Belva Plain books in order
Belva Plain was a Jewish American bestselling author of multigenerational family sagas and historical romance novels.
Born and raised in New York City, she attended Barnard College where she graduated with a degree in history in 1939.
Prior to becoming a novelist, Belva spent her time writing short stories for magazines and being a mother to her three children.
Although she sold her first story to Cosmopolitan at age 25, it wasn't until 1978 that Belva published her first novel, Evergreen.
The first book in the Werner Family Saga, Evergreen became a New York Times bestseller, and was also made into an NBC mini-series.
In overall, her books have been translated into 22 languages, with nearly 30 million copies of her books available in print.
Belva died on October 12, 2010, at her home in Short Hills, New Jersey.
She was 95.
Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Sagas
- Random Winds (1980)
- Eden Burning (1982)
- Crescent City (1985)
- Blessings (1989)
- Treasures (1992)
- Whispers (1993)
- Daybreak (1994)
- The Carousel (1995)
- Promises (1996)
- Secrecy (1997)
- Homecoming (1997)
- Legacy of Silence (1998)
- Fortune's Hand (1999)
- After the Fire (2000)
- Looking Back (2001)
- Her Father's House (2002)
- The Sight of the Stars (2003)
- Crossroads (2005)
- Belva Plain, Three Complete Novels : Blessings, Whispers, and Homecoming (2003)
Werner Family Saga
- Evergreen (1978)
- The Golden Cup (1986)
- Tapestry (1988)
- Harvest (1989)
- Heartwood (2010)
Detailed book overview
A tragedy on a cold Adirondack day robbed country doctor Enoch Farrell of his three oldest children. Then all his hopes rested with his son, Martin, who dreamed of becoming a doctor too. Intelligent, gifted Martin could have a brilliant future. All that stood in his way was his family's poverty—until he met wealthy, beautiful Mary Fern Meig and her sister, Jessie, and everything changed forever.
Moving from a teeming New York hospital to the elite operating theaters of London, Martin Farrell is about to learn the price of success—a secret bargain with the Meigs that could resonate into the next generation . . . and test the strength of a man and a woman's passion across the coming years . . .
Teresa Francis could never go home again to the lush Caribbean island of her birth. Even at fifteen, as she fled to Paris to avoid scandal, Teresa knew that the island was her past, never to be spoken of again. Her future lay in New York, in a hasty marriage to a charming, wealthy man who would give her children yet never piece her wall of reserve.
But the island was in the Francis blood. And nothing could keep Teresa’s son from its shores, so mysterious, so seductive, its extravagant beauty veiling the darkness within. Here he would walk in his mother’s steps, in a parallel life, so close to the secrets she buried years before. And here he would find his destiny in the passions of history, political upheaval, and forbidden love. . . .
She was the exquisite daughter of a wealthy Jewish merchant. From a charmed girlhood in opulent New Orleans, she would be swept into the cataclysm of the Civil War. Forced to choose between her duties as a Southern wife and mother and her love for a forbidden man, a forbidden cause, Miriam Raphael is at the center of the whirlwind in a spellbinding novel of divided loyalties and divided hearts.
A story of family... the Osbornes -- two sisters and a brother -- united by family ties but split apart by different dreams. Lara, the happy young wife, longs for the family that will make her life whole. Connie, wild and lovely, is more like her brother Eddy -- bright, ambitious, and ready to seize all that life has to offer.
A story of choices... Connie is looking for wealth -- to make or to marry. Lara, staying behind in a small Ohio town, finds everything she cherishes threatened by fate and by her own blind commitment. And Eddy, as Wall Street's "wonder boy," can make millions... if he ruthlessly uses his family and friends.
A story of marriages... Lara's held together by devotion, Connie's shattered by infidelity and betrayal, and Eddy's rocked by shame and prison. Torn by conflicting loyalties, they are a family caught in the tides of scandal... and swept toward a fate where dreams may end or be born again...
Robert and Lynn Ferguson are a picture-perfect couple with two beautiful daughters and a lovely home in an exclusive Connecticut community.
Robert is on the fast track of a major corporation. Lynn is devoted to her family and good works. But in the Ferguson's closed doors hide a painful secret Lynn must keep from the world-and her children-at any cost... Not even the Fergusons's best friends, Josie and Bruce Lehman, know of Lynn's shame.
Social worker Josie sees her bruises distrusts the too-ambitious, too perfect Robert, and suspects the real cause of the children's increasingly disturbed behavior. But not even Josie can pierce Lynn's wall of silence, a wall that will not crumble until Lynn is forced to face herself-and the truth-at last. Belva Plain's searing novel of a family's heartbreak, a woman's courage, and a subject too often talked about only in whispers.
The doctor's office is cool, white, sterile. But the doctor's words are searing: blood tests prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Margaret and Arthur Crawfield's beloved, dying son is not their child. Now they must face Peter's death and the shock of having a son they have never met. Grieving, yet compelled, they begin a search that will tear two families apart.
Laura and "Bud" Rice share an elegant home and two children, brilliant, handsome Tom, and cherished, chronically ill eleven-year-old Timmy. But after nineteen years of marriage, Laura's respectable husband is a stranger—and the reason for Tom's escalating involvement with a group of campus bigots. Suddenly the Crawfields enter their lives and shatter their fragile world. As the Rices' quiet Southern town explodes with hate and violence, the two families must embrace—or be destroyed by—the shattering truth.
In public, Oliver Grey is a devoted father, prominent public figure, humanitarian, and respected businessman. But in private, there's a much darker side to Oliver Grey; a side so dark that someone is driven to kill him...
Though the Greys appear to be an enviable upper class family, they are not without problems. Ian, the older son, is a womanizer and compulsive gambler; Clive, the younger son, is an odd man barely five feet tall with no life outside his work as an accountant; and Amanda, Oliver's niece, whom he raised after her parents died in a plane crash, has been twice divorced and has had a difficult life.
Dan, Amanda's brother, is the only Grey who appears to have no problems—except with his six-year-old daughter Caroline, whose behavior reminds him more and more of his troubled sister Amanda.
The trouble had started with Oliver Grey's decision to divide his nationally known business, Grey's Food, among Ian, Clive, and Dan. Amanda, bitter about being left out of the business, arrives from California to straighten out her financial holdings in the company.
On a visit to Ellen, Dan's wife, Amanda sees a silver carousel much like the one Oliver gave her when she was a child. Ellen says the carousel was a gift to Caroline from Oliver. Amanda breaks down and tells Ellen that Oliver had given her the carousel to keep her from telling the truth about the unspeakable things he had done to her.
Ellen, horrified by this revelation, finally understands why her daughter has been acting so strangely and why a therapist had raised the possibility that Caroline may have been sexually abused. Ellen goes to Oliver Grey's home that evening to confront him. And when she leaves he is dead.
With her three children, beautiful home, and loving husband, Margaret Crane is a woman others would envy. Adam's job has cushioned them nicely over the years, and it should be a time of contentment, rewards, of new challenges together. But lately Adam has been working too late, too hard, at the office. Margaret is sure it's just the rumored takeover of his company--until she meets Randi, The Other Woman...
Meanwhile, Nina, the orphaned cousin the Cranes raised as their own daughter, is reveling in New York. She thinks she's found Mr. Right in Keith, a brilliant investment banker. But Keith has a secret he has not shared with Nina. All he asks for is time...and patience. And as Nina clings to stolen weekends with Keith, Margaret plays dutiful wife, trying to ignore warning signs of her own failing marriage. A rift has developed between the two women who have loved each other as mother, daughter, friends. Keith is not welcome in Margaret's home. And Nina herself is the other woman...
First came the sin. Then the lies.
He was handsome, charming, irresistible, and an eighteen-year-old lady-killer, her uncle Cliff's stepson, Ted. But in one terrible night he would shatter the life of fourteen-year-old Charlotte Dawes and nearly destroy her family. Years afterward, Charlotte would remember that night with fear and loathing, with pain that could be banished only by her work as a gifted architect, building a new world for others as she conceals her own.
For Charlotte's family, prime employers in New England mill town, what happened to Charlotte was the beginning of the end. Her father is left shattered by his daughter's pain. Her troubled mother is unable to cope. And her distinguished family has fallen from grace, plunged into debt. The only rock that sustains them in their darkest hours is a woman whose own guilty secret has given her the power to ruin--or resurrect--the family to whom she owes her life.
With unerring insight and emotional power, Belva Plain, in her extraordinary novel, tells the story of a family divided and of the proud matriarch who takes a bold last stand to unite her warring children in what may be their last Homecoming.
It is a crisp December day when Annette Byrne walks to the end of her long, curving driveway and drops five sealed envelopes into the mailbox, quickly, before second thoughts stay her hand. Shortly thereafter, with the holidays approaching, her estranged family will be gathered at her country estate for the first time in years.
The sons. . . two brothers embittered by a breach of ethics, honor, and trust. The grandchildren. . . one young couple on the verge of divorce; another, lovingly united against the parents who have tarnished their lives. As the ill-fated meeting hurtles toward a bitter and abrupt conclusion, not even Annette Byrne's indomitable will can heal the rift--until a shattering event alters the landscape forever.
Caroline Hartzinger flees wartime Europe with a shattered life and a devastating secret. Pregnant and unwed, she arrives in America in 1939.
Joel Hirsch offers marriage and respectability, hoping one day to earn her love, if not the passion she feels for a man whose memory still haunts them both. With Joel, Caroline builds a new life, determined to bury the past—until her daughter Eve brings Caroline’s carefully crafted world crashing down again, driven by a rage to learn the truth.
Now it is Eve’s secret, a legacy that taints her life and puts generations at risk. But with it comes a gift—a new sister, young enough to be her own daughter, who offers hope, then a truth that will finally break the hold of the past.
He led a charmed life...until he wanted more.
Robb MacDaniel was an idealistic young teacher engaged to his high school sweetheart--when a sudden windfall, tragically earned, offered him the opportunity to go to law school and pursue a brilliant career. But nothing in Robb MacDaniel's life could have prepared him for the price of a dream come true. A job in a prominent law firm. Marriage to the boss's daughter. A wonderful family. A splendid home. Then the offers he couldn't refuse. Great success, greater hunger, greatest shame...
What happens when the picture-perfect marriage dissolves? In her unsparing evocation of a family in crisis, Belva Plain goes to the heart of a marriage between a naïve young artist and her handsome physician husband. At first everything is idyllic. Then one terrible night she commits an act she will regret for the rest of her life. An act that gives her husband the ultimate weapon: blackmail. The price of his silence is uncontested custody of their two children.
When her own beautiful, angry mother wants to know why she won't fight for custody, she can give no answers. For she alone knows, or believes she knows, what really happened on that fateful night.
They met at school and have been inseparable ever since: Cecile, confident, elegant daughter of privilege; Norma, extraordinarily gifted and sadly troubled; and beautiful, ambitious Amanda, determined to rise above her humble southern beginnings. Two are married. One despairs of ever finding love. Three women. Leading their busy adult lives. Yet first and always: friends.
Then something unexpected happens that forever alters their long, complicated friendship. A pivotal event, a shattering act of betrayal shifts the balance of power between husbands and wives, parents and children, sisters and brothers. And in the months that follow, each of them will look at their families, their lives--and one another--differently.
And none of them will ever be the same.
It is the spring of 1968 when Donald Wolfe, a young graduate of a midwestern law school, arrives in New York. Filled with ambition and idealism, he is dazzled not only by the big city but by the vivacious, restless Lillian, whom he marries in the heat of infatuation.
Surely theirs is no marriage made in heaven, but they have a child, Tina, and she is the love of Donald’s heart. For her he would give up everything--his home, his distinguished career, and his freedom. When his flawed marriage begins to fail, a choice must be made. Shall he consider a step that would force him into flight and a life of hiding?
From her earliest years, Tina is exceptional, a brilliant student and a joyous, loving spirit. At the university she falls in love with Gilbert, who graduates from law school just as she is about to enter medical school. Together they go to New York, where she learns the truth about her family’s past, a truth that must change her regard for the father who has protected and cherished her. When a terrible lie has been told out of love, can it be forgiven?
Dressed in a brand-new suit, with one hundred and fifty dollars in his pocket, Adam Arnring says good-bye to his family and boards a train for the fabled West. The year is 1907. Adam is nineteen years old, a young man with stars in his eyes who has always dreamed of a future in the great open spaces of America.
Now, far from his New Jersey home, he takes the first step toward attaining that dream, landing a job in a small department store in a booming Texas town. Here he meets a woman who excites him beyond all measure. The exquisite, untouchable Emma Rothirsch lives in a world whose doors are firmly closed to him. But Adam is a man willing to take great risks to get what he wants.
One is Emma. The other is to build a lasting business enterprise that will live on through his children and grandchildren. But just when Adam’s dreams are within reach, fate intervenes. Tragedy strikes from the trenches of World War I, setting in motion a series of events that echo down through the years. The owner of a prospering department store and the head of a growing family, Adam succumbs to a moment of weakness that culminates in an unforgivable act of betrayal.
And now, as another generation prepares to take its rightful place in the family’s legendary empire, the tenuous threads of the Arnrings’ past begin to unravel, revealing a shattering secret that reaches back nearly a century.
Cassie Wright never saw it coming. As the owner of thriving Wright Glassworks, Cassie’s life was quiet, well-ordered . . . until a tragic accident forces her to take in a one-year-old child who has no one else to care for her. As the years pass, Cassie will raise young Gwen as her own, and the girl will flourish in a world of privilege and opportunity.
Enter Jewel Fairbanks. Beautiful and conniving, Jewel will touch the lives of both Cassie and Gwen in powerful ways. Both Gwen and Jewel will marry; Gwen will fall for honest, hardworking Stan. And Jewel will marry Jeff, a businessman who owns the company where Stan works.
But when Stan makes a shocking discovery on the job, a tangled drama of greed, jealousy, and betrayal will encircle both couples, changing four lives forever—in ways they never could have foreseen.
New York Times bestselling author Belva Plain has penned twenty internationally acclaimed novels. Her tales of family, heritage, and history will resonate with anyone who knows what it is to love and what it is to be a part of a family, which is why her stories captivate readers by the millions.
Blessings is the deeply moving story of the beautiful and gutsy Jennie Rakowsky, whose hidden secret of her youth is about to ruin her brilliantly successful career and brand-new engagement.
In Whispers, Lynn and Robert Ferguson seem to have the perfect marriage. But behind closed doors, they hide a terrible secret that threatens to destroy everything.
In Homecoming, family matriarch Annette Byrne makes one last effort to pull the fragmented parts of her clan together after tragedies have rocked their once comfortable world.
Werner Family Saga
Yearning for a better life, Anna Friedman fled Poland for New York at the turn of the century.
Finding work as a maid for the Werner family, Anna discovers an elegance beyond her dreams—and the passion of Paul Werner, a man beyond her reach, even when she is in his arms. But it is Joseph Friedman whom she marries. And through an act of illicit passion that will haunt her though all her days, Anna lifts Joseph from poverty to a wealth on which the Friedman dynasty would be based for generations.
Sweeping from Jazz Age New York to Nazi Germany to a sun-baked Israeli kibbutz, Evergreen has become a modern American classic—an epic novel that spans three generations of an unforgettable family—and exposes the heart of an extraordinary woman: her marriage, her children, her deceit.
Director: Fielder Cook
Cast: Lesley Ann Warren, Armand Assante, Ian McShane, Betty Buckley, Brian Dennehy, Robert Vaughn, Katherine Borowitz, Clare Coulter, Joan Allen, Boyd Gaines
A woman of hidden desires, Hennie De Rivera has none of the wealth enjoyed by her relatives, the Werner banking dynasty. But tall, shy Hennie has grand dreams, especially of daring activist Dan Roth, who invites controversy by fighting for New York's poorest immigrants.
Breaking society's rules might have devastating consequences for this passionate woman—and for her nephew Paul Werner, who weds his debutante fiancée while still yearning for his mother's beautiful maid, Anna Friedman. And amid heartbreaking discoveries and the gathering clouds of World War I, the stirring family saga begun in Evergreen continues with an unforgettable tale of forbidden passions, intimate secrets, and sweeping social change. . . .
Paul Werner watched the proud, daring immigrant Anna marry another man. But his desire for her haunts him...even after he weds the elegant Mimi, a woman of his own class. Now, as Paul wrestles with the dark demons of forbidden passion, his family and business are plunged into a maelstrom of tragedy and social changes.
Ahead lie the dark days of the Depression, the rise of pure evil in Europe, and a war that will change the world forever. But for Paul Werner a more personal struggle awaits—a choice of a lifetime and a new beginning, or the most painful of final good-byes.
Only one man knew the secret Anna Friedman vowed to carry to her grave. Only he could undo her perfect life, and he had kept his silence—and his distance—for years.
Yet as she watched her daughter Iris marry and have her own family, Anna saw the slow corrosion of a lifetime of secrets seep into a new generation. Iris’s “ideal” marriage was built on silence and lies . . . their rebellious son found his calling in anti–Vietnam War violence, fueled by rage.
Anna’s was the only voice that spoke to them all as she struggled to undo the damage of the past. Then powerful banker Paul Werner returned, opening old wounds, driven to help Anna and the family he barely knew.
Though Iris Stern considers herself a modern woman, with a successful career and a happy marriage, she still holds steadfast to her old-fashioned sensibilities.
However, she often finds those sensibilities challenged by her children and the choices they have made. For Iris’s daughter, Laura, a fresh start in New York City may be the last chance to save her troubled marriage, but as Laura copes with an impending separation and its effect on Iris’s young granddaughter, Iris herself must come to grips with a long-held family secret.
An emotional parting of another kind looms most prominently on Iris’s horizon—as neither her beloved husband nor her marriage is immune to the ravages of time. But like the inmost rings of a tree that abide through the generations, Iris will be as strong as heartwood.