed by Luther's shotgun, forcing their teenage children. Julie and Newt, to flee to a lumber camp up north.
Along with a couple of friends who got involved, Julie and Newt survive for almost a year in the lumber camp (Julie does her best to impersonate a boy). The make the acquaintance of Matias Bauman, who knew the Josephson parents, and was forced to leave Europe for similar reasons. He takes the group to his mansion in Chicago. The labor and socialism unrest in Chicago is growing, along with the horrible treatment of workers by the employers.
Julie's "job" is to hand out socialist pamphlets on the street, while Newt is something of a rising star in Bauman Enterprises. Luther has not forgotten about the Josephson children. He is nearby, just waiting for a chance to kill everyone involved. Does he succeed? Who is still alive at the end?
This is an excellent novel. The author does a wonderful job with the historical research (industrialist J.P. Morgan is one of the characters). The story itself is also well-done. It is very much worth reading.
Paul Lappen, Reviewer