If you’ve read my first three books, you’ll probably remember three women –Danielle Debenard from Cherubs 2; Natalie Vishinski in Big Mother 40; and in Render Harmless, Rebekah Cohen.

Working backwards, Rebekah is restless. Born in Israel, she came to the United States with her mother who married an American. She doesn’t want a husband whose life represents and lure of adventure. In Josh, she finds a man whose chosen career will give her just that – chance to live outside the United States, not be boring and provide her with a set of unique challenges.

In Render Harmless, the Haman’s are living in Yeovil in southern England. The officer assigned to be his sponsor happens to be the future Duke of Leeds. For a woman who grew up fascinated with the kings and queens of England, becoming friends with a future duke and duchess was something that as a little girl she dreamed about.

Rebekah becomes Josh’s rock and helps pick up the pieces after Natalie’s murder. They’re both kindred souls. Rebekah’s natural father was killed during the 1956 Arab-Israeli war. Josh lost his wife. Both intuitively know the effect of the loss of a loved one on each other.

Natalie Vishinski was smitten by a dashing young Naval Aviator by the name of Josh Haman. Josh fell head over heels in love with Natalie who was the only daughter of two Russian immigrants. He, unlike other men, instantly accepted the fact that she was an amputee. Natalie steadfastly refused to marry Josh until he came home from his second tour in Vietnam, but throughout Big Mother 40, she gets drawn farther and farther into Josh’s orbit. Well before the end, there was no doubt they would marry.

And then there was Danielle Debenard, the daughter of a French Foreign Legion officer and a Laotian woman. A graduate of the Sorbonne in Paris, she’s left the nest and without saying it, she realizes that her native Laos doesn’t offer her the life she wants. Danielle is trapped between two worlds, the one she grew up in Laos and the one she lived in as a Singapore based translator in the French foreign service.

Danielle’s mother won’t leave the land of her birth even though she knows the civil war will probably kill her. It is her karma.

Danielle’s father, Jacques knows it is time to leave their plantation and move someplace outside war torn South East Asia. Singapore is one choice, France is another. He won’t leave his wife to her fate even though he knows he may die. Several times, Danielle tries to get her mother to leave Laos, even temporarily but she won’t hear of it.

What attracted Josh to Danielle, Natalie and Rebekah was that they were assertive and independent. They’d accept the traditional role as a wife and homemaker. None hesitated to (in Natalies case would have) set aside their career ambitions to be a mother. When the time came, each woman wanted her own career, identity and success. In Danielle’s case, the career came first.

In future books, you’ll learn more about Danielle and Rebekah. Rebekah plays a larger role in the coming novel Inner Look.

Marc Liebman

December 2016