Torpedoed Lusitantia.National Archives-1-1
Line of Flight

As the Great War rages in 1915, recently widowed Simone Levitsky has but one goal: to find her estranged daughter, Camilla, who has run off with her beau from their tightly knit Jewish community in Massachusetts to volunteer for the French war effort, and bring her back home

When Simone learns that Camilla tends wounded soldiers at a Paris hospital, she books passage to Europe on the world’s fastest transatlantic steamer, the R.M.S. Lusitania, despite rumors that the voyage is doomed. Barely surviving a German torpedo attack that sinks the ship, she accepts help from an intriguing fellow passenger to find her daughter. But soon after they arrive in Paris, she discovers that Camilla has vanished.

Fearing she has lost her daughter for good, Simone must choose between desire and her determination to find Camilla on her own. A cryptic message delivered by carrier pigeon sends her on a dangerous search along the Western Front that bonds her with two women—a Parisian mother whose husband risks a firing squad to protect his troops, and a feisty expat who drives for an American relief effort—as she hazards her life, once again, to find her daughter and confront the true cause of their bitter parting.

Told to her granddaughter, Zoé, Line of Flight is Simone’s midlife coming-of-age story; it is also a tale of mother-daughter struggles and reconciliations, the meaning of home, and the quest for faith amidst barbarity.

Image: “RMS Lusitania torpedoed by German U-boat U-20,” Eyewitness at the National Archives via Wikimedia Commons; drawing printed in the New York Herald and London Sphere, ca. 1915