Essentially, we have a story of rebellion against the notorious Nazi Party which, to a degree, had the entire world fooled as to its true nature at the beginning, so much so that at one point, Adolf Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize!! Rhoda manages to capture the suspense and small clues as the story progresses and our heroine, in the form of Frau Schultz (Hedwig) has passion and determination not only to strike at the very heart of a regime that she despises, but also to continue her rebellion by helping innocent people condemned through pure ignorance. I found myself rooting for Hedwig on many occasions as the story unfolded. I have to say, I really enjoyed the brief romantic interludes throughout the plots and twists of this rollercoaster ride into espionage and double agents on both sides of the Atlantic.
I have no doubt that families, brother and sisters in particular, would have been separated as younger boys were forcibly enlisted into the Hitler Youth, to be indoctrinated and brainwashed with the misguided hatred of all who did not conform. It was very easy to understand the conflict of Edmund towards his sister Hedwig when he finally found out about her double life.
There are some that may claim that this isn’t a factually correct novel, but then, it’s fiction – and as a reader, I found the scenes and characters very believable. The lengths the Nazi Party would go to in the pursuit of victory and world domination knew no bounds. This book merely touches the surface of the atrocities they had planned. In my humble opinion, the author creates enough imagery and detail for a reader to imagine the scenes of soldiers bursting through doors, guns raised and I particularly liked the portrayal of Lieutenant Reinhard who, when his fate came, was long overdue. While there are some minor editing errors, it is easy to overlook them in the pursuit of the story which kept me turning the pages effortlessly.
This book surprised me in a good way and I’m so glad that I read it to the conclusion, even then, I was praying that Gustav would have made it despite his marriage. It was good to learn of the fates of the other characters as sometimes authors have a tendency to fizzle out some of their creations which can leave a reader frustrated if there isn’t a sequel planned – in this instance we get to know what happens to them.
In closing then, I can recommend this novel as a really good read, it isn’t as heavy as you might think and although centres a lot around the misguided Nazi Party, it does allow a reader to see that there were some good elements of that party who did their best to help against insurmountable odds at times. It also shows us the courage and risks that a few took for the safety of the many – something we should all remember and pass on to future generations. Well done Rhoda, 5* easily earned.