Rating 5/5 Coladas
While there are numerous historical fiction books revolving around WWII, The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer was a very unique perspective, and one I personally haven’t read a lot about (and I LOVE reading any book about WWII). This story links together two very different families both before and after the war and is brilliantly told from each woman’s POV. The plot draws the reader in from the very beginning and allows us to feel the raw emotions and gain insight to some of the lesser-known stories of “survivors” while acknowledging the fact that so many people were affected in drastically differently ways during the rise of the Nazi party, during Hitler’s reign, and even after the war. What happens when moral sacrifices along with painful decisions and hurtful actions must be made to protect those closest to us?
It’s the 1930s and Sofie and Jurgen live in Berlin with their children and seem to be surrounded by the German excitement for rise of the Nazi political party. Jurgen is a brilliant scientist recruited to make rockets for Hitler while also opposing everything the Nazi party stands for. And meanwhile in America, there is Lizzie, along with her brother, Henry, and their parents trying to save the family farm during the Dust Bowl. These two women are worlds apart (for now), but each is dealing with sacrifices and hardships of their own and will eventually learn that they are more alike than they would like to admit.
Fast forward 20 years and Sophie and Lizzie’s stories/timelines now merge to after the war. Sophie and Jurgen have moved to America, but each woman brings with them all of the resentment, tragedy, fear, and hurt they both have endured throughout the previous years. Sophie is struggling to make a new life with her family in a country where so many people can’t reconcile themselves to being friendly with a race of people who may have been responsible for the atrocities they have heard about. Lizzie on the other hand, faces her own struggles as she seems to have lost herself somewhere along the way and learns she is impacted by the overseas war more than she would like to admit. Both women must come to terms with not only the choices they made in their pasts, but also future choices while disregarding whether their decisions are/were seen as “good or bad”.
Interwoven with themes of faith in others, love, forgiveness, family bonds, choices, good and evil, and right and wrong, Rimmer has done it again with a story that will pull at a reader’s heartstrings and make you want to read long into the night. While it may seem confusing with three distinct settings, two different POV’, and two time settings, Rimmer is a master at seamlessly fitting it all together. Relatable characters, a fresh new take on historical fiction, and just enough suspense/drama make this book have it all. The German Wife has quickly become one of my favorites and I hope it gives you just a little more insight and a brand-new way to think about books in the WWII genre.
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