Crises arise, but love prevails in Geraldine Boyce’s transatlantic novel

Geraldine Boyce’s first novel, Homefront, told the story of how Harry met Jenny. Jenny Bartlett was a young English woman, just past girlhood, the daughter of a proper middle-class family. Harry Sanders was a young American stationed in England during World War II when he met young Jenny and won her heart. He returned to England in 1947 to claim her hand in marriage.

Boyce’s new novel, Here and There, picks up the story right after the wedding. The young couple say goodbye to Jenny’s family and her homeland and sail across the Atlantic. But the voyage does not end when the Queen Mary sails past the Statue of Liberty and docks in New York. The journey, in fact, has only begun. Miles lie ahead before they can make their home in Cascade, California, a small town across the Golden Gate from San Francisco. Decades lie ahead of them too, during which Harry and Jenny will mature and age gracefully as their marriage succeeds through hard work, tears, and love.

Family is a central theme of Here and There. A young Englishwoman may leave home, but England will be with her always. A loyal daughter and sister, she remains connected to her first family for her entire life, even as she becomes enmeshed in the complicated, sometimes funny, sometimes exasperating clan of her in-laws and the adventures and intrigues of their many friends. In time, she and Harry have children of their own; and before the end of this saga, they are the “old folks,” the grandparents whose ties to the future are as important as their ties to the past.

The Americanization of Jenny Bartlett Sanders is a story of striving to belong, of adjustment, love, and loyalty to the past and courage in facing the future. Old-country values meet new-world adventures, proving that when immigrants come to America, they can set down roots without losing their love for the country of their birth.

Geraldine Boyce is the pseudonym of Jean Symmes, a British-American novelist and playwright. She lives in Mill Valley, California, where she and her husband raised four children.


Here and There
Geraldine Boyce
ISBN 1-56474-422-6
352 pages, paperback, $14.95

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