Annunciation is a novel about forgetting.

As German occupation of Denmark ended in the final months of World War 2, thousands of Danish women, so-called “German tramps”, were assaulted and shunned for having loved enemy soldiers. It was an ugly time, perhaps better forgotten.

In this novel, a few of these women find sanctuary on a remote island farm where they vow to protect  their daughters from the horrors they endured.

Decades later, four of their descendants who’ve never met before move into apartments bordering a large park in the town of Viborg. All have reached dramatic turning points in their lives, but none can move forward until they uncover the stories their mothers and grandmothers never told.

In love, friendship, the end of life and the beginning, these characters meet and bring hidden threads to the surface. Some are whole, some irreparably frayed, but all are intertwined and bring about changes  that redefine three generations of mothers, grandmothers, daughters and sons.

The story is told from multiple points of view with short flashback chapters to wartime.

Current progress: 17 full drafts edited, word count pared from a high of 164,000 to a tighter 116,000, currently querying!

Sneak peek

30 March 2007



“You think life is a goddamn game?”

He wasn’t anywhere near where the bowl hit, split, and starburst like chalk dropped on tile.

“I never said it was a game!”

“You’re treating it like one.”

“The fuck I am!” A second plate flew through the air, this one like a frisbee.

Robert moved around the edge of the dining table, keeping an eye on Pia’s throwing arm. “I should have known. I just— You just—” he sputtered and searched. “Oh my God how could you?” He stumbled like a war casualty to the couch—their usual spot for make-ups—but she was done calling him Bobby and making nice.

He’d called her a murderer. It wasn’t wordplay. He meant it. Thus, the ugly fruit of their tangled roots blasted to bits like her ivy-pattern bowl.

“Who do you even think you are?” he’d sobbed, and she still doesn’t have an answer despite the fact that he’d stopped asking 4000 miles ago.

Dark curtains—resale sheets, actually, pinned together—seep the empty blue of overcast. At the edge of a secondhand mattress, Pia’s limbs point away from the window—hands and feet drape into space.

She didn’t hate him, exactly—he wasn’t the sort to provoke anything as raw as hate. Actually, he treated her like he loved her, sort of, not that it matters now. Her ticket home was bought in shame over admitting failure. Probably. A mower growls in the grassy space under her window. She flips arms and legs spread-eagle like a skydiver, kicking bedding to the floor.

In this light it’s hard to tell where wall ends and ceiling begins.

Nanna had asked her why she went to America in the first place, and Pia told her, in a nutshell, for love. It was, honestly, one version of the truth. Once upon a time, she met an English teacher who wandered into the cathedral with a camera while she and Johs were practicing for the following Sunday. She told him to go be a tourist elsewhere, but he asked her out instead, and by the time Dad was gone they were long-distance dating. The day of the funeral, he invited her to New Jersey, and as one decision opens up a whole new set, she applied for residency, they got an apartment, and she decorated for comfort—which meant things from home.

A clang and tinkle of bottles signals trash day. Pia hauls herself upright, shakes it off, and spends the morning packing. From “Mama Mia” to “S.O.S.” it’s all mops and rags. She stands on a chair to “Dancing Queen”, unclips curtains that fall around her in a rush of dust and light, tucks them around CDs dumped in a box, strips the bed, and crams her pillow into a laundry basket around the coffee maker—all the while fighting off nightmarish snapshots of the last time she’d wrapped and shipped her belongings.

When Nanna heard about the truck crash, they were pricing a load of estate sale things. She offered comforted in words. “All the pretty things you could ever collect are a poor substitute for what’s lost, but beauty…” she’d handed Pia a tiny teacup, “…it can distract you in the right direction so you remember what beautiful things are for.”

The curve of Pia’s palm molded to the nearly transparent porcelain, green and gold vines on iridescent periwinkle. Her finger slipped through the slim, looped handle. Hand, then arm, then spirit became as dainty as the thing she held. “So then why’s there so much grief in them?”

“Because they help the body connect to the heart, and the heart holds many things.”

So does the truck. Thumping a mattress down the steps—bashing around landings, getting wedged against rails, and loading it alone was equal parts comedic and painful. It would have been handy to have help.

Oh, Johs.

No calls, no texts, no signs whatsoever since he left her flat with Naja nearly three months ago. Instinct says he’s not in trouble or she would have heard something. Must they go through these gaps?

When the apartment is barren as it was when she’d arrived and cleaning things are assembled in a bucket, she addresses the credenza, “Now how do I get you out of here?”

It stands—tall, empty, splotched with dustless circles and lines—and does not reply.