Skip to Main Content

Pam Jenoff: Pam Jenoff

Novelist and attorney following a career with the Pentagon and State Dept.


Pam Jenoff


November 2014


Pam Jenoff
Photo © Dominic Episcopo.

Contact Information

Book Trailer

Discover More


Pam Jenoff was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. Upon receiving her master’s in history from Cambridge, she accepted an appointment as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The position provided a unique opportunity to witness and participate in operations at the most senior levels of government, including helping the families of the Pan Am Flight 103 victims secure their memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, observing recovery efforts at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing and attending ceremonies to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of World War II at sites such as Bastogne and Corregidor.

Following her work at the Pentagon, Pam moved to the State Department. In 1996 she was assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, Poland. It was during this period that Pam developed her expertise in Polish-Jewish relations and the Holocaust. Working on matters such as preservation of Auschwitz and the restitution of Jewish property in Poland, Pam developed close relations with the surviving Jewish community. Pam left the Foreign Service in 1998 to attend law school and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. She worked for several years as a labor and employment attorney both at a firm and in-house in Philadelphia and now teaches law school at Rutgers.

Pam is the author of The Kommandant's Girl, which was an international bestseller and nominated for a Quill award, as well as The Diplomat's Wife, The Ambassador’s Daughter, Almost Home, A Hidden Affair and The Things We Cherished. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and three children.


What are you reading?  What's on your nightstand?

Just finished The Hours Count by Jillian Cantor.  Presently reading The Girl from Krakow by Alex Rosenberg.  Next up The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks.

Where do you go to get inspired?

With two jobs and three kids, I don’t always have the luxury of a “going” somewhere for inspiration.  I draw inspiration from my everyday life, family, a good run…

What's something that surprised you recently (in a good way)?

One day I suddenly realized that the manuscript I was working on was done.  For months and months it seemed like it would never be a book and then it was.

Where do you write?

I have written in mountain top reatreats and castles, but also in my car and my doctor’s waiting room. I prefer to write in my office early morning, but I can write anywhere.

What/who makes you laugh? Why?

My kids!  It’s a party all the time.  We never close and we definitely laugh more than we sleep.

Favorite fictional character ever?

I can’t say I have just one, but right now it is Jo in Little Women because she in some ways inspired Addie in The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach.

What are you working on?

I am so very excited to tell you that my next book, THE AERIALIST, will be out in early 2017.  It was inspired by two actual stories and it tells of a young woman who rescues an infant from a Nazi train car full of babies headed east, and finds shelter with a German circus that is rescuing Jews.  Stay tuned!


On The Winter Guest:

"Jenoff (The Ambassador's Daughter, 2013) specializes in stories of forbidden love with dramatic wartime settings. Here, twins Helena and Ruth live in the small Polish village of Biekowice…Helena is a resourceful and brave heroine with a bit of a lucky streak, while Ruth shows her mettle in the novel's heart-pounding ending. Brisk, romantic, and emotionally satisfying."

On The Ambassador's Daughter:

"In Jenoff's eloquent follow-up to The Diplomat's Wife, conflicted Margot accompanies her German diplomat father to Paris for the treaty negotiations following WWI…A tale of surprise betrayals, unquenchable desire, and a necessary awakening, Jenoff's thorough and elaborate descriptions of character and setting makes for a satisfying period romance."
—Publishers Weekly

On The Things We Cherished:

"Charlotte Gold and Brian Warrington, high-powered attorneys who used to be a couple, suddenly find themselves working together on an international war-crimes case…A powerful novel rich in period detail, The Things We Cherished is a fascinating contemporary and historical drama, a unique glimpse into a disappearing world, and a reminder that past and present often come together in unexpected ways."

On The Kommandant's Girl:

"With luminous simplicity, Jenoff's breathtaking debut chronicles the life of a young Jewish bride during the Nazi occupation of Kraków, Poland, in WWII. Emma Bau, a shy librarian, escapes the city's Jewish ghetto with the aid of the underground resistance movement that Jacob, her activist husband, has already joined…This is historical romance at its finest."
—Publishers Weekly

Featured Titles