Publishing Date: July 29
Genre: historical fiction
April, 1944. The quiet rural village of Stark, New Hampshire is irrevocably changed by the arrival of 150 German prisoners of war. And one family, unexpectedly divided, must choose between love and country.
Camp Stark is under the command of Major John Brennan, whose beautiful daughter, Collie, will serve as translator. Educated at Smith and devoted to her widowed father, Collie is immediately drawn to Private August Wahrlich, a peaceful poet jaded by war. As international conflict looms on the home front, their passion blinds them to the inevitable dangers ahead.
Very little is known about the POW camp set up in Stark, New Hampshire, in 1944. But it was there, and one can only imagine what sort of fascinations and wonders it induced. Under Major John Brennan, the German prisoners of war are sent out to work for the logging community, treated humanely despite everyone’s mistrust. Major Brennan’s daughter, Collie, serves as his translator and assistant, which brings her close to another translator and POW, Austrian Private August Wahrlich. The attraction is instantaneous, and noticed by all at the camp, but both know that nothing could come from it, nothing could be built on unsteady ground of war. But as the months pass, as Collie watches her friends change and August’s hope for a return to his family diminishes, the lovers consider a future together despite all costs.
This slow and quiet novel was quite beautiful. The reader follows all sorts of characters, not just Collie and August. We’re privy to Collie’s best friend Estelle’s mind and heart, the difficult decisions she makes regarding her future. We follow the rich brothers Amos and Henry, how vastly different they are from one another, with different dreams and ambitions. We track Major Brennan and his dedication to running a smooth, cooperative camp. Everyone’s story interweaves with another, ultimately colliding in the end’s momentous flight.
Collie and August’s love is pure. He’s poetic, artistic, and very much a dreamer. He shows us that not all German soldiers are Nazis — there’s a different between fighting with the Germans (enlisted and drafted from Austria and other countries overtaken by Germany) and being a member of the political party. He is kind and open-hearted, a gentleman and a boy, with no ulterior motives. It’s sweet. Collie is an educated young woman, who fights hard to suppress her growing affection. She struggles to maintain that her feelings are simply a little crush, but when she gives in, her fall is great.
Nothing about this book felt rushed. In fact, everything about it was smooth, enchanting, romantic, and quite authentic. For anyone in need of a deep, powerful historical romance that really does consider the weight of war, this is most certainly the book to read.
Thank you, Penguin, for providing this book for review!