Elise Frances Miller’s authentic memories of the 1960s run throughout The Berkeley Girl: Rendezvous in London, a sequel to her award-winning novel, The Berkeley Girl: In Paris, 1968.
To this novella, Elise adds three touching and offbeat new stories set in that turbulent era. Together, these four scenarios capture the people, the excitement, the cultural upheaval as well as the tensions that still resonate with us today.
If you’ve ever wondered what the ‘60s were all about, this is the book that will reveal the motivations and events that changed a generation and influenced a nation.
Janet began Berkeley as a shy, straight-arrow freshman, looking to her boyfriend Aaron for advice. When her brother is drafted, she defies Aaron, joining the anti-Vietnam War movement, first in Berkeley, then in Paris.
The Berkeley Girl: Rendezvous in London begins when, against all expectations, Aaron Becker shows up in Paris. Over and over again, Aaron has proven himself to be more cautious than brave, more cynical than idealistic. Yet here he is, rescuing Janet from the French police and offering to smuggle cash to Soviet-controlled Prague in Janet’s place!
Janet thinks Aaron is a changed man, but what happens when they meet she meets him after Prague for for a romantic week in London?
Nothing about Janet and Aaron’s eagerly-anticipated London tryst turns out like they imagined. Janet makes quirky new friends and finds a new cause, Aaron winds up scrambling for jobs, and the two of them keep challenging each other, just as in their time together at UC Berkeley.
How did it feel for Aaron to face the changes that enveloped him? Follow Aaron as he flees the draft, falls in love with Janet all over again, and then discovers that the world is not necessarily on the side of the guys seeking sanctuary from the Vietnam War.
What did Janet experience during her jarring new exposure to the women’s struggle for respect, equal rights and the wages to go with them? Like most of the “college girls” of her era, she had been taught that college was her ticket to a suburban life of marriage with children. In London, she was confronted with the worldwide barriers to women’s equality that became so much a part of the late 1960s awakening.
In addition to Rendezvous, Miller has penned three new stories, offering wildly divergent perspectives on the era of the later 1960s:
The View from Pond Hill Farm is the story of a Midwest farm boy, intrigued by a new friend from the ‘60s-style commune down the road. When his parents scorn the long-haired hippies, he hides his involvement. A moral dilemma emerges, and we watch how the community and the family respond.
In Jazz Reﬂections, two decades later, a middle-aged man is haunted by his tumultuous Berkeley college romance and the Haight-Ashbury scene, and still wonders about the choices he made.
The Wedding of My Dreams, a coming-of-age story in the late 1960s, brings us the generation who decided to get married on the beach, disdain the need for crystal and china, and join Vista or the Peace Corps to make the world a better place. But the mother of the bride is dreaming of the white wedding that she, a bride during the Great Depression, never had and bristles at the hideous choices her daughter is making.
Click here for a podcast of Elise’s Interview with Martin Sorensen, Sand Hill Review publisher.
The Berkeley Girl is published by Sand Hill Review Press. Visit the SHRP website for special deals and for synopses of this publisher’s many novels, non-fiction books and anthologies.