Headstrong Johanna Berglund, a linguistics student at the University of Minnesota, has very definite plans for her future . . . plans that do not include returning to her hometown and the secrets and heartaches she left behind there. But the US Army wants her to work as a translator at a nearby camp for German POWs.
Johanna arrives to find the once-sleepy town exploding with hostility. Most patriotic citizens want nothing to do with German soldiers laboring in their fields, and they’re not afraid to criticize those who work at the camp as well. When Johanna describes the trouble to her friend Peter Ito, a language instructor at a school for military intelligence officers, he encourages her to give the town that rejected her a second chance.
As Johanna interacts with the men of the camp and censors their letters home, she begins to see the prisoners in a more sympathetic light. But advocating for better treatment makes her enemies in the community, especially when charismatic German spokesman Stefan Werner begins to show interest in Johanna and her work. The longer Johanna wages her home-front battle, the more the lines between compassion and treason become blurred–and it’s no longer clear whom she can trust.
My Rating: 4 Stars
This was the first book I’d ever read that was written in the epistolary style. It was very different, but also very enlightening because the reader is allowed to get inside the characters’ heads.
I confess I knew next to nothing about the German POW camps in the United States during World War II. I knew they were there and that’s about it. My own uncle was a POW for thirteen months in Stalag 17 during the same war and was treated very horribly. Our own family never received any word from or about him until after his liberation. So it was good to know that the German prisoners in the United States were treated kindly and allowed to communicate with their families. This book has spurred me to research this situation for myself. I love to learn and Amy Lynn Green’s writing has made me very much interested in learning more.
Well written and flowing nicely, this is a debut novel that you’ll want to add to your TBR pile. Recommended.
*My thanks to Bethany House Publishing for a copy of this book via Net Galley. The opinion is my own and I received no compensation.
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: November 3, 2020