I’m delighted to welcome Ralph Webster back to Short Book and Scribes. Last time he was here I interviewed him about One More Moon. This time he’s here to talk about his new book, The Other Mrs Samson.
Surviving two wars, sharing one husband, searching for answers.
Where did you get the idea from? by Ralph Webster
The Other Mrs. Samson is the result. It has been my pandemic project – for me, the perfect way to stay hunkered down and out of harm’s way. I hope readers will find the story of Katie, Hilda, and the husband they share compelling and emotional – a bird’s eye view of what it was like to survive the world wars of the last century. While neither a romance novel nor a war story, their story is about privilege, struggle, and love. And the thing about love, as most of us know, is that it can sometimes be complicated.
Award winning author Ralph Webster received worldwide acclaim for his first book, A Smile in One Eye: A Tear in the Other, which tells the story of his father’s flight from the Holocaust. Voted a Goodreads 2016 Choice Awards Nominee for Best Memoir/Autobiography, A Smile in One Eye: A Tear in the Other, his second book, One More Moon, and now his third book, The Other Mrs. Samson, are proven book club selections for thought-provoking and engaging discussions.
A hidden compartment in a black lacquer cabinet left in an attic reveals the secrets of two incredible women: Hilda, born and raised in one of the wealthiest Jewish families in turn-of-the-century San Francisco, and Katie, whose early life in Germany is marked by tragedy and death. Their lives are forever entwined by their love of the same man, the brilliant and compassionate Dr. Josef Samson.
From the people I know, the stories I heard, and from a small black lacquered antique cabinet in the attic. It had been hidden in a corner for nearly fifteen years when I rediscovered it one day when I was up there searching for furnace filters. I knew where it came from and why we had it but knew little about its journey or the secrets it would lead me to uncover. Only when I opened its doors and looked beneath the drawers did I find the missing clues to questions I have been trying to answer and the riddles I have wanted to unravel for years.
From the earliest, rough-and-tumble days of San Francisco, through the devastation of the Great War in Berlin and the terrors of Vichy France, and then to a new yet uncertain life in New York City, their stories span the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century. In the end, one of these women will complete the life of the other and make a startling discovery about the husband they share.