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The Ragged Edge of Night

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  43,315 ratings  ·  3,052 reviews
For fans of All the Light We Cannot See, Beneath a Scarlet Sky, and The Nightingale comes an emotionally gripping, beautifully written historical novel about extraordinary hope, redemption, and one man’s search for light during the darkest times of World War II.

Germany, 1942. Franciscan friar Anton Starzmann is stripped of his place in the world when his school is seized b
Kindle Edition, 340 pages
Published October 1st 2018 by Lake Union Publishing
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Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) Anton never knew the answer to those questions, so the reader never knows either. :)

The book is written in a perspective called "close third person."…more
Anton never knew the answer to those questions, so the reader never knows either. :)

The book is written in a perspective called "close third person." That means that even though there is a distinct narrator, separate from the main character, the only information conveyed to the reader is information to which the POV character himself would have had access. Seemed appropriate for a setting and a scenario with such uncertainty for the characters involved.(less)
Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) It's taken from a passage in the book. "Somewhere, beyond the ragged edge of night, light bleeds into this world." The book contains a lot of imagery …moreIt's taken from a passage in the book. "Somewhere, beyond the ragged edge of night, light bleeds into this world." The book contains a lot of imagery involving the contrast between darkness and light, especially small or weak sources of light (candles, stars, etc.) burning in overwhelmingly dark environments.(less)

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 ·  43,315 ratings  ·  3,052 reviews

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Ronnie Hamblin
Oct 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
The Ragged Edge of Night : The first 90% of the book was excellent and told of heroic people and families. I would definitely give it a 4. The "Historical Notes and authors remarks" at the end of the book was very interesting and brought out a lot of history of the family and town. Until she says "When the 2016 election changed things I knew I had to write this book. She compared the Republican Party to the Nazis!
I had voted Democrat for 35 years then realized recently that it was going downhil
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm really disappointed by the reviewers on this website. So many people gave this book a 1 star rating, not because of the content of the book, but because the author stated that her inspiration for the novel came from the 2016 election and the following Charlottesville white supremacist march where a young girl died. That was the author's right. And it may be your right to be angry about that, but to say "This book was amazing but I gave it a 1 star review because of her politics" was seriousl ...more
Michael Charles Yett
Oct 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was one of the greatest stories I have ever read and truly deserves five stars for the content of the story. The one star comes from the highly disappointing historical notes left by the author. She claims the event of the election of 2016 in America caused her to be moved to write this book. I can tell you as I read this book I saw similarities not to the victor of 2016 but to the loser. The author claims to be an historian and writes historical books. May I present some history, Hitler an ...more
Beautiful language. Vibrant characters. Evocative sense of time and place. Highly recommend.

Loved this story of a friar, who—though the Nazis stripped him of his office—continued to live out his calling to love and make a difference in humble ways.

This is a literary novel, told in one point of view with present tense verbs. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I felt this made this novel read like a lovely, almost poetic homily about life. Much of the story takes place in Anton’s head and heart, wit
Lisa Rodgers
Oct 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Nice Story, Horrible Politics.

The author manages to ruin a very nice story with a horrible political screed in post-story commentary.

Thus, I cannot recommend this book.
A wonderful, wonderful novel about the struggles of an ex-friar in Nazi Germany, when he has to balance the needs of his family with the demands of his conscience to resist the regime amidst the ever-present fear of being seized by the secret police for his subversive activities. It's based on the life story of the author's grandfather-in-law, believable and historically correct, and told in a lovely prose though I bet not everyone will like the present tense narration (I'm no fan myself, but it ...more
Janet E. Rash
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I loved this book and recommend it to readers who currently want to resist the ominous events presently occurring in our country.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
I enjoyed this story of a mans' bravery against the Nazi's. However, when I read the authors commentary of why she thinks this applies to what is happening currently in the USA, I was extremely disappointed by her biased political tone. If she wants to speak publicly fine, but please leave it out of your book. We live in a democracy with checks and balances. Won't read another book from this author. ...more
Oct 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
She had me up until the end, when she politicized the story. I don't need to be reminded of Trump while I try to lose myself in a good story. I get politics daily in the news/internet/papers - in other words, in real life. I don't need it in books. Disappointed and disillusioned - ergo, one star. ...more
Sep 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
The author's notes killed this book for me

This book would have been a 5 if I had not read the author's notes. Loved the story but disagree with her politics in her notes and am confused by why she was compelled to limit her book with them. To me a historical novel should be relevant for more than a 4 year political cycle. I cannot recommend this book.
Cindy Woods
Sep 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Eh...metaphorically speaking!

This is a book I could not get into. Try as I might, the overuse of metaphors made the story stagnate. The adjectives are overflowing! Too much ruins a story....and this is a good example of 'too much.'

The plot surrounding an ex-friar who responds to an advertisement in a Catholic newspaper in Germany during WWII is far-fetched and over-religious. I felt I was being sermonized to! That feeling never let up as I read on. I felt like I was forcing myself to understand
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
The plot of this book is basically Love Comes Softly meets The Sound of Music. An ex-friar marries a widow, and because I guess it's a romantic story or whatever, they take several years getting around to consummating the marriage, yadda yadda yadda, resist nazis via the majestic power of song.

It's not terrible. Really. Let's be honest. Nazi resistance tales are pretty much de facto awesome. Plus, the author writes prettily and built her world well, and she's got a decent handle on distinctive (
Glenda Pogorelsky
Nov 30, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those few occasions on which I need reminding to take no notice of glowing reviews. Everyone has their taste and mine precludes - with utter loathing - present tense writing, a pretentious modern phenomenon that fails to produce the sense of atmosphere it seeks to create.

A strong and exciting story might have helped, but to get to anything resembling an actual plot required wading through paragraphs of high prose descriptive fluff that served no purpose other than to fill space.
Joy D
Historical fiction about a former friar, a widow, and her family living in a small rural German town during WWII. Protagonist Anton Starzmann had been a teacher in a Franciscan order before it was disbanded by Hitler’s regime. He suffers enormous guilt for not having done more to protect his students from being taken by the Nazis. After a brief stint in the Wehrmacht Anton decides to answer a widow’s advertisement seeking a husband to help her provide for her three children.

This book offers an
"The Ragged Edge of Night" is based on the real life experience of one of the author's family members. Set in Nazi Germany, the plot centers around friar Anton Starzmann, who is stripped of his position during the fascist government’s purge of religious clerics. He seeks solace in a woman who wants help raising her three children, but their ensuing marriage is more partnership than romance. Still, as the world war edges ever closer to home, the heartfelt relationship finds him growing closer to ...more
Oct 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: stopped-reading
I allowed myself to stop reading this book. I love World War II fiction. I thought the premise of this story worth checking out. I just could not get into it. I understand the main character is a former friar but every one of Anton's thoughts go into some religious dissertation that really started to grate on me. In my opinion this book cannot be compared to The Nightingale, All the Light We Cannot See or Beneath a Scarlet Sky all of which I read and enjoyed. It's hard to read a book when you do ...more
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Put this on your special book shelf beside The Diary of Anne Frank and A Gentleman in Moscow. Add Timothy Snyder's On Tyranny. Don't forget the author's notes at the end. And don't look at a single blurb till you've read the book.

How I envy you if you have yet to read a page of this golden gift of literature.
Mobeme53 Branson
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really wavered between giving this book five starts and the four I settled on. The story is more than compelling; that it is based on a true story was not revealed to me until I read the afterword. My only problem was that there were times when she strayed into hyperbole, making observations that were outside or diverged from the story. This is a minor complaint and one the probably will not occur to most readers and the asides are very well written. To find that this was written after the 201 ...more
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Character-driven Excellence

This is one of the best books I've read. Hawker's characters are believable, alive. The real people and their struggles, both physical and spiritual, transcend the setting in WWII Germany.

When I read this story, I resonated with the humanity of all the people trying to survive during war.
RoseMary Achey
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a tough book to rate. I thought the constant references to religion a bit too much. The story dragged on for the first 75% percent of the book...but then picked up the pace in the last 25%. The author notes at the end of the book where surprising to say the least. How did her editor allow this diatribe to be included in the novel? There are millions of books written about Nazi Germany, however this is one that I would not recommend.
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
I chose this book as my First Read on September 1st, and was surprised to see that there were already several five star reviews on Amazon that morning – I can only conclude that these readers had advance copies and were thus in some way connected to the author or publisher. One of them declared that this book should be the Gold Standard for WW2 literature.

Sorry, but it’s not. As a book set in Germany it can compare only weakly with The Tin Drum by Guenter Grass. No American can write a book abou
Kylie H
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a perspective on the plight of Germans who did not support Hitler during WW2 and the hardship and fear that they had to live with. Anton is a former priest whose order has been disbanded and untethered finds himself responding to a newspaper advertisement to marry a widow with three young children. What happens next changes the life of Anton and those around him significantly. He discovers a resistance movement that supports everything he believes in, but will his support of this group c ...more
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book!

This was a great story. It was very well written and very engaging. I literally cried tears of joy at the end. And then to be reminded it is based on a true story made it that much better. Highly recommend this one, would give it more than 5 stars if I could.
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a story of a plain man, a German living in the time of WWII Nazi Germany. He is a good man, a former friar, music teacher and soldier, who contracts to marry a widow whom he has never met, with three young children.
They live in a very small town, off in the middle of nowhere, and the war doesn't touch them much. Until it does.
Anton feels compelled to help the resistance by carrying messages, the family takes in refugees, and Anton starts up a children's band to divert interest from t
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm currently binge-reading a lot of Historical Fiction books, which I love.
This book gave me a different perspective compared to your typical HF books: The Ragged Edge of the Night doesn't give you a story about camp prisoners or people in the frontline of the war, but rather it tells a story about a regular small town trying to survive the war while exchanging their own produce, and how resisters try to protect the children and women from the town's Gauletier.
It's a real-life story about the a
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Put this on your special book shelf beside The Diary of Anne Frank and A Gentleman in Moscow. Add Timothy Snyder's On Tyranny. Don't forget the author's notes at the end. And don't look at a single blurb till you've read the book.

How I envy you if you have yet to read a page of this golden gift of literature.
Sue Holmes
Great storyline and but I found the lyrical writing style disruptive to the flow and there was an unwelcome preachy element that kept poking through.
Roland Clarke
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Review 5 stars

Although the pace was slower than many of my usual reads, the setting of a rural village in World War II Germany made for an underlying threat that drove the story forward. The pace matched the reality portrayed.

The influence of Hitler and his Nazis seeped into the story, although the main protagonist Anton Starzmann was building a new life with Elisabeth Herter, a widow with three children in rural surroundings. His past as a Franciscan friar, whose pupils have been ‘relocated’ by
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lovely novel based on a real family story. A cross between a prayer and a good sermon about helping others. Very thoughtful with recognition of why people would cooperate with the Nazis. Warning - some terrible brutality but still a statement of goodness, faith and determination of doing right in the face of evil.
Plot - I will try not to spoil the book. Nazi Germany: An ex-friar marries a widow with 3 children. There are in a very small German town that is untouched by the Nazi and even have
Allison Westervelt
Mar 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
I'm trying hard to think of good things to say about this book. I don't want to dislike it because it is an inspiring true story, but I do. It certainly wasn't offensive like some of the other reviewers have said, although I did think the author's note at the end about the current political climate in the U.S. was overly dramatic (and I'm no Trumper.) The Ragged Edge of Night just doesn't add anything to the WWII historical fiction genre and it is overly religious in a hackneyed way. Some of the ...more
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