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The Artist and the Soldier

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Two young men come of age and fall in love, set against the backdrop of true events during World War II.

It’s 1938. Bastian Fisher and Max Amsel meet at an American-Nazi camp, Siegfried. Neither have any idea what to do with their blooming, confusing feelings for one another. Before they can begin to understand, the pair is yanked apart and forced in opposite di
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Warren Publishing
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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Being a history nut, this story is right in my wheelhouse and I am intrigued by the two relatively unknown events Petta brings to light. As youth, Bastian and Max meet at Camp Siegfried where, yes, like-minded German-Americans sent their boys to summer camp to be indoctrinated with Hitler's plans for Germany in a pseudo-military setting. The two boys form an unlikely friendship and begin exploring their feelings for one another only to separate on the cusp of WWII - Bastian enlisting in the army ...more
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtq
Book Reaction:
Rating: 2 Stars - it’s a struggle to finish the damn book

I received a copy of The Artist and the Soldier from Warren Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Dianne McMahan
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I.have read many true and fictional books about the 2nd.World War and the Holocaust but none that I enjoyed more than this one.
The book was outstanding in the sense,that it was about a taboo subject,more so,since taking place in the thirties and forties.
Two teenage boys,both living in New York go to a Summer camp,meet and fall in love.They meet once again before going,their separate ways.They meet again in Rome,where one is doing undercover work for his Country and the other is savin
Michaela Carter
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Navigating the complex terrain of the friendship, love and sexual awakening of two young men in the shadow of Nazi occupation, Petta summons tenderness, vulnerability and insight. An Artist and a Soldier reminds us what it means to be human in the face of fascism. A timely book!
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received an early copy and had the pleasure of being one of the first readers of the novel. This is a fascinating coming-of-age story about two young men during WWII. Creative and thoughtful, the story's historical background is well researched. It is a quick and delightful read filled with poetic intrigue.
Olga Miret
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I was approached about the possibility of reviewing this book, I was fascinated by the historical background behind it, which I was not familiar with. A book combining World War II, Nazi summer camps in the US, the filming of a movie by Vittorio De Sicca in Rome during the war, and a love story, had to be a winner.
The author manages to combine a coming-of-age (both male protagonists, Max and Bastian, are very young at the beginning of the book) and love story with a fascinating histor
mary ann cook
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the book from the very beginning. I even looked up the German youth camp in the US and saw that it is still in existence today. The friendship that blooms between the two protagonists was intriguing.
The book moves at a good pace. A real page-turner with twists and turns not expected.
Truly enjoyable read!
Lauren Nalls
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Artist and the Soldier by Angelle Petta, is an original story that incorporates two main historical events that up until now, may have not been well known by many. One is the story of Italian director Vittorio De Sica, and the filming of his movie, La Puerta del Cielo, (The Gates of Heaven). De Sica aided in saving the lives of hundreds of Italian Jews living in Rome during its Nazi occupation in World War II, by hiring them on as extras for his film. What an amazing true-life premise for a ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this one. It should have been right up my alley.
The main problem I had with the story was it was hard to connect because everything just grazed the surface. Anytime I wanted to make that powerful emotional reader connection to the story, it would fall flat.

The story takes place in New York, Long island during the late 1930's. Two boys attend an American Hitler youth camp. I like reading historical fiction because I learn about (or relearn forgotten high school/colle
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful piece of historical fiction, bringing out some fascinating (true) details about events surrounding World War II that I was unaware of previously. For one, I had no idea there had been close to 70 chapters of the Bund camps spread throughout the United States promoting the Nazi party and Germany in the 1930's. The resistance effort Rome was also fascinating reading.

There is another wonderful timeless story told here as well The story of two young boys, unlikely all
Chris Marro
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I received this book as an advanced copy through NetGalley. This was a fantastic read for students studying World War 2. The reference to dates, people and historical events were mostly accurate and were decisively linked to the stories of the protagonist, strengthening students ability to understand the causes and consequences of each event. This allows the book to fit easily into a history or even sociology curriculum. The LGBTQ theme also promotes inclusivity and representation, especially in ...more
Tracy~Bayou Book Junkie
4 Stars

In 1939, Bastian and Max meet at Camp Siegfried, in New York, a camp where German-American teens are sent to learn how to become soldiers. The 17 year-olds become unlikely friends and by the end of the seven weeks, they have developed deeper feelings for one another, but tragedy strikes, tearing them apart and sending them in different directions: Max travels to Italy to live with his family and attend school, while Bastian joins the military and goes off to war. Circumstances
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found myself surprised by this book. It starts with Max and Bastian meeting at a Nazi youth summer camp. These two are physical and social opposites. Max is upper-middle class, skinny, and takes after his mother’s Italian heritage where Bastian is poor, athletic, blond haired and blue eyed. However, it becomes obvious early that their lives and motivations are quite similar in terms of their upbringing and family dynamics. They somehow become fast friends, protective of the other and fall in l ...more
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received this via netgalley. Although I do read historical novels on occasion this is a not something I have encountered before knowing so little of the theatre of war from an American point of view. It was interesting to learn that such a place as Camp Siegfried could exist amidst the horror of what was happening in Europe.
Ostensibly the novel is an enfolding love story which develops between two young men who are unsure of what has happened to them at a time of immense upheaval and pre
Cathy Ryan
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing

This beautifully crafted novel introduces the two primary characters, Bastien and Max, at a summer camp where these seventeen-year-old sons of German-American fathers are being prepared for war. Each of these two characters is fully and sympathetically developed throughout the novel as he matures and evaluates his life and choices. Each is confronted with challenges that illuminate character and forward the plot, engaging the reader from beginning to end.
Pacing is artfully maintained with
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book. The summary seemed amazing and fairly unique, and I was looking forward to reading it. My main issue in the beginning chapters was the abrupt POV switches. From one line to the next you are never quite sure who's POV you are reading. It gets better in the latter half when the characters are apart and full chapters are devoted to a single POV, but in the beginning it's rather confusing. The ending was also a bit lackluster for me. I would have liked at least some concr ...more
N.W. Moors
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Max Amsel and Bastian Fisher meet in the Catskills at an American-German Nazi camp in 1938. Max admires Bastian who is bigger, and stronger and the two boys become friends. There are also some stronger feelings involved, but the two young men are torn apart by family circumstances. In 1943, they meet again in Rome.
This is an interesting story of two young men from different backgrounds growing up around the events of World War II. I had no idea there were summer camps in America to instill
N.W. Moors
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Max Amsel and Bastian Fisher meet in the Catskills at an American-German Nazi camp in 1938. Max admires Bastian who is bigger, and stronger and the two boys become friends. There are also some stronger feelings involved, but the two young men are torn apart by family circumstances. In 1943, they meet again in Rome.
This is an interesting story of two young men from different backgrounds growing up around the events of World War II. I had no idea there were summer camps in America to instill
Brianne C.
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was pleasantly surprised by this poignant tale of two boys forced by their fathers to go to a Nazi run summer camp. They meet and become inseparable during camp. Shortly after their lives diverge and WWII begins. The story follows them through the war. Being a history buff, I was happy to see that the author did extensive research about the times. She includes several real events and people in the novel, even though it is a work of fiction. It really brings the story and history to life.

In hi
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
An intriguing, moving historical novel featuring a storyline I hadn't read before in WWII fiction -- two young men who met at a Nazi camp in the US and fell in love. They come of age during the war, and struggle to find each other and a sense of what should come after.

My only complaint about this book is that I wish it were longer -- Petta has talent but moments felt rushed and crowded. I wanted more space for the characters and story to breathe, expand -- especially near the end, which felt ru
Samantha Turley
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
Angelle Petta has done an amazing job of developing multi dimensional characters that the reader will feel invested in from the start. I love being able to picture everything about the characters I am reading about and what they are doing.
While you have the main characters, Bastian & Max, Angelle also explores deeper into other characters lives as well giving another layer to the story. We have wonderful secondary characters.
I loved how smooth and quick of a read it was. It deals
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Absolutely LOVED this book! I loved the historical backdrop accompanying the beautiful romance between these two characters. I was desperate to keep reading and find out what happened between these two characters. The only thing I had issue with was the continuing shifts in POV, but I think that’s more of just my issue because I have a hard time telling the shifts without it being clearly labeled haha
But if you’re looking for a beautiful LGBTQ romance set in a tense historical setting this is a
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gina Stamper
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
Superb writing from Angelle Petta and an emotional and fast flowing story. There were a lot of moving a parts to this one and I really liked the originality that Petta brought.
This novel was very vivid in the descriptions, the writing really jumped off the pages and into my head.
I felt like I got a solid understanding of the characters in the story. They are in a different time in a unique situation and it really makes you think about how different it would have been for them back th
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this World War II Era novel. I love reading historical fiction that teaches me something - I wasn't familiar with Nazi Youth camps in America or that filmmaker DeSica made a movie in Italy and gave safe-harbor to people in danger from the Nazis. The author did a nice job of telling the main characters' love story amidst the backdrop of war-torn Italy. Overall a good read and a different take on the WWII genre of books.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, giveaway
I received an early copy of this novel from Net Galley. WWII novels are always a favorite of mine, especially when I can learn about some aspects of the war that I never knew of. I was not aware of the Nazi camps in the U.S. or of the Italian director De Sica using his movie set as a way to save and protect Jews in Rome. The story of love and friendship that grew over time between Max and Bastian was such a beautiful way to weave these two stories together. It was very interesting to see the war ...more
Tiffany Homsher
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is very good... Although it's a fiction there are alot of true facts and events in the book. I was kinda let down though because in the end you don't really find out what happens with Max Bastian and Ilsa... I'm a sucker for this kind of book and honestly I feel like the author should write another book about what happens with them. All in all I think it's a great read and I would recommend it to anyone! 😁
Victoria Hyder
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this story, it was a keen insight into the life for young boys in the time of WW2. I liked the story arc of the boys' relationship, how they each grew and flourished on their own in a time where they didn't know if they would wake up the next morning. Full of emotional upheaval and the gritty reality of wartime in Italy, this story is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.
R.K. Emery
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This book really made me think and feel more than any other I have read recently. I loved the historical aspects and how authentic the setting and characters felt. I loved the way that the author was able to give these characters major obstacles, keep them endeering, and not let the reader lose sight of what this is all about. A very touching read.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I swore that I was finished with WWII books for a bit, but someone handed me this one and said that I had to read it. So glad I did (in 2 days). The book taught me a bit about the war (as it is based on true rarely talked about events). It also contained an excellent love story. I loved the book.
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Angelle Petta is an author, a Registered Drama Therapist and a PhD student. She lives, writes, and works in Northern VA.