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A wall – the traditional stumbling block of love from Pyramus and Thisbe through The Fantasktiks – poses an even greater problem when it is guarded by armed police and maintained by a cold, hard enemy. The Berlin Wall is a main character in “The Moment” by Douglas Kennedy.

The novel takes the reader to life in Berlin during the Cold War: Checkpoint Charlie is rife with constantly suspicious guards while the East German Stasi watch every move.

After Thomas Nesbitt, a freelance writer living close to the Berlin Wall, is hired by Radio Free Europe, he meets Petra Dussman, an intelligent, poised and strikingly beautiful refuge from East Berlin. He is taken with her immediately from the moment they meet. In previous relationships, Thomas has walked away rather than make a commitment, but Petra is different, and he finds he wants to marry her. But the Cold War interferes, and the relationship ends.

Twenty-six years later, Mr. Nesbitt, now a well-known travel writer, is long divorced with an adult daughter. He is a loner, living an isolated life in Maine, when a package arrives for him from Berlin bearing the return address, “Dussman,” and Nesbitt’s past becomes his present. This is a love story that is deeply reflective  and explores how choices can change the lives of all involved.

The story is engaging and characterizations will draw readers in. Mr. Kennedy writes simply, but with great insight and from the heart, creating a plot rich in romance, intrigue, espionage, history and thought-provoking asides. As the author probes Thomas’s relationships with his ex-wife, his daughter and the long-ago love of his life, readers will wonder whether any of the story is autobiographical. Kennedy has lived an international life; he was born in Manhattan and now lives variously in homes in London, Paris and Maine. His writing continues to gain in popularity.