I've read a fair amount of historical fiction set during WWII, but not much has dealt with ordinary German people, nor does the Russian Army tend to be a big part of it.
From the publisher:
Gisela must hold on to hope and love despite all odds in the midst of a war-torn country.What did I think? Well, first off, I finished reading this book over a week ago. I usually write my reviews within about 24 hours of my reading. This one, though, I just couldn't start writing. Sure, I put in the cover, and linked up where you can buy the book. Inserted the code for the contest below, added a disclaimer. This is the part I couldn't get started on.
Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin.
However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitch's identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her "marriage."
Their journey to Gisela's mother in Berlin is riddled with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ella's daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances.
In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever.
Not because I didn't like the book. I loved the story, loved the writing, and loved the characters. It felt realistic and historically accurate, though I'm not an expert in that (or any!) time period so I don't know. I knew my review was going to say that I highly recommended the book.
I needed some time to process it all though, before I could write.
There were just so many hard decisions being made throughout the story. Very early on, you have Ella making the decision to stay while the Red Army comes in, so she can care for her ailing father, and sending her little girls west with her cousin. The book focuses on Gisela's decision to accept Ella's decision, but as a mom, my eyes were on Ella and her resolve.
I also have to admit that I did not yet like Gisela as a character at that point. Your cousin tells you that the only chance her children have is if you take them west. You cry, sure. But you save her babies. As they travel -- which is agonizing and difficult -- there are so many other decisions to be made, and you watch Gisela mature before your eyes.
Without giving too much away, it does need to be noted that characters die, and there are several fairly traumatic events that definitely fit in with what I have read about the advance of the Russian Army through Eastern Germany. This is not an upbeat, uplifting book in that sense. It is a reminder of some of the horrors of war, and the resilience of ordinary people.
I do recommend this book.
Liz Tolsma's latest WWII historical fiction novel, Daisies are Forever, is getting rave reviews.
". . . compelling and fast-paced tale about the atrocities and tremendous losses. . . ." —Library Journal
"Excellent storytelling, accurate historical reporting and gritty, persevering characters make this WWII-era novel a must-read." —CBA Retailers + Resources
One winner will receive:
- A Kindle Fire HDX
- Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma
Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Liz's website on June 2nd to see if you won.
Disclaimer: I received this book through LitFuse Blog Tour. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.