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This story is about Hilde and her life growing up in Germany (after WWI) and becoming a wife and mother during WWII. As a girl in East Prussia, she has a dream to become a singer one day. However, her father sends her to work as a housemaid in Berlin at the age of 14 and from there on, she doesn’t have time for dreams. Eventually, she meets a young man, Karl, who will become her husband and who will also spend much of their married life serving in the military away from his growing family. Karl ends up serving under Rommel in Germany and then Africa.
I found this to be a very interesting book. It was based on the life of the author’s mother (if I understood the description correctly) so much of the book is factual. Seeing Germany gearing up for another war through the eyes of a house cleaner and mother showed how surreal the politics and resulting war to many of the average people of Germany at the time. Hilde grew up with Jewish friends and maintained those friendships until they were abruptly ended (usually by the sudden disappearance of her Jewish friends) or because the association was becoming too dangerous for Hilde and her young children. An anti-Semitic attitude was not part of Hilde’s personality, and many of her family and friends also lacked this unappealing trait.
Then there are the every day things. As Germany starts building up their armies, young men must go off for training and certain resources start to become hard to come by, just a few at first. Once the war is in full swing, it is a much different scene, but through Hilde’s eyes we get to see how things changed gradually, bit by bit. Germany’s streets weren’t covered in city militia enforcing curfew overnight. Food supplies didn’t become scarce in a month’s time.
One of Hilde’s children develops a chronic medical condition about half way through the book. It is one of those conditions that needs continuous treatment throughout the war and I thought it interesting to see how that was dealt with. Also, Hilde and Karl see each other infrequently, so their children are spaced out throughout the war. Can you picture yourself expecting a child in war-torn Germany during the time of the night aerial raids? Over all, this was an intriguing read providing a glimpse into an average woman’s life during one of humanity’s most destructive episodes.
Narration: Nancy Peterson did an excellent job, being the perfect voice for Hilde. She performed the entire book in a German accent and this added so much to the ambiance of the book. She had a good range of voices for all the supporting characters as well. Bennett Allen had a very short piece, playing the role of Karl, at the end of the book. It was a very nice touch, adding to the poignancy of the ending.
What I Liked: The reality of the book; the book shows how things changed gradually; Hilde’s perseverance despite losing friends and family, having several small children, and her husband gone much of the time; the ending was touching.
What I Disliked: The cover is rather severe.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of The Night I Danced with Rommel to be better than the print version?
It really came to life listening to it. Enjoyed the narration very much.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Night I Danced with Rommel?
Just the fear. There were moments that I could see the fear and feel it. So emotional.
What does Nancy Peterson and Bennett Allen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
She brings the sotry to life. Very believable.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I had several different emotions. More tears than laughs, for certain.
Any additional comments?
The Night I Danced with Rommel by Elisabeth Marrion is emotionally gripping. It all came to life as I listened to the narrative on the audible version. I was moved and touched, horrified and inspired. This is a very well written historical period piece that was surprisingly unique. The author had a way of telling this story in her own way. Special.
Hilde, the young German woman attracted my attention right away. Not just because she was a survivor of World War II but because I could feel her struggles as she told us her story with such a life force. It feels real. All too real. Terrifying.
I was lost into this emotional story and was able to listen to this audible book in one sitting. I just carried my lap top with me. Hilde’s life filled my thoughts. I could have been there are the visuals are all so real and clear.
So many sacrifices! Makes you really feel blessed not to have had to live through something so horrific. We need these kinds of books to be reminded that this really happened. Hitler existed and people were killed viciously and in inhumane manners.
I felt so many different emotions while hearing this story play out. Even though it is a dismal story there is also a great message of hope and inspiration.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful