Code Name Edelweiss
by Stephanie Landsem
My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Christian historical fiction
Stephanie Landsem fictionalizes the true story of Jewish lawyer Leon Lewis who helped to foil Nazi plots in America in the 1930s. Liesl Weiss isn’t looking to be a spy—she really just needs money to take care of a family that depends on her. Though she doesn’t believe claims that the Friends of New Germany could be as bad as Lewis claims, she has no other options. She soon discovers that the anti-Semitism is real, and she must examine her own actions and motives as well.
Though my interest in this time period and overall subject is usually in the events in Europe, that may be because most books written about this time period are set in Europe. The premise of this book intrigued me, though, so I jumped at the chance to read it. Early on, I was uncertain how I would feel about the main characters—Liesl (code name Edelweiss) and her male counterpart, Agent Thirteen—due to the way they were both presented. Once I was certain of Agent Thirteen’s real identity, it became a little weird to read of Edelweiss and Thirteen completely distrusting each other for so long. For some reason I can’t explain, the big moment when they made the connection didn’t hit home like I wanted it to. And though the book is not billed as romance, and I don’t need romance in my books by any means, it does have some romance happening and in enough doses that the way it played out left me a little unsatisfied.
However, each of these characters individually were well developed and the story was interesting overall and at times thrilling. I was never concerned about the safety of the main characters, but some side characters’ plights did give me a few moments of uncertainty. From the little bit of research I did out of curiosity after finishing the book, the history seems well researched and well represented. My favorite story arcs were about Liesl’s husband and brother (separately). There was a sub-plot for Agent Thirteen that I don’t really understand the purpose of, but overall, I would have just liked to see a little more of an ending for him. I don’t think this is is a book I’m going to hurry to re-read, but I am very glad I read it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction of this time period. It is Christian, but not super heavy on it, so keep that in mind as you consider.
Thank you to Netgalley and Tyndale House Publishers for providing me a copy of this book to review.
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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!