1938, Salzburg. A powerful story of hope, forbidden love, and incredible courage, about three sisters who will risk everything—even their own lives—as part of the resistance movement in Nazi-occupied Austria.
Johanna, Birgit and Lotte Eder have always lived quiet lives, working in their father’s clockmaking shop and helping their mother in the house. But like many other Austrians, they find it impossible to ignore the changes in the world around them.
At first Johanna finds it hard to believe the Nazis pose a real threat. But then her father hires Franz to help in his shop. He’s kind and soulful, with dark eyes that twinkle with intelligence. But he’s Jewish, and as Johanna falls for him, she realizes that loving him puts them all in danger.
Then comes the Anschluss—the reunification of Austria and Germany under Nazi rule. The three sisters’ lives have become ever more separate with Lotte joining the convent at Nonnberg Abbey and Birgit’s secret involvement with the Resistance. But as Johanna realizes how mistaken she was about the level of danger, she begins to see that it may be down to her to protect the man she loves.
She knows that she can’t do it alone though. She will have to turn to the people she trusts the most: her sisters.
The sisters’ subsequent journey from Nazi-occupied Salzburg to the devastating concentration camps of Ravensbruck and Mauthausen will show the strength of human spirit like never before. As, out of the darkness, a tiny seed of hope flowers…
A totally heartbreaking and impossibly powerful story about love, tragedy, and the power of humanity. Perfect for fans of The Nightingale, The Lilac Girls and The Sound of Music.
This one is set in Austria before and during WWII. The story follows the three sisters from when their world in Austria was still a happy world without too many worries and concerns all the way to WWII Germany with all the hardships, heartbreak, and tears. For me, the most heartbreaking story was the one of Lotte who joins the convent at Nonnberg Abbey and then makes a choice which will change her life forever and tests her faith in the most horrid way imaginable.
This book also contains a treat: you encounter Betsie ten Boom, a real person, i.e., not a fictional character. If you are familiar with WWII stories about heroic acts, you will most certainly have come across the name Corrie ten Boom. Corrie and her family, including her sister Betsie, helped Jews to escape from the Nazis in the occupied Netherlands. While the encounter between the sisters Lotte and Birgit and Betsie ten Boom is a figment of the author's imagination, this kind of encounter could definitely have occurred in real life since the Betsie in the book is very much like the real Betsie who lived during the Holocaust.
The role of Werner, Birgit's boyfriend, is a very interesting one as well. I love how this particular character evolved over time. I think he represents many Nazi followers of the time who fell for the Nazi propaganda and were thrown into a war that changed their lives forever.
I can't wait for Kate Hewitt's next book!
About the author:
Kate Hewitt is the author of many romance and women’s fiction novels. A former New Yorker and now an American ex-pat, she lives in a small town on the Welsh border with her husband, five children, and their overly affectionate Golden Retriever. Whatever the genre, she enjoys telling stories that tackle real issues and touch people’s lives.