Main Characters

Johanna

Crack Between The Worlds - by Carmen Stenholm

  Hanna’s idyllic life in a late 19-century farming village in Germany was changed forever when she was orphaned at the age of four when marauders from a distant village raided her home. Raised by surviving neighbors, she was sent to work in the textile mills at age six and given in marriage to Walter, her step-father’s best friend, at age 14.
  Despite these hardships, Hanna’s spirit survived. She eventually learned to love her husband and raised his four children and eight more of her own. Keeping body and soul together by doing laundry for the village, she continued to support her family even after Walter’s death. Through the loss of some children to illness and others to the far-off city of Dresden where they went to seek a better life, Hannah continued on.
  As a widow, never willing to completely let go of her dreams, she allowed herself to follow her heart just once. The result was not a marriage and a contented old age; instead it resulted in the birth of her youngest daughter, Maria—whose life would expand far beyond the limits of their tiny village, and give Hanna the family with whom she spent her old age.

Maria

Crack Between The Worlds - by Carmen Stenholm

  Willful and spirited, Mia was never content to keep her dreams at bay. Along with her mother’s strong work ethic, she had a determination to break free of her prescribed role in life and find her own place in the world—a place of love, romance, attractive clothes, —and a world where, she promised herself, there was always enough to eat.
  She learned early the power of her own beauty and, as a young woman, won the heart of the man who would make her dreams come true. At 18, she had all she could hope for—the love of a man who had a place in society, who would eventually inherit a thriving ceramics factory, the man to whom she’d given herself completely on the night he proposed marriage. But her dreams turned to dust when her new fiancé was killed in a riding accident and all she had from that night were shattered hopes and his child growing within her.
  But even an illegitimate child couldn’t keep her from her dreams. Determined to succeed no matter what the price she studied constantly, worried incessantly and eventually paid dearly as she left her daughter and homeland behind to become the housekeeper—and eventually the wife—of a professor in North Dakota, in the United States of America.

Ella

Crack Between The Worlds - by Carmen Stenholm

  Born in a small town in eastern Germany just 10 years after the end of World War I, Ella’s entire life was colored by the politics and wars of her native country. Living with her mother and grandmother in a fourth-floor tenement walkup, with the smell of the laundry that her grandmother took in to keep them alive, she grew up a sickly child who often escaped reality through books and daydreams.
  Within the backdrop of the war that destroyed the people and places she loved—sometimes right before her eyes—this is the story of a young girl’s personal daily battle to become the woman she wishes to be. Her life was one of constant incongruities. At one moment, she was gripped in fear as she ran for shelter at the sound of oncoming planes. At another, she was filled with pride and desire as she met the young fighter pilots who often landed in the field by her apartment.
  Lacking both her grandmother’s acceptance of her fate and her mother’s often reckless daring, Ella fought daily between her belief that she was better than her circumstances and her fear that they would always control her.