Saving Amelie

Saving Amelie

by Cathy Gohlke


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Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke

2015 Carol award finalist!
Increasingly wary of her father’s genetic research, Rachel Kramer has determined that this trip with him to Germany—in the summer of 1939—will be her last. But a cryptic letter from her estranged friend, begging Rachel for help, changes everything. Married to SS officer Gerhardt Schlick, Kristine sees the dark tides turning and fears her husband views their daughter, Amelie, deaf since birth, as a blight on his Aryan bloodline.

Once courted by Schlick, Rachel knows he’s as dangerous as the swastikas that hang like ebony spiders from every government building in Berlin. She fears her father’s files may hold answers about Hitler’s plans for others, like Amelie, whom the regime deems “unworthy of life.” She risks searching his classified documents only to uncover shocking secrets about her own history and a family she’s never known.

Now hunted by the SS, Rachel turns to Jason Young—a driven, disarming American journalist and unlikely ally—who connects her to the resistance and to controversial theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Forced into hiding, Rachel’s every ideal is challenged as she and Jason walk a knife’s edge, risking their lives—and asking others to do the same—for those they barely know but come to love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781414383224
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 06/01/2014
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 179,912
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

Saving Amelie

By Cathy Gohlke, Sarah Mason

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 Cathy Gohlke
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-8322-4


Rachel Kramer dropped her linen napkin across the morning newspaper's inflammatory headline: "Cold Spring Harbor Scientist in League with Hitler." She glanced up, willing herself to smile innocently as her father strode into the formal breakfast room.

"You needn't bother to hide it." His eyes, bloodshot and mildly accusing, met hers as he took his chair at the head of the polished mahogany table. "I've already received a phone call from the Institute."

Rachel glanced at their butler's stoic face as he poured her father's coffee, then carefully framed her statement. "It isn't true, of course." "In league with the Führer? You believe the ravings of that maniac hack Young?" he scoffed. "Come now, Rachel—" he jerked his napkin from its ring—"you know me better than that."

"Of course, Father. But I need to understand—"

"Which is why this trip is essential. You'll see for yourself that those foreign correspondents exaggerate—to sell American papers, no doubt, but at the expense of international relations and good men doing crucial work."

She might be little more than an inexperienced college graduate, but she wouldn't be shot down. "He also claims that Hitler accuses the Poles of disturbing the peace of Europe—that he's blaming them for impending war, creating a ruse to justify an invasion. If that's true—if he'd truly attack Poland—then you really can't trust him, Father. And if this reporter is right about that, then people will believe—"

"People will believe what they wish to believe—what is expedient and profitable for them to believe." He pushed from the table, toast points in hand. "You mustn't pay attention to the rags. It's all propaganda. I'm sure Herr Hitler knows what he's doing. The car will be here any moment. Are you packed?"

"Father, no sane person is going to Germany now. Americans have evacuated."

"I assure you that I am completely sane." He stopped and, uncharacteristically, stroked her cheek. "And you are destined for greatness." He tugged his starched cuffs into place. "Remember, Rachel, it is 'Herr Hitler.' The Germans do not take kindly to disrespect."

"Yes, Father, but you and I—we must have an understanding—"

But he'd already crossed the room, motioning for his coat. "Jeffries, watch for the driver. We mustn't miss our plane. Where are your bags, Rachel?"

She folded her napkin deliberately, willing her temper into submission—for this trip only ... until I make you understand that this is my last trip to Frankfurt—to Germany—and that our relationship must drastically change ... just as soon as we return to New York. "My bags are waiting by the door."

* * *

Two days later, Rachel tugged summer-white gloves over her wrists, as if that might erect a strategic barrier between her person and the German city once familiar to her. It had been five years since she'd ridden down the wide, pristine avenues of Frankfurt. The medieval spires and colorful geometric brickwork looked just the same. But every towering, spreading linden tree that had graced the main thoroughfare—each a landmark in its own right—had been ripped from its roots, replaced by steel poles slung with twenty-foot scarlet banners sporting black swastikas on white circles. Ebony spiders soaked in shame.

"There is no need to fret. It won't be long now. The examination will soon be over. You missed the last one, so you mustn't object if this one takes a bit longer." Her father, his hair thinning by the minute, smiled absently, moistened and flattened his lips. "Our train leaves at seven," he muttered, staring out the window. "We will not be detained."

She forced her fingers to lie still in her lap. His affected reassurance gave little comfort. Why she'd agreed to the hated biennial physical examination by doctors she detested or to coming to Germany at all, she couldn't fathom.

Well, yes ... she could. Rachel sighed audibly and glanced at the too-thin, self-absorbed man beside her. It was because he'd insisted, because they'd argued as never before, because he'd begged, then badgered, and finally ordered. Because, being adopted, she'd known no other father, and because her mother had loved him—at least the way he used to be, the way he was when she was alive. And, significantly, because Rachel's new employer had agreed to delay her date of hire until September 20.

She leaned back into the comfort of the cool leather seat, forcing herself to breathe. She supposed she could afford him this parting gift of time, this assertion of her belief in him, though she'd come to question—if not doubt—his life's work.

That work had taken a twisted turn from his quest to eradicate tuberculosis, her mother's killer. The publicity against his beloved eugenics research was growing, getting ugly, thanks to the outcries of investigative-journalist crusader types at home and abroad. She would be glad to distance herself when the ordeal was done.

Perhaps this peace offering would soften her announcement that she'd been hired by the Campbell Playhouse—as a gofer and underling to start. But if she proved herself indispensable, they might include her in their November move to Los Angeles—one step closer to radio theatre performance. All of which would send her father into a tizzy. He disdained radio theatre more than he'd detested her modern theatre productions in college, blaming the influence of her professors and "theatrical peers" for her independent thinking. She'd tell him the moment they returned to New York. As far as Rachel was concerned, that could not be soon enough.

But there were the medical examination in Frankfurt and the gala in Berlin to endure first—the gala to honor her father and German scientists for their breakthrough work in eugenics. The gala, which would include Gerhardt and her childhood friend Kristine. She brushed the air as if a fly had landed on her cheek. What had Kristine meant in her letter about "Gerhardt, and things impossible to write," that she was "terrified" for her daughter, Amelie? It was the first letter Rachel had received from her former friend in five years.

She placed one ankle deliberately over the other. Perhaps Kristine's grown tired of playing the sweet German Hausfrau. It would serve her right for betraying me. Rachel bit her lip. That sounded harsh, even to her.

The black Mercedes skirted the banks of the free-flowing Main and glided at last into the paved drive of the sprawling Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene. The driver—black-booted, square-jawed, the picture of German efficiency in the uniform of the SS—opened her door.

Rachel drew a deep breath. Taking his hand, she stepped onto the walk.

* * *

Lea Hartman gripped her husband's hand as she waited her turn in the long, sterile corridor. What a gift that Friederich had been granted a three-day military pass! She couldn't imagine making the train trip alone, especially with the fearful knot that had grown and tightened in her stomach with every town they'd passed.

She'd been coming to the Institute every two years for as long as she could remember. The money and demand for the examinations had come from the Institute itself, though exactly why, she'd never understood—only that it had something to do with her mother, who'd died giving her birth at the Institute.

As a young child it had afforded the opportunity for a long, exciting train trip with her Oma. Even the doctors' authoritarian stance and scathing disapproval hadn't entirely dimmed the joy of the magical journey far from Oberammergau. But as a teen she'd grown shy of the probing doctors, intimidated by the caustic nurses, yet fearful of refusing their demands. At sixteen she'd written, bravely stating that she no longer wished to come, that her health was quite good, and that she no longer saw the purpose. The next week a car from the Institute had screeched to a stop outside her grandmother's door. Despite Oma's protests, the driver had produced some sort of contract that Oma had signed when Lea was given to her and raced the teen all the way to Frankfurt—alone. She'd been kept in a white enamel room, in a confined portion of the sterile Institute, for a fortnight. The nurses had woken her hourly; the doctors examined her daily—intimately and thoroughly. Lea dared not refuse again.

She shifted in her seat. Friederich smiled at her, squeezing her hand in reassurance. Lea breathed deeply and leaned back against the wall.

Now she was married—almost eighteen months—and though she dreaded the ritual examination, she dared hope they could tell her why she'd been unable to conceive. There was no apparent reason, and she and Friederich wanted a child—s everal children—desperately. She closed her eyes and once more begged silently for mercy, for the opening of her womb.

Her husband encircled her with his arm, rubbing the tension from her back. His were the strong, roughened hands of a woodcarver—large and sensitive to the nuances of wood, even more sensitive to her needs, her emotions, her every breath. How she loved him! How she missed him when he was stationed with the First Mountain Division—no matter that the barracks flanked their own Oberammergau. How she feared he might be sent on one of the Führer's missions to gain more "living space" for the Volk. How she feared he might stop loving her.

The door to the examination room opened.

"Dr. Mengele!" She recognized him from two years before. She would not have chosen this doctor, though she could not say precisely why. The examinations, no matter who performed them, were technically the same. It was only a feeling, and hadn't they told her countless times not to trust her feelings, her instincts? They were not reliable and would mislead her. Neither they nor she could be trusted.

"May I come with my wife, Herr Doctor?" Friederich stood by her side. Lea felt her husband's strength seep into her vertebrae.

"For the examination?" Dr. Mengele raised eyebrows in amusement. "Nein." And then more gruffly, "Wait here."

"But we would like to talk with you, Herr Doctor," Friederich persisted, "about a matter of great importance to us."

"Can a grown woman not speak for herself?" Dr. Mengele's amusement turned scornful. He didn't acknowledge Lea, but snorted and walked through the door.

Lea glanced once more into her husband's worried eyes, felt his courage squeezed into her hand, and followed Dr. Josef Mengele into the examination room.

* * *

Friederich checked his watch. If the clock in the hallway was to be believed, Lea had been behind the closed door for only forty-seven minutes, but it seemed a lifetime.

He'd not been in favor of her coming to Frankfurt. He'd never understood the hold the Institute maintained over his wife, why she both feared and nearly fawned at the feet of these doctors. But he'd married her—the woman he saw much more in than she saw in herself—for better or for worse, and this, he'd decided, was part of that package. He would not forbid her to come; she feared them too much for that.

And these days, putting your foot down against authority figures carried consequences—consequences Lea could not afford now that Friederich was not regularly at home. The last thing he wanted was men from the Institute on his wife's doorstep when he was not there to protect her. Better for her to remain invisible. From what little he knew of the Führer's "negotiations" with Poland, he and his unit could be shipped east at any moment. He'd been lucky to get leave at all.

Friederich pushed his hands through his hair, sat heavily once again on the backless bench, and knotted his fingers between his knees.

He was a simple man. He loved his wife, his Lord and his church, his country, his woodcarving, Oberammergau with all its quirks and passion for its Passion Play. He was a grateful man, and the only thing missing in his life was children that he and Lea would bear and rear. He didn't think it selfish to ask God for such a thing.

But he wondered if Lea would ask the right questions of the doctor, if she might miss something. She was a smart and insightful woman, but the nearer they'd come to Frankfurt, the more childlike she'd become. And this Dr. Mengele, whoever he was, seemed less than approachable.

Friederich checked his pocket watch, then the clock again. He wanted to take his wife from this place, go home to Oberammergau—home to their cool Alpine valley, to all they knew and loved. He only wished he didn't have to return to his barracks, wished he could take his wife home and make love to her. It wasn't that he didn't want to serve his country or that he loved Germany less than others. At least, he loved the Germany he'd grown up in. But this New Germany—this Germany of the last seven years with its hate-filled Nuremberg Laws that persecuted Jews, its eternal harassment of the church, its constant demand for greater living space and focus on pure Aryan race—was something different, something he could not grasp as a man grasps wood.

Like any German, he'd hoped and cheered when Adolf Hitler had promised to raise his country from the degradation of the Treaty of Versailles. He wanted to be more than a stench in the world's nostrils and to forge a good life for his family. But not at the expense of what was human or decent. Not if it meant dishonoring God in heaven or making an idol of their Führer.

He closed his eyes to suppress his anxiety about Lea, about politics, to clear his head. This was not the time to argue within himself about things he could not control.

He'd focus on the Nativity carving on his workbench at home. Wood was something he could rely upon. Just before being conscripted, he'd finished the last of a flock of sheep. Now he envisioned the delicate swirls of wood wool and the slight stain he would tell Lea to use in their crevices. Yes, something with a tinge of burnt umber would add depth, create dimension. His wife had the perfect touch. Watching her paint the wooden figures he'd carved was a pleasure to him—a creation they shared.

Friederich was counting the cost of the pigment and stain mixtures she would need for the entire set when the sharp click of a woman's heels on the polished tile floor caused him to lose focus. Her perfume preceded her. He opened his eyes, only to feel that he'd fallen into another world. There was something about the woman's face that struck him as frighteningly familiar, but the window dressing was unrecognizable.

Striking. He'd say she was striking. The same medium height. Her eyes were the same clear blue. Her hair the same gold, but not wrapped in braids about her head as they'd been an hour ago. Her locks hung loose, in rolling coils, so fluid they nearly shimmered. Her nails—fiery red—matched her lips. She wore seamed stockings the color of her skin and slim, high-heeled shoes that, when she paused and half turned toward the door, emphasized slender ankles and showed toned calves to good advantage.

All of that he noticed before he took in the belted sapphire suit, trim and fitted in all the right places. He closed his eyes and opened them again. But she was still there, and coming closer.

The thin, middle-aged man beside her stepped in front, blocking his view. "Entschuldigung, is this where we wait for Dr. Verschuer?"

But Friederich couldn't speak, couldn't quite think. And he didn't know a Dr. Verschuer—did he?

At that moment a pale and agitated woman in nurse's uniform pushed through the door at the far end of the corridor, hurrying toward them. "Dr. Kramer—please, you have entered the wrong corridor. Dr. Verschuer is this way." Casting a furtive glance toward Friederich, she hurried the man with the thinning gray hair and the beautiful young woman back the way they'd come.

"Lea," Friederich whispered. "Lea," he called louder.

The woman in the belted suit turned. He stepped expectantly toward her, but her eyes held no recognition of him. The nurse grabbed the woman's arm, pulling her down the hallway and through the door.

Friederich stood half a moment, uncertain what he should do, if he should follow her. And then the examination room door beside him opened, and his wife, her face stricken and braids askew, walked into his arms.


Excerpted from Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke, Sarah Mason. Copyright © 2014 Cathy Gohlke. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Saving Amelie 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
KVM 8 months ago
Wow, just finished this book and just loved it! Cathy Gohlke writes such a good story that you are so sad to see it end. Its set in Germany during WWII and will break your heart when you hear all the awful things that were done, just not to the Jewish people but anyone that did not meet Aryan standards. So many innocent people were killed but this story gives you hope for all those that were saved by brave , wonderful people all over Europe!
Fiction_Faith_and_Fun More than 1 year ago
Germany was not a safe place for many people during the Second World War--certainly not for a beautiful little girl with a handicap, or the adults who tried to help her. Saving Amelie is an incredibly moving story set in the midst of a very dark scene. The horrors of WWII, the fear of all that was happening both within the country and beyond, not knowing who could be trusted... And yet, in the midst of the evil, there was good. There were people who were willing to take risks to do what was right. These people were the heroes of the war--and the story. Delicate handling of gruesome events, endearing characters, and the constant threat of discovery combine to make this a book you won't want to put down. Saving Amelie is a keeper and a must-read for anyone wanting to find the hope within WWII.
RachelLundy More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this historical fiction novel. Saving Amelie is set in Germany during World War II. It shows what life was like at a time when great evil prospered in Germany. It also gives a glimpse into the eugenics movement not just in Germany, but in the United States as well. The author shows some of the horrors of the eugenics movement and the tragedy faced by those who didn’t meet the “ideal” Aryan standards that Hitler wanted. This book weaves together the stories of a young American woman, an American journalist, a little deaf girl, a German Oma and her granddaughter and grandson-in-law, a Jewish girl, and a Catholic priest. Their lives intersect in a fearful time, and they learn to love and care for each other and for those in need of protection. This book is both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
booksandbeverages More than 1 year ago
Novels set in WWII are usually so hard to read, but they’re some of my favorite to read. Some of the greatest stories in our history come from this era and I’m inspired by the stories of men and women who took a stand. Saving Amelie is one such read. And a fabulous one at that. The Nazi regime did horrid and terrible things, you don’t need me to tell you that. This story while taking place in Germany, wasn’t just about the Nazis, but the many brave Germans who made a difference. This was an excellent read! Gohlke was able to pay homage to so many brave people, draw readers into a popular historical era and leave you thinking how their legacies affect us today. Plus there’s a few appearances by Bonhoeffer himself, which I absolutely loved. Talk about a fascinating and inspiring person from history! I also really appreciated how the characters had real faults. Many of them had to work through the ideas they grew up with against the backdrop of the Hitler regime taking over. Many had to work through the struggles, convictions and fears. "Is my fear, my apathy - indifference - any better than perpetrating evil?" I also thought this was a very telling quote, from a conversation after the Nazi's banned prayer and religious symbols: "Banning prayer from schools? Stripping crucifixes from walls? That would be like taking down the Ten Commandments in the United States. I've never been a churchgoer, but I can't imagine such a thing happening. The churches, even the people who aren't churchgoers, would never stand for having their rights stripped away like that." It’s hard to imagine that so many people (outsiders) simply ignored what Hitler’s regime was doing. The Nuremberg Laws and Kristallnacht happened long before Germany invaded Poland or the doors first opened to Auschwitz. It got me thinking, what are we (myself included) ignoring in today's world? Who needs me/us to speak up for them? (So many answers to that question!) It's a beautiful story honoring so many who stood up for right and good while facing such evil. I cannot even imagine how that must have been, but am so thankful for the examples they left us. “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Desmond Tutu What's an inspiring story from WWII that's stuck with you? Besides Bonhoeffer, the story of Corrie ten Boom is another incredible tale. Originally posted at
Wilani More than 1 year ago
What a powerful Book! It is difficult to read because of the travesty of Germany in World War II. Yet it is important to read and understand what those times were like. The book is well written and I felt like I was living the life of Rachel. I cried a lot. In the process of reading I found some similarities to what is going on in America today which makes it even sadder. While this is fiction, it correctly portrays what it was like in Germany. I loved the Spiritual thread throughout the book. This book had a great impact on my life. This book is a finalist for the 2015 Carol Award which is well deserved.
inlovewithstories More than 1 year ago
I've read several other historical fiction books set in this era and this story did not disappoint. The historical details, including those about genetics research, that the author, Gohlke, weaves into the story make it richer and more life-like. There are a few parts of the story that have you wondering if that could really happen, but those are waved aside as you becoming attached to the characters and root for Amelie's safety and for Rachel's safe escape. It portrays a beautiful picture of a family that was separated and finally became a family again, a true family of the heart. The book is a wonderful mix of adventure and romance. If you like that kind of story, I'd suggest that you give it a try!
SarahSundin More than 1 year ago
Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke rivets you from the start. An exciting race of a story, built on the stories of two compelling women, so different in every way, yet more alike than they imagine. The plight of the handicapped in Nazi Germany comes to life in darling Amelie, shedding light on the dangers of the eugenics movement – the danger of any society that rules certain lives have no value. A beautifully written novel you won’t want to miss.
givemethebible More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was interesting to read about the differences and similarities of a set of twins that had been raised very differently. I also liked reading about the courage of the people who helped those who were oppressed and killed by Hitler.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book gives excellent insight into the lives of Jewish and Christian people living in Germany during Hitler's reign. It really makes you think about how strong your Christian faith is and what you would be willing to stand up for . . . . or stand up against. I highly recommend this book.
lyssilou More than 1 year ago
Let me just say how much I loved this book. Probably hands down the best book I've read this year. I felt as if I was actually reading a true account of WWII Germany, not fiction, and that is the highest of high praise for historical fiction. I won't say anything to ruin it for you... you simply must find a way to read this novel. What did I like best? How Cathy didn't gloss over the ugliness of Nazi Germany, eugenics, and the SS. That touches of humor shone in the darkness. That Jason and Rachel's journey to faith was understated and heartfelt and realistic. That saving Amelie turned into something that touched each character in a unique way. That the faith of a grandmother can move mountains. The emotions were real and I felt like I knew the characters. That all characters , even secondary characters, were rounded and thought out in a way that they were part of the story not just props. I appreciate Cathy's style and I can't wait to read more of her books. Saving Amelie is one for the keeper shelf!
rlighthouse More than 1 year ago
Good Book!   Saving Amelie was set during World War II in Germany.  Rachel traveled to Germany with her father before the start of the war and was forced to stay when her world turned upside down.  She was asked to protect Amelie because she was deaf and therefore not fit for a SS officer's daughter. Rachel does her best but what follows is a suspenseful and at times heartbreaking story.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Cathy Gohlke in her new book “Saving Amelie” published by Tyndale House Publishers introduces us to Rachel Kramer. From the back cover:  SUMMER 1939 ONE LETTER, ONE REQUEST . . . On a trip to Germany with her father, Rachel Kramer receives a cryptic letter with a plea for help from an estranged friend. Married to SS officer Gerhardt Schlick, Kristine sees the dark tides turning and fears her husband views their daughter Amelie—deaf since birth—as a blight on his Aryan bloodline. . . . LEADS TO A TRUTH SO DARK . . . Once courted by Schlick, Rachel knows he’s as dangerous as the swastikas that hang like ebony spiders across Berlin. She fears her father, an eminent eugenics scientist, may know about Hitler’s plans for others, like Amelie, whom the regime deems unworthy of life. But when she risks searching his classified documents, she also uncovers shocking secrets about her own history and a family she’s never known. . . . THEY’LL RISK EVERYTHING TO BRING IT TO LIGHT. Now hunted by the SS, Rachel turns to Jason Young— a driven American journalist and unlikely ally—whose connections to the resistance help Rachel and Amelie escape the city. Forced to hide in Oberammergau, the Bavarian village of the Passion Play, Rachel’s every ideal is challenged as she and Jason walk a knife’s edge, endangering their lives—and asking others to do the same—for those they barely know but come to love. Almost anything set during World War II is going to be interesting. We are talking history with people and events during one of the darkest periods in human history. In “Saving Amelie” Cathy Gohlke gives us a thriller where Rachel and Jason are on the run for their lives across Germany trying to save the life of a little girl. Pulse pounding, nerve twisting suspense as we learn of what the Nazis are attempting and then the dramatic rescue attempt. This story is like the old movies that kept us glued to the edge of our seats so be prepared to be glued to yours. “Saving Amelie” is amazing, filled with wonderful characters that breathe life right off the page and who we root for to succeed. Don’t start this book late at night because it will cost you sleep as you will want to read it all the way to the end. I highly recommend this book. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
AnotherBibliophile More than 1 year ago
Excellent, Intense, Captivating. Amid a high tension political climate, a sweet, dramatic story unfolds. The suspense takes my breath away, and the interactions keep the plot strong and vibrant. I loved the character development, and the scenery and traditions of Germany that were so beautifully rendered. I have never been disappointed by this author. Cathy Gohlke knows how to capture our imagination, keep the suspense, and follow the growing faith of her characters all at the same time. There is beauty and heartbreak in this book.
CathyRN More than 1 year ago
This story takes place at the beginning of WW II. Rachel and her father are in Germany, where they have traveled too often during her life, and she learns a surprising secret about herself and her parents. As Hitler's plans for those deemed "unfavorable to society" are revealed she finds she herself is in danger. She has to go into hiding and learns much about courage, faith, love and sacrifice. This story is based on true facts and is an important lesson to all of us about how we can not stand back and do nothing when evil begins to take over our world. You won't want to put this book down once you start.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
Saving Amelie takes place during World War 2. Sometimes it is hard to read about circumstances that took place in a very evil time by very evil people. This is my third WW2 book this year that I have read, and it deals with even a different angle of the war, which is eugenics. Hitler wanted a pure Aryan bloodline of men and women with nothing wrong with them to produce a ‘perfect’ race. This is a story about Rachel Kramer who grew up with many privileges raised by a eugenics scientist in America. She and her father made the trek to Germany’s institute once a year for her ‘annual checkup’. Thinking her father just trusted German doctors more, she is unprepared by the accusations that American reporter Jason Young is making against her father. Receiving troubling news from a childhood friend about her friend’s deaf daughter, Rachel begins to open her eyes and ears and look at what is really happening in Germany in a whole different light. What she discovers rocks her core belief system and her world. Now on the run, Rachel must learn to open her heart and soul to a different way of life than what she was raised to expect. There is a lot going on in this story and many characters that we meet and care about along the way. This is my first book I have read by Cathy Gohlke and I can say that she is an excellent story teller, pulling us in to her characters’ lives and feeling the danger that they are constantly in. Even though this is fiction, these horrors did happen and also reminds us that we must not be silent and let our freedoms go. I also appreciate the research that she put into this story, even meeting some real life historical figures. I received this book from The Book Club Network Inc., (TBCN), and the opinions are my own.
Miss_CindyH More than 1 year ago
I loved Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke.  The story starts at the beginning of World War II where not everyone is aware and/or believing what Hitler's real plans are.  Rachel and Lea have 2 very different lives, but I knew early on they were going to intersect.  Rachel is naive and gullible.  Even when faced with the truth she still wants to deny it.  I liked the transformation of her character as the story developed.  Gohlke did a good job with her struggles and doubts.  Jason's journey to faith challenges him and the reader alike.  Little Amelie was obviously the central theme of the book.  So much revolved around saving her.  However, Gohlke developed a story line that progressed along with the war.  I felt the characters were believable and likable.  Except for the bad guys of course! Using Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a character, his writings and sermons was a great way to weave history and fiction together.  His lessons on Costly Grace versus Cheap Grace still apply today.  Enjoy the read
BeachNana8 More than 1 year ago
This is another fantastic book you won’t want to put down. Rachel who had often accompanied her parents to Germany while her mother was alive asked to go with her father when he went to Germany to deliver a speech. Although her desire to see her former friend Kristine was somewhat diminished by Kristine’s marriage to her old boy friend whose proposal of marriage Rachel had rejected, she did want to see Kristine again. And Kristine was desperate to see her. Kristine’s husband wanted to give Amelie to the government because she couldn’t hear and Hitler was trying to eliminate everybody who wasn’t perfect, even little children. Once Rachel met Amelie, she knew she had to rescue her. What opened Rachel’s eyes to the truth about her and Rachel? Fortunately a news reporter Jason fell in love with Rachel and was more than happy to help her save Amelie. With his help, Rachel and Amelie hide in Oberammergau. What were some of the problems they had there? What made the children in Oberammergau very sad? Would Rachel and Amelie be discovered by the Nazi? How long could they live here? How could they escape Europe and Hitler’s desire to destroy his enemies as well as all those who are imperfect? In how many ways did Jason help Rachel? Don’t miss reading this incredible story!
Stardust_Fiddle More than 1 year ago
When good people do nothing… Germany, 1939: Three very different people find themselves in the midst of the Third Reich’s rise, each with their own problems. Rachel Kramer comes to Germany on a business trip with her adoptive father, a United States eugenicist working with Drs. Verschuer and Mengele. She has lived a privileged life among the American and German elite, but soon her idyllic future becomes a nightmare embroiled in the turbulent times. Also in Germany, foreign correspondent Jason Young works to provide the American public with the reality of Hitler’s regime while passing censorship. Meanwhile, Lea Hartman and her loving husband Friederich make a frugal living in the small town of Oberammergau, which is renowned for its decennial Passion Play. A woman’s dying wish changes all of their lives forever, at a time when standing for humanity means defying the SS.  In the vein of “The Sound of Music” and Anne Blankman’s “Prisoner of Night and Fog,” Cathy Gohlke beautifully and soberly orchestrates the inventive storyline of “Saving Amelie.” Told from various third-person points of view, it provides a unique perspective on the World War II narrative. The primary focus is not on Jews but on the overall refugee experience as the novel progresses at an adrenaline-inducing pace with disturbing parallels to modern times. The Christian theme materializes and blossoms in a humble, natural manner, exploring true grace as opposed to “cheap grace” and the consequences that result when good people do nothing. The fortitude of both the fictional and real characters stands as a testament to the men and women who heroically maintained and discovered Christian discipleship during this dark period in history. Appended to the end of the novel are discussion questions and a note from the author. 
Deal_Sharing_Aunt More than 1 year ago
Amelie's father thought that she was not worthy of his bloodline and had plans for her. Amelie also has a disability and her mother tries to hide her from her father. 1939 Germany is definitely a hard time to live in. My faith in people was reconfirmed as they helped this girl that they did not know. Rachel pretends to be someone she is not, and Amelie will have to pretend to be someone else in order to escape. Will they succeed? Will it be worth it? This was a look at the past that we should never forget. The faith and love of fellow believers working together to save lives. I am giving this book a 5/5. I was given a copy to review from Book Club Network Inc., However all opinions are my own.
thecraftyhome1 More than 1 year ago
Saving Amelie is an historical Christian novel about World War 2 which are my favorite type of books. I was so excited to read this book and loved it so much that I will be choosing it as one of my free books in the Tyndale Summer Reading Program even though I've already read it. I want it in my library; it was that good. It is the story of a women, Rachel, whose father is a eugenics scientist. They go to Germany on the ruse of providing research sharing with other countries. However, Rachel soon finds out all is not as it seems. What secrets as her father been keeping from her? What will happen when her friend asks her to hide her deaf daughter and she learns of the atrocities happening in Nazi Germany? This is a story of running and hiding from Nazis, of two people falling in love, of what the war did to those German soldiers who didn't want to fight, of so many things. I absolutely loved this book and I know you would as well. This is one of those don't miss books!
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
Saving Amelie is one of the most unique stories I have read. It is set in Nazi Germany at the start of WWII. There so much of unknown facts to me that I learned about the Nazi Regime. I had no idea what eugenics was. I could never imagine Americans working with Nazi Germany researching eugenics. This book put so much to light what went on back then. It just seems shocking to me. I did enjoy reading this book. I found it to be quite interesting and well written. I love the characters and the plot. It was nowhere near predictable, all the way to the end.  I cannot wait to read more by this author. Highly recommended. 5 stars
S-Scales More than 1 year ago
“He who saves one life saves the world” Rachel is a German orphan turned pampered American. She is the only child of Dr. Kramer, who is suspected of being involved with Hitler’s genetic studies. Lea is German born and raised. Her mother died during childbirth, and she was raised by her Oma (grandmother). Amelie is a four year old deaf daughter of an high ranking SS officer. Jason is an ambitious American journalist in Germany. How do their lives intersect? What is the truth of their pasts? Will there be a future for each? Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke is set in Germany in 1939. It includes Bonhoeffer, who was a real life hero during this time. He was a German pastor, spy and martyr. He recognized early on how dangerous and twisted Hilter’s ideology was and he challenged the church to stand against it, protect others, and stand for Christ.      “Germany is at stake—heart and soul…       When the church stops standing for Jews—for anyone—then we stop begin the church. Grace is costly—it took the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, to achieve that grace. It requires just as much from each of us.       But we’ve come to practice cheap grace—grace that appears as a godly form but costs us nothing—and that is abomination, a stench in the nostrils of God.”  (Truths from Bonhoeffer shared in this historical fiction book) This is a story that draws us in and sends us on a realistic journey through a very difficult, dangerous and twisted time in the world’s history. It was well written and I really “enjoyed” (you know what I mean) reading it. I had a hard time figuring out how to write the review, so this part took longer than even reading the book! However, I would recommend it, not just as a very good read, but as an excellent reminder to stand up for others and to not continue to allow our religious freedoms to be taken away. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers. It was not required that I give a positive review, but to solely express my own thoughts and opinions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ShareeS More than 1 year ago
Saving Amelie was a profound story that detailed injustices during WWII against so many people groups. It was not an easy read because the reality of what was happening was so absolutely evil but it was also a beautiful story about overcoming evil with good. Cathy Gohlke never fails to deliver a wonderfully written story and she makes history come alive. One of the best parts of this book was the way Ms. Gohlke incorporates Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his teachings. Speaking of Bonhoeffer’s return from America to Germany she writes, “He’d returned to Germany because he couldn’t allow his church to go through these days alone, that he’d have no right to take part in the restoration of Christian life in Germany after the war unless he shared the trials of this time with his people.” It was done so well that I have a newly founded interested in Bonhoeffer’s life and writings. Amelie, the young child of an SS officer, is in danger of being eliminated because she fails to meet the requirements of the perfect Aryan nation. Her mother, Kristine, begs an old friend from America, Rachel, to take Amelie to safety because she fears not only for the child’s life, but also for her own. Old wounds run deep and Rachel’s scruples are tested along with the teachings of her eugenics professor father. When Jason, an American journalist enters into the picture, Rachel finds she needs protection and help. Rachel finds courage to investigate a past and a God she didn’t know existed. Fleeing to Oberammergau, Rachel and Lea collide. Lea’s heart has desired to be a mother as long as she can remember. When her husband is assigned duties in the German army, she is left alone with secrets she can’t even begin to comprehend. Lea and her grandmother live in Oberammergau, the town where the Passion Play is performed. In a place where living the Christian life is a norm, Lea must decide if self-preservation is more important than sacrifice and courage. In a complex tale, Ms. Gohlke weaves the story of Saving Amelie with such passion and creativity. One of the underlying lessons in this story is how the church could have, but failed to, step up and counter Hitler’s teachings as well as failure to protect the ones affected. Although this book is historical fiction, at times I found myself so caught up in the story that I had to remember it was fiction. The atrocities that the characters faced were not made up unfortunately, and that was a huge consideration. This is a fantastic read and definitely comes highly recommended! I received this book from the Book Club Network and Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.