Libby talks to Pam Stack about A Bend in the River

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A Bend in the River



In 1968 two young Vietnamese sisters flee to Saigon after their village on the Mekong River is attacked by American forces and burned to the ground. The only survivors of the brutal massacre that killed their family, the sisters struggle to survive but become estranged, separated by sharply different choices and ideologies. Mai ekes out a living as a GI bar girl, but Tâm’s anger festers, and she heads into jungle terrain to fight with the Viet Cong. For nearly ten years, neither sister knows if the other is alive. Do they both survive the war? And if they do, can they mend their fractured relationship? Or are the wounds from their journeys too deep to heal? In a stunning departure from her crime thrillers, Libby Fischer Hellmann delves into a universal story about survival, family, and the consequences of war.

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“In this richly drawn tour de force, Libby Hellmann paints an Asian family saga over two continents. Two sisters take different paths, struggle to confront the past, themselves, and each other. Highly recommended.”
—Cara Black, NY Times Bestselling author of Three Hours in Paris

“In a brilliant departure from her earlier work, Hellmann has crafted a stunning piece of historical fiction… a story that will force us all to look back on the Vietnam War with a different, and I believe kinder, understanding. This is an important novel that deserves a broad audience. Kudos to Hellmann for her courage in striking out in this bold, new direction.”
—William Kent Krueger, NY Times Bestselling Author of This Tender Land

“Libby Fischer Hellmann is at her best in this novel… This gripping international saga illuminates the complexities of politics and loyalty and love, and is a powerful testament to the strength of women.”
—Sujata Massey, Author, The Satapur Moonstone