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Surviving the Fatherland: A True Coming-of-age Love Story Set in WWII Germany

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4.41  ·  Rating details ·  1,850 ratings  ·  140 reviews
***Winner 2017 National Indie Excellence Award***

***Winner Indie B.R.A.G. Award***

***Winner Chill with a Book Readers' Award***

***Winner Readers' Favorite Book Award***

***Finalist 2017 Kindle Book Awards***

***An IWIC Hall of Fame novel***

Spanning thirteen years from 1940 to 1953 and set against the epic panorama of WWII, SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND is a sweeping saga of famil
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ebook, 355 pages
Published March 15th 2017 by Oppenlander Enterprises LLC
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Deborah Duffy Having just read this (and really enjoyed it!) and being a parent of a 9yr old and 12yr old, I don't see a problem at all with a child of 13 upwards…moreHaving just read this (and really enjoyed it!) and being a parent of a 9yr old and 12yr old, I don't see a problem at all with a child of 13 upwards reading this if their parent/guardian deems them mature enough. There is no undue violence and minimal sexual content. My 12 year old has seen (not read) The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas which would be no more/no less harrowing that this book. It does probably appeal a bit more to girls particularly once the two main characters meet.(less)
Annette Thank you for contacting me! One of the protagonists, Günter, loses his entire class when they're drafted during the Volkssturm. The deaths are not…moreThank you for contacting me! One of the protagonists, Günter, loses his entire class when they're drafted during the Volkssturm. The deaths are not described because the young men 'simply' don't return from the war. The deaths depicted in some detail happen to strangers, i.e. during the bombing of Solingen in November 1944. However, in another book of mine, 'A Different Truth,' the main character loses his best friend. It's a historical mystery in the Young Adult category. All the best with your research and analysis! Annette(less)
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4.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,850 ratings  ·  140 reviews


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Bill Ward
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fascinating true story about a German family trying to survive the war and years after. Lilly is a young child struggling with an unloving mother and the loss of her father, who has left to fight. There is no time for a normal childhood. The family are scraping an existence unable to put food on the table. The mother is entertaining other men and a pervert focuses his attention on Lilly. Eventually the war ends but life doesn't improve. Lilly is working hard and also doing all the chores at ho ...more
Jara Beaubien
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review
This is the most intense book that I have read, do I believe it, I most certainly do, both my parents are survivors of the war that was supposed to end all wars, my Mother spent 2 years in a concentration camp, and why because a maniac took over Germany and then just about destroyed, not caring what he did or how much his people suffered.
A true story of how children survived the atrocities imposed by Hitler and his henchman. Lilly and Gunter are the image of how young children dealt with the war
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Kaycee
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite genres to read is historical fiction. I don’t know why, but within this category I seem to gravitate toward World War II fiction in particular. The stories of heartbreak, resilience, and coming of age, despite so many obstacles always manages to pull on my heart strings. Netgalley was kind enough to send me a copy of Surviving the Fatherland: A True Coming-Of-Age Story Set in WWII Germany, for my honest review. And let me tell you, this one will definitely wear out your heart. ...more
Pegboard
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Annette Oppenlander opened doors in her heritage most people would have kept closed when she penned Surviving the Fatherland: A True Coming-of-age Love Story Set in WWII Germany. She records her parent’s young lives as they watch fathers, brothers, and friends go off to fulfill their duty fighting for Hitler’s Regime. While Gunter Schmidt’s father and brother are sent to fight, he faces battles of his own as the man of the house. Providing for a mother and younger brother, while there wasn’t foo ...more
Jane
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Surviving the Fatherland: A True Coming of Age Love Story Set in WWII Germany by Annette Oppenlander is so much more than a love story. This book should become a classic story of the German people during and after World War II because of the knowledge it imparts to each reader. Hitler and his minions tried to destroy the Jews but at the same time Hitler tried to destroy all Germans. Whether Hitler was demon possessed and/or a madman only God can answer but the entire World was affected by his ev ...more
Susan Peterson
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A coming of age story set against the backdrop of Germany during WWII, Surviving the Fatherland is a unique view of the atrocities of that time. Lillly and Günter are young when their fathers head off to fight for the fatherland, Germany, and the burdens of their families fall on their very young shoulders. The fact that this book is based on the author’s own parents adds an extra layer of compassion and empathy; their resilience, their cunning, their fears, even their hunger are evident in ever ...more
Jeanette
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very moving story and one that gripped me from start to finish. Historical novels has been one of my all time favourite genres, especially when it comes to WW11. I have been to two German concentration camps and heard so many heartbreaking stories from the Guides, not only of those within the Camps, but the ordinary people trying to cope with daily life during that time. A well written book and one that i would read again some day.

I do recommend this book and do thank Netgalley and the Publish
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Sharlene
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Definitely 5 stars. I can see why this book is so loved. Very engrossing, deeply moving and character you will not forget. Everyone that loves a well researched historical will want this one.
January Gray
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A MUST READ for those interested in this time period of our History. I read this in one sitting. I couldn't put it down.
Helen Hollick
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review:
Helen Hollick
founder #DDRevs

'an engrossing and well-researched story with two of the most engaging protagonists I’ve read for a while.'
Louise
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This and other reviews can be found here.

I received an E-book of this book in exchange for a fair review. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to do so.

Surviving the Fatherland: A True Coming-of-age Love Story Set in WWII Germany by Annette Oppenlander is a true story written about Oppenlander’s parents, Günter and Lilly. Both of her parents grew up during World War II and this showcases their struggle through both Hitler’s Regime and Post-war Germany.
Oppenla
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Ally Swanson
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
---4.5 Stars---

Wow! This book tells an impressive story of two children who are brave, courageous, and have the strength to fight against all odds to survive.

This book tells the true story of two children, Lilly and Günter in the 1940s in Germany during the Hitler era.

From right off the first page, I was emotionally invested in this book – it’s hard not to be.

This story is based on the author’s family and you feel the authenticity and pain just leap off the page.

My heart just broke reading what
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Dianeparente62gmail.com
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a gripping tale of young people growing up in Nazi Gemany, enduring things no child should have to experience. It is based on the experiences of the author's German parents from 1940-1953, the trauma of the post-war years being a relatively unknown story.

The story is told by Lilli, only seven years old when the war begins, and by the slightly older boy Gunther who lead separate lives until the war draws to a close.Their stories reveal the traumatic impact of a fatherless home where hung
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EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads
This is the most intense book that I have read, do I believe it, I most certainly do, both my parents are survivors of the war that was supposed to end all wars, my Mother spent 2 years in a concentration camp, and why because a maniac took over Germany and then just about destroyed, not caring what he did or how much his people suffered.
A true story of how children survived the atrocities imposed by Hitler and his henchman. Lilly and Gunter are the image of how young children dealt with the war
...more
Jessica Bronder
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Whenever I think of a WWII story, the first thing that comes to mind is how the Jews suffered in the concentration camps. It’s easy to think of the Germans as being Jew hating monsters. But in reality many of the Germans were just trying to survive the war the best they could. This is a story of two children and how they survived the war.

Lilly and Gunter are kids that are missing their father who has gone off to fight in the war. But things are not any easier for them even if they are German. T
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Deborah Duffy
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
The only reason I didn't give this book 5* is that I keep that for my absolute favourite books of all time that I will read and read again.
I really loved this book, It tells the true life story of Lily and Gunter over 13 year growing up in WW2 Germany. War is harrowing for all but even more so for children growing up, watching parents and older siblings going off to war, many never to be seen again or to return very different people both physically and mentally to those that left. The mere stru
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Dawn
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 w
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Sarah MacIntyre
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love historical fiction particularly around WW2 but this book is extra special as it is based on the true story of the parents of the author. This story is incredible - a totally different side of the war that I had little knowledge of - the German civilians. The saga follows the couple as children growing up during and after the war. It does not hide any of the horror of the madness of Hitler and the atrocities during this time but gives the side of the innocent civilians caught in this madne ...more
Brett
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The romance part of the book was okay, but the set up of the story was amazingly well researched and well written. You really feel like you're there in Germany, during and after the war. You're struggling alongside Günter and Lilly, and you admire their strength and courage through it all.

I didn't like that the book focused more on Lilly, especially towards the end, because the book was equally about both characters. This could have been a female-bias, or the author felt uncomfortable fleshing
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Gina-marie Fanning
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s nice to read about what it was like from a German point of view, who were as utterly enraged at the atrocities done by their leader. I’ve read so much books from those that were persecuted by Hitler, but this story looks at how the war affected the Germans, themselves. A good lot of them also starved, as their men and boys were taken, to fight and die as nazis, whether they believed in what they were fighting for, or not. This left German women and children vulnerable, and easily exploited. ...more
Connie Huddleston
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Surviving the Fatherland is a marvelous book for teaching another side of the story of World War II. The book tells the stories of two children, living in Solingen, Germany, and unknown to each other during the war years. The book is divided into chapters based on the subject, Gunter or Lilly and the year. The first 29 chapters take the reader through the war and are fine for upper middle grade students. However, parents should be aware that explicit sex scenes in the remainder of the book may n ...more
Ellen Beato
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hard to put down.

This book has so many layers describing the lives of those who lived during after the war. I was especially interested in this because we were stationed in West Berlin 1984 to 1987. Germany was still divided. We were friends with many people who had survived the war. They never spoke of the hell and hardship they went through and it was fascinating to read about what these wonderful people really went through. I myself am part German and though my family was not in Germany durin
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Réal Laplaine
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It is difficult not to give this book, Surviving the Fatherland, by Annette Oppenlander, a five-star rating. Surviving the Fatherland is an historical fiction based on true events, the lives of those who survived World War II, during the war and then in post-war Germany. As one reads this story of survival, told from the perspective of one young girl, her trials and tribulations of eking out an existence in a nation depleted of food and resources, most of them being siphoned off by Hitler’s insa ...more
C. Gonzales
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, fiction
This novel was quite brutal in its honesty. It was a rough time and Annette Oppenlander has not shied away from showing the grizzly details of what people went through. I think it was needed to be an authentic representation of the Historical period the author was trying to write about.

That being said, there is a light hope that manages to shine through. Being pushed to limits and as far down as possible, can really help show growth and strength for overcoming. I think that is exactly what happ
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Patricia Mary
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing

I don't usually read books about war atrocities any more, as they get me too upset. However, Surviving the Fatherland piqued my interest. What was life like for the average citizens of the Third Reich who were not "eligible" for the death camps, and Occupied Germany? I kinda knew it wasn't great, and wanted to know more about it. This is a historical novel based on the lives of the author's parents in wartime and postwar Germany. It goes into the characters' daily lives and their relationship wi
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Stacy Spoonster
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Surviving the Fatherland

What an amazing story of endurance in the face of overwhelming odds. When talking about war and history in general we often overlook the human toll. To me that is what makes history so fascinating. This book reminded me of family get together at my grandmother's house. My Dad and his siblings would sit in the kitchen and tell stories of their childhood. Right from page one this book gave me that same special feeling I would get when I sat and listened to them. The writing
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Cathy Scott
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was interesting to read a perspective of WWII from the point of view of Germans who didn’t necessarily support Hitler or his ideology. This true story shows how the citizens of a country can be swept up in the politics of their government and themselves become victims of tyranny. The grassroots resistance was powerless. The people starving, freezing, could only struggle to survive. My only disappointment with the story telling was the use of more contemporary phrases of slang that I think pro ...more
Penny
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book this, about the German side of the war and how it affected ordinary people. They suffered quite badly under Hitler who thought nothing of the civilian population but just about beating the enemy.
We hear about Lilli and her cold uncaring mother and how her mother's boyfriends affected Lilli, after her father left, and we also hear about Gunter a young man just coming to manhood and the one the family look to to keep them going. Times were tough for both families but they survive to be
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Samantha Turley
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, fiction
Oh Boy, I’m a sucker for Historical novels. There is something so fun about being transported back in time and feeling like your living in a different era if an author can execute it well, its an even better escape than reading Contemporary.
Dive into a historical world with Annette Oppenlander. She has created a novel that really takes the reader back in time. This novel shows how much a writer can understand her genre and make sure every in and out is authentic to the time period.
There are real
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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 questio ...more
“The endless tasks of surviving had become infinitely worse.” 0 likes
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