I’m just going to go ahead and tuck this amazing gem of a book on my bookshelf and occasionally take it down to simply give it a hug.
Internet, y’all know what I’m talking about – a book that manages to weave itself in your heart and continues to impact you days, weeks, after you’ve read it. Cathy Gohlke’s latest fits the bill perfectly.
All her life, Hannah Sterling longed for a close relationship with her estranged mother. Following Lieselotte’s death, Hannah determines to unlock the secrets of her mother’s mysterious past and is shocked to discover a grandfather living in Germany.
Thirty years earlier, Lieselotte’s father is quickly ascending the ranks of the Nazi party, and a proper marriage for his daughter could help advance his career. Lieselotte is in love―but her beloved Lukas is far from an ideal match, as he secretly works against the Reich. Yet Lieselotte never imagined how far her father would go to ensure her cooperation.
Both Hannah’s and Lieselotte’s stories unfold as Hannah travels to Germany to meet her grandfather, who is hiding wartimes secrets of his own. Longing for connection, yet shaken by all she uncovers, Hannah must decide if she can atone for her family’s tragic past and how their legacy will shape her future.
I was completely captivated from the very first page of this book. This book was such a reminder that everyone has a story (some inspiring and some not) and what we think and first encounter might not reveal the full picture.
But that’s just one reason why I loved this book.
I loved that the modern day story took place in the 70s. It was really interesting to see post war Germany during the seventies. This was the first book I’ve read that did that. It was sad to think many people still held tight to their anti-Semitic beliefs decades after the war, but I’m not surprised either, just like when I read the stories of Reconstruction and Jim Crow. We’re still fighting many of these wars today.
Both story lines were fabulous to read. Through Lieselotte’s life, we see incredible bravery, what it looked like living in Nazi Germany, those who fought against the Nazi’s underground and the horrors of concentration camps. Through Hannah, we not only see what I mentioned above, but also a beautiful story of hope, redemption and healing – even if it wasn’t the way I expected.
“If I am caught, I would rather die for something than live for nothing.”
As with Saving Amelie, I appreciated the appearance of real life historical person (Corrie ten Boom). Gohlke always leaves me thinking not only about the past, but today’s injustices. But, even with the hard topic, this book leaves you with hope.
As hard as it was to read (as WWII novels are) it’s one of my favorite reads this year. Oh and the cover fits this book so perfectly.
What are some of your favorite reads this year?
(Thank you to Tyndale for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)