(Starred review.) In this stunning debut about the battle between good and evil, Gillham puts a fresh spin on the horrors of WWII by focusing on civilian German women to reveal that, amid the many adherents of the party line there were a handful of unsung heroes.... The line between what is “right” and “wrong” becomes harder to define as Sigrid, confronted with increasingly more horrifying realities, finds her resolve constantly tested. Gillham’s transcendent prose..., powerfully drawn characters, and the multilayered dilemmas make his first literary effort a powerful revelation.
During World War II, a large portion of Germany’s male population were off serving their Führer and Fatherland, leaving behind legions of women to continue alone on the home front.... The complex relationships that develop among women, men, family, and lovers are at the core of what drives this debut novel, which captures both heart and mind from the start and does not let go until the riveting end. Verdict: This is an exemplary model of historical fiction generously laced with romance, suspense, and exciting plot twists. Readers who enjoy the grim side of historical fiction or who prefer romance infused with eroticism will find this novel appealing. —Amy M. Davis, Parmley Billings Lib., MT
(Starred review.) In his debut about 1943 Berlin, Gillham uses elements common to the many previous movies and books about World War II—from vicious Nazis to black marketeers to Jewish children hiding in attics to beautiful blond German women hiding their sexuality inside drab coats—yet manages to make the story fresh.... [With its] hold-your-breath suspense ending, World War II Germany may be familiar ground, but Gillham's novel—vividly cinematic yet subtle and full of moral ambiguity, not to mention riveting characters—is as impossible to put down as it is to forget.
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