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***An IWIC 'Hall of Fame Novel'***
"This book needs to join the ranks of the classic survivor stories of WWII such as Diary of Anne Frank and Man's Search for Meaning. It is truly that amazing!" InD'tale Magazine
Spanning thirteen years from 1940 to 1953 and set against the epic panorama of WWII, author Annette Oppenlander's Surviving the Fatherland is a sweeping saga of family, love, and betrayal that illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the children's war.
Surviving the Fatherland tells the true and heart-wrenching stories of Lilly and Günter struggling with the terror-filled reality of life in the Third Reich, each embarking on their own dangerous path toward survival, freedom, and ultimately each other. Based on the author's own family and anchored in historical facts, this story celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the strength of war children.
When her father goes off to war, seven-year-old Lilly is left with an unkind mother who favors her brother and chooses to ignore the lecherous pedophile next door. A few blocks away, twelve-year-old Günter also looses his father to the draft and quickly takes charge of supplementing his family's ever-dwindling rations by any means necessary.
As the war escalates and bombs begin to rain, Lilly and Günter's lives spiral out of control. Every day is a fight for survival. On a quest for firewood, Lilly encounters a dying soldier and steals her father's last suit to help the man escape. Barely sixteen, Günter ignores his draft call and embarks as a fugitive on a harrowing 47-day ordeal--always just one step away from execution.
When at last the war ends, Günter grapples with his brother's severe PTSD and the fact that none of his classmates survived. Welcoming denazification, Lilly takes a desperate step to rid herself once and for all of her disgusting neighbor's grip. When Lilly and Günter meet in 1949, their love affair is like any other. Or so it seems. But old wounds and secrets have a way of rising to the surface once more.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By alice webber on 06-12-18
Not worth my time
I am a huge WW2 historical fiction and non fiction reader and thought this book, which I assume is based on real people, would give an interesting look at Germany during and after the war. It was very tedious, without a story arc just sort of lurching along year after year. The characters don't come alive and toward the end of the book the love story turns it into a sort of breathless teenage romance. Some of the facts of post war life in Germany were interesting but certainly not worth slogging through 13 hours - which felt like 20. The narrator is terrible - overly dramatic and sonorous. I can't recommend this book if you are a fan of good WW2 stories.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Ursula on 06-16-18
An unusual story told by children of their war time survival. Beautifully enacted. A rich history of real families, how they held up under extreme circumstances of which they had no control.
One of the best books I have come across revealing the suffering of innocent German children during the war. Well done to the author telling the story of her own family.