Date Published: March 15, 2017
Publisher: Oppenlander Enterprises LLC
***An IWIC Hall of Fame Novel***
***Winner 2017 National Indie Excellence Award***
“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’taleMagazine
“This family saga is wonderfully written and, aside from the emotional ramifications, very easy to read. I stayed up too late a couple of nights reading it…I highly recommend this book!” Long and Short Reviews
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 loses 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.
I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.
Based on the true story of two children growing up in Nazi Germany, Surviving the Fatherland is historical fiction at its best. To see the effects of this war from a German child’s view is a perspective I haven’t read before.
It’s difficult to read parts of this book knowing that these things actually happened. The innocent Germans who just tried to survive are usually forgotten when talking about World War II. What German families had to endure under Hitler’s regime and afterward is unthinkable and it’s hard to think about the fact that it wasn’t that long ago.
Annette Oppenlander does such a good job at describing what Lilly and Günter go through that I felt like I was sitting there listening to their stories first-hand.
Surviving the Fatherland is a story of courage, love, and hope during a time of war and rebuilding. Knowing that it’s based on the lives of the author’s parents makes it even more compelling.
About the Author
Annette Oppenlander is an award-winning writer, literary coach and educator. As a bestselling historical novelist, Oppenlander is known for her authentic characters and stories based on true events, coming alive in well-researched settings. Having lived in Germany the first half of her life and the second half in various parts in the U.S., Oppenlander inspires readers by illuminating story questions as relevant today as they were in the past. Oppenlander’s bestselling true WWII story, Surviving the Fatherland, was elected to IWIC’s Hall of Fame and won the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award. Her historical time-travel trilogy, Escape from the Past, takes readers to the German Middle Ages and the Wild West. Uniquely, Oppenlander weaves actual historical figures and events into her plots, giving readers a flavor of true history while enjoying a good story. Oppenlander shares her knowledge through writing workshops at colleges, libraries and schools. She also offers vivid presentations and author visits. The mother of fraternal twins and a son, she lives with her husband and old mutt, Mocha, in Bloomington, Ind.
Two autographed copies of ‘Surviving the Fatherland’
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