Irmgard Hunt was born in 1934 in Berchtesgaden near the location of the eventual alpine retreat of Adolf Hitler....moreI actually give the book 3 1/2 stars.
Irmgard Hunt was born in 1934 in Berchtesgaden near the location of the eventual alpine retreat of Adolf Hitler. This book tells the story of her growing up in Nazi Germany. Her parents, having endured the difficulties of the 1920's economy looked to Hitler with hope for the future as did many other Germans. They bought into the promises, the propaganda and the patriotism that helped propel Hitler into his position of power. Irmgard did have relatives and friends that didn't buy into Hitler's ideology though, which at times left her conflicted about what to believe. She was shielded from the most horrible atrocities of the war, the "Final Solution", until she learned of it during the Nuremburg Trials.
Ms. Hunt painstakingly collected stories from family and friends to put together this book, as well as recalling her own memories. Never attempting to minimize the atrocities that were being committed in concentration camps and elsewhere, Hunt shares her personal memories of losing her father (a Nazi soldier), living with an emotionally detached mother, having to endure endless air raids, starvation and a general sense of fear and confusion for the bulk of her childhood. (less)
I was so fortunate to be selected to receive this book through Goodreads First Reads program. I received the Advanced Reader's Edition of the book. Th...moreI was so fortunate to be selected to receive this book through Goodreads First Reads program. I received the Advanced Reader's Edition of the book. The publication date of A Young Wife will be June 14.
Minke is just fifteen years old when she is hired to care for Elisabeth van Aisma, a wealthy woman who is dying. The arrangement is made between her parents, who live in a small town in the Netherlands, and Elisabeth's husband Sander. Once naive Minke meets Sander her life will never be the same.
After Elisabeth's death, Sander proposes marriage to Minke. Despite their age difference and the questionable circumstances of Elisabeth's death, Minke agrees. Very shortly thereafter, the two set sail for Comodoro Rivadavia. Although she loves Sander, Minke learns eventually that her husband has many secrets. These secrets ultimately tear her life apart, causing her to lose her first-born son Zef in a mysterious kidnapping and uproot their lives.
I find this review a bit difficult to write because I don't want to reveal any spoilers and the plot contains a lot of twists and turns which will keep you guessing at which characters can be trusted and where the story will take you. I couldn't stop turning the pages, wanting to find out what happens next.
Minke is an endearing character who you will want to root for. When we are first introduced to her she is quite naive, but she has great spirit and a quiet strength which develops even more as she moves from one adventure to the next. As we read of Minke's adventures, from Amsterdam to Comodoro Rivadavia to New York City, we are there with her - breathing in the crisp sea air on the Frisia as it crosses the ocean, feeling the ground shake beneath our feet as the gauchos gallop across the pampas, fearing the watchers at Ellis Island will turn you away and your long journey will have been for naught. I found A Young Wife to be a very enjoyable read, one that I could barely put down. This is a book that I definitely will be recommending. (less)
I'm surprised that I had never read any of Lois Lowry's books prior to this. I decided it was time to change that after seeing the reviews that she re...moreI'm surprised that I had never read any of Lois Lowry's books prior to this. I decided it was time to change that after seeing the reviews that she received. The reviews are well deserved. Although this book is is intended for younger readers, I learned from it. I was not aware of the lengths that the Danes went to to protect the Jews, helping nearly the entire Jewish population (nearly 7,000 people) to flee from the Nazis. Number the Stars tells the story of a family that was part of the Resistance. Putting their own lives at risk, they help in smuggling Jewish residents out of Denmark on fishing boats to the safety of an unoccupied Sweden. This would be a wonderful book to introduce the heavy topics of WWII to children. Although there is certainly sadness in the book, it has a lot of hope and focuses primarily on the bravery and humanity that people demonstrated. I would not hesitate to let my 10-year-old daughter read this book. In fact, I will be encouraging her to do so.
"...and I want you all to remember - that you must not dream yourselves back to the times before the war, but the dream for you all, young and old, must be to create an ideal of human decency, and not a narrow-minded and prejudiced one." (less)