A Light in the Window - Marion Kummerow
Margarete stumbles out of the bombed-out house, the dust settling around her like snow. Mistaking her for the dead officer’s daughter, a guard rushes over to gently ask her if she is all right and whether there’s anything he can do to help her. She glances down at where the hated yellow star had once been, and with barely a pause, she replies “Yes”.
Berlin, 1941: Margarete Rosenbaum is working as a housemaid for a senior Nazi officer when his house is bombed, leaving her the only survivor. But when she’s mistaken for his daughter in the aftermath of the blast, Margarete knows she can make a bid for freedom…
Issued with temporary papers—and with the freedom of not being seen as Jewish—a few hours are all she needs to escape to relative safety. That is, until her former employer’s son, SS officer Wilhelm Huber, tracks her down.
But strangely he doesn’t reveal her true identity right away. Instead he insists she comes and lives with him in Paris, and seems determined to keep her hidden. His only condition: she must continue to pretend to be his sister. Because whoever would suspect a Nazi girl of secretly being a Jew?
His plan seems impossible, and Margarete is terrified they might be found out, not to mention worried about what Wil-
Can Margarete trust a Nazi officer with the only things she has left though… her safety, her life, even her heart?
A totally heartbreaking and unputdownable story about how far someone would go to save one life, that fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See will adore.
About the author:
Marion Kummerow was born and raised in Germany, before she set out to "discover the world" and lived in various countries. In 1999 she returned to Germany and settled down in Munich where she's now living with her family.
Inspired by the true story about her grandparents, who belonged to the German resistance and fought against the Nazi regime, she started writing historical fiction, set during World War II. Her books are filled with raw emotions, fierce loyalty and resilience. She loves to put her characters through the mangle, making them reach deep within to find the strength to face moral dilemma, take difficult decisions or fight for what is right. And she never forgets to include humor and undying love in her books, because ultimately love is what makes the world go round.
Here are my thoughts about this book:
Unlike many WWII books, this book had only one timeline. There was no jumping between timelines and characters which was refreshing since some books with multiple timelines can get quite confusing. This book also started right off with some "action" and left the character building in snippets all over the book. This book may not have more than one timeline, it does have multiple POVs and that made it super interesting for me. I love being put into the characters shoes and seeing things from their perspective. This story was particularly interesting since we get to read about the feelings from the perspective of a Jewish woman and the perspectives of those Germans who are either hardcore Nazi supporters or supporters but wondering if the ideology neglects some facts. I loved reading about Wilhelm being torn. His brother, on the other hand, OMG, his brother!!! I wanted to strangle him many times, not only because of his blind support of a horrible dictator and that horrible dictator's ideology but also for his view on the role of women and how he treats his own wife. I may have been born and raised in modern-day Germany but I still feel so much shame. I can't believe that my own fellow countrymen did
The Rainbow - Carly Schabowski
There, on the dusty floorboards, was a piece of paper, folded neatly. A newspaper article from 1941, written in German, alongside a faded picture of two men in Nazi uniforms staring at the camera. I was about to place it back in the box of forgotten things when something in the text jumped out at me. My breath caught in my chest. I know that name.
London, present day. Isla has grown up hearing her beloved grandad’s stories about his life as a child in pre-war Poland and as a young soldier bravely fighting the Germans to protect his people. So she is shocked and heartbroken to find, while collecting photos for his 95th birthday celebration, a picture of her dear grandfather wearing a Nazi uniform. Is everything she thought she knew about him a lie?
Unable to question him due to his advanced dementia, Isla wraps herself in her rainbow-coloured scarf, a memento of his from the war, and begins to hunt for the truth behind the photograph. What she uncovers is more shocking than she could have ever anticipated – a tale of childhood sweethearts torn apart by family duty, and how one young man risked his life, his love and the respect of his own people, to secretly fight for justice from inside the heart of the enemy itself
Here are my thoughts about this book:
First, let me start by giving you a trigger warning! This book deals with Alzheimers. If that is something that triggers strong emotions in you, you may want to use caution when picking up this book. With that being said, this book tore me up emotionally! What made it even worse was knowing that this book is based on true events! Many times, I had to stop and digest what I had just read. That is how emotional I got. I cannot even begin to imagine what Ilsa's grandfather had to go through, how tormented he must have been all these years knowing what he had done, or rather, what he was forced to do to help fight for justice from deep within enemy ranks. While I can't be 100% certain if I could have done what he did, I'm pretty sure I couldn't have done any of those things, not even to fight the enemy secretly. It's one thing to openly fight someone who's done horrible things to others but it is a totally different story when you have to be actively involved in those atrocities to fight that enemy. It takes a special type of person to be involved in horrible
About the author:
Carly Schabowski worked as a journalist in both North Cyprus and Australia before returning to Oxford, where she studied for an MA and then a PhD in creative writing at Oxford Brookes University. Carly now teaches at Oxford Brookes University as an associate lecturer in Creative Writing for first and second-year English literature students.
I like that Carly Schabowski chose two timelines: 2014 and then the WWII years. You get to read about the mental state of the grandfather both in modern times and in WWII.