Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


BoomerCafé asks, “Why Eva Braun?”

I’m very grateful to author Eric Mondschein and BoomerCafé for featuring an author interview and post about my novel, The Munich Girl, this week.

Here are a few of their thoughtful questions, plus a link to the rest of the article:


BC: What motivated you to write such a book?

PR: When I reconnected with Germany as an adult after living there in the early 1960s, I wanted to understand more about its experience during WWII. I returned home and was given a biography of Eva Braun written by British-German writer Angela Lambert.

In order to understand Germany and the war, I needed to read more about Hitler and the Third Reich and Eva Braun seemed a likely point of entry. What I never expected was the deeper topics and themes that would arise when I got that close to Hitler’s living room.

BC: What message are you trying to convey to readers?

PR: At least two.

One is that there is a reality that transcends appearances, and we miss a lot of the truth because we don’t investigate it more completely.

This is also a story about outlasting that chaos and confusion of war and destruction by valuing, and believing in, the ultimate triumph of all of the good that we are willing to contribute to building together. Many Germans did this, though until recently, their stories have remained unknown.

The novel is also about the eventual homecoming we must all make to our truest self, and the role that others often mysteriously play in that process.

12342460_10208150312625888_7743673090992892225_nRead the BoomerCafé article here:


More about The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies That Outlast War:




The rich harvest of feelings

IMG_9412It’s my pleasure this week to share this Guest Post:

The Reunion We Find Waiting

by Eric Mondschein

Being asked to write a guest post proved more difficult than I had imagined. I have a blog, and know I need to be more active about posting my own commentaries and thoughts, not to mention articles on issues of the day.

Here, however, I have been asked to write for someone else’s site, thus not only representing myself, but in a way, her, as well. To complicate matters, if I were writing about a topic, issue, or event, I would tackle it as I normally do: research the subject, gather facts, determine the particular principles that might apply, learn what others have said, then form my own conclusions and put pen to paper – or, these days, fingers to keyboard.

No one makes me write. In professional positions I’ve held over the years, I have been required to file reports, write memoranda, even treatises, but I was never required to publish law-related articles, or write poems. I wrote those because I wanted to.

It certainly was not because I had nothing better to do. The time spent away from family and the activities that were sacrificed along the way attest to that. It was more often a feeling of being compelled to write. Not for others, although most writers do want people to read their work, but to feed a need or a desire coming from within. This sunflower is BIG

No one makes me post articles, poetry – even recipes — on my blog, though I’ve been struggling to keep up with my postings. It’s not that I’ve been lax, although I am sure that plays a small part. Instead, for now, I’ve felt compelled to write about my experience growing up. The writing is not really so much about me as it is about those feelings and emotions that we all at one time or another share; feelings of joy, happiness, sadness, anger, fear — and yes, loss — that each of us, in our own yet similar ways, do inevitably encounter.

Through this writing experience, I have come to recognize, dare I speak a universal truth, that even in the solitude of writing, we are not truly alone. Our memories of loved ones, friends, and those we admire are always with us, some closer to the surface of awareness than others, but they are there nonetheless.

And if we are really willing to listen, they have much to offer.


You Touched Me

After so many years of building barriers, digging trenches,
Setting stone, and preparing to do battle,
You breached the walls, broke the seals and smashed the locks
Where I had taken refuge.

Your warm smile and gentle words of encouragement
Made me take pause and ponder.
I laid down my sword and shield, and removed my armor.

You touched me where I used to live, and amazed,

                                                                                        I found that I was still at home.

Eric01Dr. Eric S. Mondschein has taught law and education, worked for the US government, published and edited numerous articles and books, directed an award-winning program for the New York State Bar Association, and served as an advisor in external affairs, government relations, security, and analysis of human rights. His book, Life at 12 College Road, is scheduled for release by Something or Other Publishing this fall. To learn more, visit http://soopllc.com.