Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 477 KB
Print Length: 480 pages
Publisher: Moody Publishers (January 1, 2003)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
First Sentence: "Helene breathed deeply and pretended to sleep as Friedrich staggered into the darkened bedroom."
This is the tale of three people whose lives are drawn together in the aftermath of war. There is Helene a former SS wife who is abandoned by her husband, Peter the American GI in charge of liberating a concentration camp, and Michaela a Gusen concentration camp survivor. The three form an unlikely friendship which help bring them through the turbulent times of liberated Austria and the end of World War II.
The most interesting thing about this story is it is set shortly after World War II. The narrative starts as the American troops are liberating Austria and the concentration camps, which is followed by the announcement of the cessation of War in Europe. That is how the three main characters meet when the Americans stumble on a small Austrian village called St Greorgen that hides a nasty secret.
It is about rebuilding lives, and moving forward with your life. Each characters journey is different, with their own unique demons and obstacles. The book does take a bit of a strong Christian turn about midway through when one of the characters "discovers" God. While I felt it fit in with the story and era, it seemed to bury the storyline a little.
There is a little romance, and a tiny bit of action but mostly the story is drama. The story seems very well researched and you feel like you are there in the little Austrian village. At the end of the novel the author talks about the research that went into this novel which is very interesting. Goyer actually set up a website that has all the historical facts that her novel is based on (see below in extras).
I did like that the author never really seemed to take sides. She was telling the characters story, not judging what happened. Helene in particular, I thought was an interesting character. She really struggles the most in the aftermath, feeling guilty for not doing more to stop her husband and his colleagues. She is such a conflicted character you cant help but feel sorry for her. I wont say to much more as that would ruin the story.
While the book is interesting it did not really move me. The end was a little predictable which was disappointing. I never felt like cheering or booing, or even crying. To me that was a missed opportunity with this story. But as previously stated it is still interesting. If you like historical fiction and stories set in WWII I would recommend this as a read.
From Dust and Ashes website.