Surviving the Fatherland: A True Coming-of-age Love Story Set in WWII Germany

Surviving the Fatherland: A True Coming-of-age Love Story Set in WWII Germany

by Annette Oppenlander

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Overview

***Winner 2017 National Indie Excellence Award***Indie B.R.A.G. Award Honoree***Winner Chill with a Book Readers' Award***Finalist 2017 Kindle Book Awards***Winner Readers' Favorite Book Award***An IWIC Hall of Fame Novel***

"This book needs to join the ranks of the classic survivor stories of WWII such as "Diary of Anne Frank" and "Man's Search for Meaning". It is truly that amazing!" InD'taleMagazine

"This novel is fast-paced and emotively worded and features a great selection of characters, flawed and poignantly three-dimensional." Historical Novel Society

Spanning thirteen years from 1940 to 1953 and set against the epic panorama of WWII, author Annette Oppenlander's SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND is a sweeping saga of family, love, and betrayal that illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the children's war.

SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND tells the true and heart-wrenching stories of Lilly and Günter struggling with the terror-filled reality of life in the Third Reich, each embarking on their own dangerous path toward survival, freedom, and ultimately each other. Based on the author's own family and anchored in historical facts, this story celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the strength of war children.

When her father goes off to war, seven-year-old Lilly is left with an unkind mother who favors her brother and chooses to ignore the lecherous pedophile next door. A few blocks away, twelve-year-old Günter also looses his father to the draft and quickly takes charge of supplementing his family's ever-dwindling rations by any means necessary.

As the war escalates and bombs begin to rain, Lilly and Günter's lives spiral out of control. Every day is a fight for survival. On a quest for firewood, Lilly encounters a dying soldier and steals her father's last suit to help the man escape. Barely sixteen, Günter ignores his draft call and embarks as a fugitive on a harrowing 47-day ordeal--always just one step away from execution.

When at last the war ends, Günter grapples with his brother's severe PTSD and the fact that none of his classmates survived. Welcoming denazification, Lilly takes a desperate step to rid herself once and for all of her disgusting neighbor's grip. When Lilly and Günter meet in 1949, their love affair is like any other. Or so it seems. But old wounds and secrets have a way of rising to the surface once more.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940155640516
Publisher: Annette Oppenlander
Publication date: 03/27/2018
Sold by: Draft2Digital
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 138,841
File size: 795 KB

About the Author

Annette Oppenlander is an award-winning writer, literary coach and educator. As a bestselling historical novelist, Oppenlander is known for her authentic characters and stories based on true events, coming alive in well-researched settings. Having lived in Germany the first half of her life and the second half in various parts in the U.S., Oppenlander inspires readers by illuminating story questions as relevant today as they were in the past. Oppenlander’s bestselling true WWII story, Surviving the Fatherland, was a winner in the 2017 National Indie Excellence Awards and a finalist in the 2017 Kindle Book Awards. Her historical time-travel trilogy, Escape from the Past, takes readers to the German Middle Ages and the Wild West. Uniquely, Oppenlander weaves actual historical figures and events into her plots, giving readers a flavor of true history while enjoying a good story. Oppenlander shares her knowledge through writing workshops at colleges, libraries and schools. She also offers vivid presentations and author visits. The mother of fraternal twins and a son, she recently moved with her husband and old mutt, Mocha, to Solingen, Germany.

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Surviving the Fatherland: A True Coming-of-age Love Story Set in WWII Germany 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
wjane More than 1 year ago
Surviving the Fatherland: A True Coming of Age Love Story Set in WWII Germany by Annette Oppenlander is so much more than a love story. This book should become a classic story of the German people during and after World War II because of the knowledge it imparts to each reader. Hitler and his minions tried to destroy the Jews but at the same time Hitler tried to destroy all Germans. Whether Hitler was demon possessed and/or a madman only God can answer but the entire World was affected by his evil. It was a difficult book to read because of the human suffering but very honest with no excuses. I doubt few people today could survive the hardships that these people endured under the Socialist Party of the Nazi Government or the Russian Socialist Government. This is a book of truth, love, courage and endurance during a time of unbelievable oppression by socialistic governments. My thanks to the author, the publisher and netgalley for allowing me to read and review this extraordinary book.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Peggy Jo Wipf for Readers' Favorite Annette Oppenlander opened doors in her heritage that most people would have kept closed when she penned Surviving the Fatherland: A True Coming-of-age Love Story Set in WWII Germany. She records her parents' young lives as they watch fathers, brothers, and friends go off to fulfill their duty fighting for Hitler’s regime. While Gunter Schmidt’s father and brother are sent to fight, he faces battles of his own as the man of the house. Providing for a mother and younger brother, while there wasn’t food to be found, no work available, and Nazi spies planted in the neighborhood, was almost impossible. Lillian Cronen faces unique challenges as a girl. She must support her mother and brother while warding off the attentions of her mother’s beaus. I feel almost inadequate to write a review on the lives of two people who went through unimaginable turmoil under a dictator who betrayed his own people. Annette Oppenlander’s tribute to her parents through Surviving the Fatherland: A True Coming-of-age Love Story Set in WWII Germany is simply beautiful. She paints a vivid picture of how the German people were broken by the sacrifices they made to their country. At times I could not put Surviving the Fatherland down; at other times I had to walk away from the starving people, the bombings, and sad conditions under which these people lived. Annette carefully records a different Germany than what the outside world perceived. I was amazed at how open her parents were about their suffering, the guilt they felt at times, and what they had to do to survive; it makes me long to read about the events that did not make it into this historical fiction novel. I loved this book!
indiebrag More than 1 year ago
We are proud to announce that SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND by Annette Oppenlander is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. This tells readers that this book is well worth their time and money!
JBronder More than 1 year ago
Whenever I think of a WWII story, the first thing that comes to mind is how the Jews suffered in the concentration camps. It’s easy to think of the Germans as being Jew hating monsters. But in reality many of the Germans were just trying to survive the war the best they could. This is a story of two children and how they survived the war. Lilly and Gunter are kids that are missing their father who has gone off to fight in the war. But things are not any easier for them even if they are German. Their mother has to entertain men just to make it through. Both kids do what they can just to survive too. They all face tough decisions and find themselves is very bad situations. This is a touching story that is hard to read. It’s heartbreaking to follow along with the children but there is that glimmer of hope that they will survive. It’s so easy to sweep the past under a rug and pretend that it didn’t happen. But books like this show you true heart and the willingness to keep fighting no matter what. This is an amazing story and one that I feel everyone needs to read. Annette Oppenlander is a wonderful author and I can’t wait to read more books from her. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
Allykitten More than 1 year ago
---4.5 Stars--- Wow! This book tells an impressive story of two children who are brave, courageous, and have the strength to fight against all odds to survive. This book tells the true story of two children, Lilly and Günter in the 1940s in Germany during the Hitler era. From right off the first page, I was emotionally invested in this book – it’s hard not to be. This story is based on the author’s family and you feel the authenticity and pain just leap off the page. My heart just broke reading what these children endured and how they just kept going. I don’t know if I personally would have had the strength to keep going. It was inspiring to see their persistence and determination. The main characters, Lilly and Günter, are true, pure, and genuine. You will develop an instant bond with these characters and find yourself not only pulling for them, but praying for their safety and wellbeing. I honestly feel somewhat changed after reading this book. Not in a bad way, perhaps by now having a deeper understanding of empathy, insight, and compassion to children of war. As a millennial, I was lucky to have not grown up during war times. Yes, 9/11 was a sad, and forever changing time, but I lived in the U.S. and at no time did I ever feel unsafe or violated or tortured like others have had to endure during other war eras. This book was such an interesting and intriguing story and I found myself further invested in the characters and storyline than I expected to be or tend to be with other books. That should the definition of a great book – a book that causes you to feel the emotion of the characters and become fully engaged and invested in the characters and the storyline. I would recommend this book as this is such an important story to read and understand. Anyone that is put through such obscene and difficult obstacles deserves to have their story told and appreciated. Beware that you may need a box of tissues nearby, as this book is filled with so much emotion that will cause your heart to race, your eyes to water, and your body to cringe. I felt every sentence. **Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book and have voluntarily provided an honest, and unbiased review in accordance with FTC regulations.**
Allykitten More than 1 year ago
---4.5 Stars--- Wow! This book tells an impressive story of two children who are brave, courageous, and have the strength to fight against all odds to survive. This book tells the true story of two children, Lilly and Günter in the 1940s in Germany during the Hitler era. From right off the first page, I was emotionally invested in this book – it’s hard not to be. This story is based on the author’s family and you feel the authenticity and pain just leap off the page. My heart just broke reading what these children endured and how they just kept going. I don’t know if I personally would have had the strength to keep going. It was inspiring to see their persistence and determination. The main characters, Lilly and Günter, are true, pure, and genuine. You will develop an instant bond with these characters and find yourself not only pulling for them, but praying for their safety and wellbeing. I honestly feel somewhat changed after reading this book. Not in a bad way, perhaps by now having a deeper understanding of empathy, insight, and compassion to children of war. As a millennial, I was lucky to have not grown up during war times. Yes, 9/11 was a sad, and forever changing time, but I lived in the U.S. and at no time did I ever feel unsafe or violated or tortured like others have had to endure during other war eras. This book was such an interesting and intriguing story and I found myself further invested in the characters and storyline than I expected to be or tend to be with other books. That should the definition of a great book – a book that causes you to feel the emotion of the characters and become fully engaged and invested in the characters and the storyline. I would recommend this book as this is such an important story to read and understand. Anyone that is put through such obscene and difficult obstacles deserves to have their story told and appreciated. Beware that you may need a box of tissues nearby, as this book is filled with so much emotion that will cause your heart to race, your eyes to water, and your body to cringe. I felt every sentence. **Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book and have voluntarily provided an honest, and unbiased review in accordance with FTC regulations.**
ZeeEH More than 1 year ago
Surviving the Fatherland paints a vivid picture of life in Germany during the Second World War from the point of view of two children who grow up dealing with the depravations and conflicts of this horrifying time. Though often barely able to exist, both children find the inner strength and determination to sustain themselves and their families from day to day. They come of age in Postwar Germany, their outlook and personal convictions having been formed by their earlier struggles. They find one another and eventually become the author's parents. I especially enjoyed the side by side view of humanity amidst the insanity of Hilter's Germany and the aftermath of war. This is a unique look at a time few of us can imagine, but none of us should forget. Highly recommended.