An intensely suspenseful book from an Irish-born American author, set in Germany during World War II. I will definitely be looking to read Eoin (pronounced Owen) Dempsey’s other novels. Awarded four stars on Goodreads.
In 1943, not everyone living in Germany supports the Nazi regime. Franka Gerber, who came of age in the 1930s as a ardent member of the Hitler Youth movement, has now suffered life-altering losses and feels she has little to live for. At her parents’ remote summer house, a chance encounter with an injured Luftwaffe airman forces Franka, a trained nurse, into the role of caretaker. But almost immediately she begins to suspect the airman is not who he seems.
That’s the premise for a 260-page novel that I virtually inhaled over 36 hours (only because I had to sleep). The plot contains a satisfying number of surprising twists and turns, which I certainly will not give away. But the question that becomes central is: How can two strangers create mutual trust in the middle of a savage war? Especially when one is vulnerable and dependent upon the other.
Along the way, readers witness the impact deprivation, shortages, and suspicions have on everyday life. And some of the close connections Franka made as a naive teenager return. And, of course, what novel of World War II would be complete without the life-threatening presence of the Gestapo?
As a writer, Dempsey still has some things to learn. I had some issues with his use of voice. When a character is relating his or her own deeply personal back story, it should not read as an detached third person account. And when he uses dialog to supply information, it doesn’t always come across as believable. But these were minor concerns in the midst of a completely absorbing read. If you love historical fiction, don’t miss this one!
More information about the author, Eoin Dempsey.