“Better that one heart be broken a thousand times in the retelling…if it means that a thousand other hearts need not be broken at all.”
Robert McAfee Brown in the Preface to Night by Elie Wiesel
What happened to Brigitte Berthold?
That question has haunted Daniel Knight since he was thirteen, when he and ten-year-old Brigitte escaped the Gestapo agents who arrested both their parents. They survived a harrowing journey from Germany to England, only to be separated upon their arrival. Daniel vowed to find Brigitte after the war, a promise he has fought to fulfill for more than seventy years.
Now a wealthy old man, Daniel’s final hope in finding Brigitte rests with Quenby Vaughn, an American journalist working in London. He believes Quenby’s tenacity to find missing people and her personal investment in a related WWII espionage story will help her succeed where previous investigators have failed. Though Quenby is wrestling her own demons―and wary at the idea of teaming up with Daniel’s lawyer, Lucas Hough―the lure of Brigitte’s story is too much to resist. Together, Quenby and Lucas delve deep into the past, following a trail of deception, sacrifice, and healing that could change all of their futures.
I’ll start by saying I really enjoyed a majority of this novel. I was completely intrigued by the history. From the two children, to the people they encountered during the war years. While the story wasn’t based specifically on people who really lived, it was based on people like them. I enjoyed the journalist angle as well, like this quote:
“In her mind, journalism was a science that educated society about both past and present in hopes of bettering it, keeping people accountable for their actions and informing them about the past so they wouldn’t repeat mistakes.”
It was the last quarter-ish of the novel that wasn’t my favorite. While Dobson did an excellent job being honest about the messy (people’s choices, betrayals, etc), it was toward the end that the story lost some of its authenticity. Without revealing any of the plot, there were some pieces I didn’t think fit with the previous tone of the story and some bits felt rushed.
While it didn’t finish as strong as I was hoping, I still enjoyed all the bits of history and if you enjoy interesting WWII history, this might be one for you.
What’s the last WWII novel you read?
(Thank you to Tyndale for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)