Sis Greggory's beloved brother, Danny, is serving in North Africa. The war news is bad; the Axis powers seem invincible. Where is Danny? They can only wonder. Sis lives and breathes civilian war drives, trying to keep him safe.
Then Hiram's Spring, Nebraska, is shocked to learn it will host unthinkable guests. German Prisoners of War will be shipped into their valley, to work in their fields.
Before it is over, the lives of Sis, Danny, and Horst, a German prisoner of war, are forever changed.
"Not to be Forgiven" is at once a nostalgic rendering of a child's patriotism and a hard-hitting portrayal of the deep, ugly emotions war engenders. It will make you laugh, and it will shock you to your core.
"'Not to be Forgiven' explores the explosive emotions that ripped through the home front as World War II raged on and on. With the sure-handed strokes of a master writer, Peterson tells of friendship marred by hatred and fear, and of the way in which love and understanding can finally redeem the past. A magical and mesmerizing story."
Margaret Cole, author of Buffalo Bill's Dead Now, a Wind River Mystery
"'Not to be Forgiven' is a haunting novel about how the war twists the life of a young girl living thousands of miles from World War II battlefields. Both historian and storyteller, Nancy M. Peterson, whose nonfiction books on the West are classics, writes how a wartime friendship flares into hatred, leaving scars that cause a lifetime of regret. Set against a background of wartime rural America, Not to be Forgiven is not to be forgotten."
Sandra Dalls, author of True Sisters and The Quilt Walk
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
World War II may seem like ancient history to those born more recently, but readers of all ages quickly see the constancy of human emotions in any conflict through this novel. Feelings, filtered by the eyes of a young girl, Sis, as her brother joins the armed forces and fights in Africa and England, need targets; and Sis’s are strongly directed toward the enemies of the US. She’s willing to endure hardships and throws herself with enthusiasm into home front activities as well as play that helps her deal with the war. But when the reality of the impacts on other humans impinges, whether a friendly German prisoner of war or an American-born Japanese family, an endangered brother or her father’s newspaper, she learns how far-reaching war really is. The book reads like an honest memoir, although it’s fiction, and clearly is based on the author’s reminiscences and experiences, supplemented by research. It’s been decades since Americans have been personally affected by armed conflicts, and despite people’s enthusiastic messages of support, donations to nonprofits, and public touting of the “sacrifices” of soldiers, we have no discomfort, no personal losses or deficiencies comparable to those experienced by Americans during WW II. Peterson enables us to be part of these with a personalized writing style that reaches the child in each of us. She shows us that the victims of war are not just soldiers but the men, women, and children trying, hoping, oftentimes desperately, that they and their families will survive.