Genre: Historical fiction
# of Pages: 405
This title has been on my list to read for awhile and it was worth the wait. Hannah and her mother have never been close, but when her mother dies of Cancer she finds herself lashing out at those around her as if she’s struggling more than she expected. After going through her mother’s things she realizes that not only was her mother German, not Austrian like she’d always been told, but she still had a living grandfather in Germany. She decides to go see him and try to learn why her mother was the way she was. Meanwhile, the story keeps flashing back to Hannah’s mother, Lieselotte as a girl growing up with the ever growing Nazi presence. Lieselotte’s father and brother become completely engaged in the Nazi party, but she finds herself horrified by the injustices she’s seeing around her. She works with a family who was very kind to her mother as she lay dying of Cancer, to aid those being chased from their homes. Hannah slowly uncovers what happened to her mother and why she never told her about her past or her grandfather.
This is a fresh take on WWII fiction in that it really depicts what it was like growing up in Germany during this time no matter where your loyalties laid. At the same time it depicts the lingering affects of WWII and the Nazi mentality. Since Hannah was born and raised in the U.S. she has a hard time understanding why there are still so many hard feelings until it is explained to her just how bad things got for Jews during this time. The story unfolds nicely and it’s easy to see why Lieselotte ended up feeling bitter and betrayed. Highly recommended.