White Rose, Black Forestby Published 01 Mar 2018
|White Rose, Black Forest.pdf|
|Publisher||Lake Union Publishing|
In the shadows of World War II, trust becomes the greatest risk of all for two strangers.
December 1943. In the years before the rise of Hitler, the Gerber family’s summer cottage was filled with laughter. Now, as deep drifts of snow blanket the Black Forest, German dissenter Franka Gerber is alone and hopeless. Fervor and brutality have swept through her homeland, taking away both her father and her brother and leaving her with no reason to live.
That is, until she discovers an unconscious airman lying in the snow wearing a Luftwaffe uniform, his parachute flapping in the wind. Unwilling to let him die, Franka takes him to her family’s isolated cabin despite her hatred for the regime he represents. But when it turns out that he is not who he seems, Franka begins a race against time to unravel the mystery of the airman’s true identity. Their tenuous bond becomes as inseparable as it is dangerous. Hunted by the Gestapo, can they trust each other enough to join forces on a mission that could change the face of the war and their own lives forever?
"White Rose, Black Forest" Reviews
“White Rose, Black Forest” is billed as a historical fiction, but it has all the makings of a thriller. Author Eoin Dempsey presents Franka Gerber with a dilemma right from the beginning, then continues to turn up the heat as the story progresses. Although Franka understands the danger that could come from her actions, she continues to do what she feels is right.
The story is told through the eyes of several characters, although Franka is the main focus. While we do learn of some of the motivations of the American John Lynch, it is through Franka’s eyes that readers are swept into a country consumed by conflicting emotions. The author allows her to speak the thoughts that must have been hidden by many German citizens in 1944. Even though her life has led her to her current predicament, everything is still not black and white, and Franka wrestles at times with what she should do.
Mr. Dempsey offers descriptive passages at the same time, presenting interesting pictures with his use of words. For instance, we are told a used parachute blowing in the wind is “…licking at the snow like a thirsty animal.” The life-threatening description of the bombing of a German city thrusts readers into the action, and it is hard not to be fearful of what may happen to the people exposed to the possibility of instantaneous death. While I wasn’t always happy with the dialogue (at times, it felt a bit stilted), the characters stayed true to their basic motivations.
As stated above, this historical fiction book turns into a thriller. Her choices place Franka in danger as the Gestapo quickly become a larger threat, which pushes the book to a breakneck pace as it heads toward the conclusion. Four stars.
White Rose, Black Forest was my Kindle First selection for February 2018.
Although World War II is one of my favorite topics to explore in literature, it had been a little while since I'd read a book about it. Maybe I've just not been in the mood for anything overly heavy lately, as books about WW-II Europe generally knock the wind right out of me and leave me feeling a mixture of macabre fascination and dumbfounded despair at the cruelties endured during that time.
While White Rose, Black Forest certainly painted a vivid picture of life under the rule of Hitler's National Socialist Party, it offered a perspective that was more empowering than depressing. This is the first book I think I've read about any type of resistance organization founded by Germans against the Nazi party (of course I've read a lot about the French resistance in Nazi-occupied France). I couldn't help but see that the novel contained a lot of frightening paralells between 1930s-1940s Germany and the political climate today, but I'm not going to delve into any of that in this review.
This was a great war story about fighting for what's right, being brave in the face of fear, and getting second chances to live and love.
Another great kindle first book that I found difficult to put down. My only complaint is that I could have done with the conclusion of the book being a little longer as I just wanted to read about these characters a little longer, and it just felt a bit rushed at the end. Not enough to ruin the book, but I think a little more detail at the end would have made it even better.
This was free for Prime members on Kindle, so why not? Maybe I'll read it one day.
Shadows of My Father
This is what my father did during WWII. And yes, this is what it was like, you went in with no one but yourself to depend upon and knowing that America denied knowing you if you got caught. These were the true heroes, but they knew no medals waited in the wings for them no matter how brave and strong they were. After all, they didn't exist!!