For fans of All the Light We Cannot See, Beneath a Scarlet Sky, and The Nightingale comes an emotionally gripping, beautifully written historical novel about extraordinary hope, redemption, and one man’s search for light during the darkest times of World War II.
Germany, 1942. Franciscan friar Anton Starzmann is stripped of his place in the world when his school is seized by the Nazis. He relocates to a small German hamlet to wed Elisabeth Herter, a widow who seeks a marriage—in name only—to a man who can help raise her three children. Anton seeks something too—atonement for failing to protect his young students from the wrath of the Nazis. But neither he nor Elisabeth expects their lives to be shaken once again by the inescapable rumble of war.
As Anton struggles to adapt to the roles of husband and father, he learns of the Red Orchestra, an underground network of resisters plotting to assassinate Hitler. Despite Elisabeth’s reservations, Anton joins this army of shadows. But when the SS discovers his schemes, Anton will embark on a final act of defiance that may cost him his life—even if it means saying goodbye to the family he has come to love more than he ever believed possible.
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Through unexpected characters and vivid prose, Olivia Hawker explores the varied landscape of the human spirit. Olivia’s interest in genealogy often informs her writing. Her first two novels from Lake Union Publishing, The Ragged Edge of Night and One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow (2019), are based on true stories found within the author’s family tree. She lives in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, where she homesteads at Longlight, a one-acre microfarm dedicated to sustainable permaculture practices.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is historical fiction based on the true story of a family surviving in Germany during World War II. Elisabeth is a widow with three children. Anton is a religious brother defrocked by the Nazis who is looking for a new beginning. Elisabeth needs a husband to help care for her and her children. Anton needs a place to start a new life. Not the most auspicious of beginnings. But the relationship works. Olivia Hawker takes us through the trials of Anton and Elisabeth as they live and work together to survive in the turmoil of the war. From Allied bombers overhead to Nazi sympathizers and SS agents looking for the slightest signs of disloyalty to Hitler, their world is on the edge of a steep precipice. It gets even steeper when Anton joins the Resistance as a courier. Each mission carries the risk of discovery and death for himself and his family. His drives him past, a past that includes what he sees as cowardice. Both Anton and Elisabeth are genuine heroes even with all their flaws. Hawker brings her story world to life at a level I haven't experienced in historical fiction before. It's a heart-wrenching world full of intrigue and suspense. It's also a heartwarming story of two strangers finding love and of a village coming together to support and protect one another from Hitler's tyranny and the suffering of war. This is one of the best books I've read this year. I highly recommend it. This is an unsolicited review.
The Ragged Edge of Night is an excellent historical novel set in Germany from September 1942 through May 1945, and following the lives of several Germans trying to stay ahead of the SS as they survive and do all they can to stop Hitler. We tend to think of the majority of German citizens as part of the problem, while in reality most were just as overwhelmed as were other Europeans under the control of the Nazi party. This book looks at WWII from that aspect, through the stories of real people. Joseph Anton Starzmann was Franciscan Friar Bruder Nazarius from the time he was 18, a teacher of music to children with fractured minds until those children Anton taught and cared for were, despite his pleading and gentle resistance, bussed to the gas ovens. And with the end of the teaching job, Anton's Catholic order was dissolved by the Nazi's and he was conscripted into the Wehrmacht. Fortunately he was able to declare a back injury when he first parachuted into a battlefield and was thus turned loose by the military. Elizabeth Hansjosten Herter was the widowed mother of three in the small village of Unterboihingen, Wurttermbert. Unable to make enough with her sewing jobs to support her household, Elisabeth posts a notice in the Catholic periodical Esprit seeking a husband and father to her children. Albert was 11, Paul was 9 with lung problems keeping the family tied to this small village with cleaner air than cities with jobs, and Maria, even at 6, was a scrapper. Despite several weeks of correspondence their first meeting was awkward but Anton's appreciation and respect for all children eased Elizabeth's fears, and the wedding was planned after a two week period of second thinking. Together Anton and Elisabeth do what they must to survive these war years, and all they can to foil the German government. along with many Germans, they did what they could to fight from within against the The Ragged Edge of Night is the most comprehensive and sympathetic coverage of the everyday lives of the German people under the Nazi reign I have found. My German roots were transplanted to America in 1733, but there is still a sympathetic gene or two there. Olivia Hawker is the wife of the son of Rita, who with her sister Angie were the daughters of Anton and Elizabeth and half siblings to Al, Paul and Maria. The reminisces of Angie, born near the end of WWII, were the inspiration for the character Maria in this novel to add spice, as Maria was a quiet, well mannered girl and Angie - wasn't. This is a book I will treasure.
One of the best books I have read this year!!! I absolutely LOVED it! My review can't possibly do it justice. The book was beautifully written. I'm pretty sure I teared up in some spots. I loved the characters, story and writing style. After reading the author's remarks at the end, I found out the book was based on a true story. This made the book even more amazing. Anton finds himself answering an ad in a Catholic paper. A widow is in need of a father for her three children. Anton was previously a Franciscan friar until his school was seized by the Nazis. He then became part of the Wehrmacht until a "back injury" gave him an excuse to leave. Now he finds himself to be a husband and father in a small village. Anton brings his love of music to the town. He would rather create a marching band than have the impressionable boys fall under Hitler's spell. Along with Father Emil, Anton joins the resistance to help with the downfall of Hitler. I loved the characters. I felt like I was right there with them. I loved getting to know Anton and Elisabeth. Enjoyed Anita's sense of humor and Maria was quite the handful. I knew that white communion dress would not survive. Each of the characters added so much to the story. Anton was an amazing person. So was Elisabeth. She was very strong woman. The scene at the school with his students was heartbreaking. One of my favorite parts was the scene with the missing bells. I definitely teared up in parts. My only complaint about the book is that it had to end. I wanted to keep reading about the family. I definitely recommend this book and can't wait to read more from the author. Thanks to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and the author, Olivia Hawker, for a free electronic ARC of this novel.