World War II Liberator series #1 or 2
by Tricia Goyer
My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Christian historical fiction
Almost-engaged American Nick and Austrian Evie are separated when Evie’s family has to go back to Austria. Then Nick receives his draft notice and only hopes that he’ll find himself somewhere near Evie when he is sent overseas. Meanwhile, Jakub’s family is torn apart when German mistreatment of Jews in Czechoslovakia ramps up. Taken to a ghetto, then to a work camp, Jakub watches those he loves die or get shipped off somewhere worse. Goyer weaves a tale of survival and compassion as seemingly unrelated storylines join together for the final scenes.
This book was an interesting take on historical fiction set during the Holocaust. Only a little of the focus is on a Jewish family, though what Jakub, his brother, and his mother go through is bad enough. Evie provides a different point of view, and (along with Nick) there’s even a 4th perspective, that being of an SS soldier who’s certain there’s some kind of supernatural power involved in the Nazi party, and he wants some of it for himself. (This is not the first time I’ve read a book with a character like that in it.) The 4 stories mostly advance separately, with Nick’s and Evie’s being the most connected for obvious reasons. Overall, the individual stories were interesting in their own ways, though the SS soldier’s was the one where I most wished to know why I should care about what was going on with him.
It was fairly obvious throughout the book, and because of the series name, how the storylines would all come together. Most of it felt pretty natural, though Nick being there seemed the most randomly coincidental. The official synopsis focuses a lot on the prisoners’ orchestra at Mauthausen that played while fellow prisoners walked to and from their work for the day. It’s a little strange, because this doesn’t come into the story until pretty far into it. There’s a whole lot more to it than that, but the overall theme of music being important even during really tough times does come through. Depending on where you look, this book is first or second in a series focusing on camp liberations during WWII, most likely each a stand alone. As far as this book goes, I think many people who appreciate historical fiction centered around this time period, especially with a Christian angle, would enjoy this book.
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