Protecting Paige is Deby Eisenberg’s followup to her first novel,Pictures of the Past, for which she spoke nationally at various locations as part of the Jewish Book Council author tour, the Illinois Holocaust Museum, and many other venues.
Protecting Paige retraces events from the 1915 Eastland disaster on the Chicago River to the Holocaust and beyond. It is the story of a young orphaned girl who tries to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past, which ultimately leads to the discovery of her mother’s story of survival during the Holocaust and the toll of coping with trauma and tragedy.
For many, uncovering the past about a family member involves making peace with a legacy of sacrifice and survival. Especially for those whose family members witnessed and survived the Holocaust, it’s crucial that their stories be passed down to future generations.
Eisenberg, a local author who splits her time between homes in Chicago and South Florida, was cognizant of capturing every emotional and historical detail right in her multi-layered historical novel, Protecting Paige, which is driven by twists, turns, and revelations as she retraces events from the 1915 Eastland disaster on the Chicago River to the Holocaust and beyond.
“I will stumble upon an interesting historical event or visit a heritage site and be compelled to envision the people who might have lived in that intriguing place or been personally impacted by a historical moment,” Eisenberg said.
Known for her moving, book club-favorite fiction debut, Pictures of the Past, Eisenberg presents a riveting story revolving around Paige, a girl orphaned by a random act of gang violence, her two unlikely saviors, and her discovery of secret tragedies and startling truths at the core of her identity.
Opening in Chicago 1962, Protecting Paige unfolds during a time of nationwide turmoil and transformation, coinciding with Paige’s journey to uncover her family’s hidden past — in Paris and Buchenwald. It captures a young woman’s coming of age and a man’s search for a lost love.
When Paige stumbles upon her mother’s diary, more secrets — and questions — surface. Gradually, her uncle unfolds the dramatic story of Celine, their complicated relationship during and after the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust, and an aching loss. Together, Maxwell and Paige embark on a quest to find one remaining family member and finally make peace with a legacy of suffering, sacrifice, strength and survival.
“What this story illuminates most of all is that people need support from other people to endure any of life’s tragedies,” Eisenberg said. “At the core of the novel is the question: When you have lost everyone you love, how can you make yourself whole again?”
Deby Eisenberg will be on a panel of local authors at the Miami Beach JCC on Sept. 21 at 12:30 p.m. and at Temple Beth Am in Pinecrest on Oct. 23 at 10 a.m.