Heart wrenching story about Hitler run Germany where the corruption runs deeply. Hitler and his cohorts are working to eradicate anyone who is seen as unperfect in their eyes. This book was hard to read not because on the writing but because of the topic and the anger I felt towards those involved in the genocide. The book is wonderfully written and would definitely read this author again.
Ms. Gohlke is a masterful author and this book is hard to put down once you start it. Rachel and her father travel to Germany as they have done every year since her birth. This visit, in 1939, she learns a devastating fact about herself and her father. As she begins to see Hitler's plan to rid the world of those he sees as "unfavorable to society" she learns that she too may be in danger. She goes into hiding, and during that time learns firsthand about the courage, faith and love of those who try to help those in danger. Fascinating story and I highly recommend this book to all who enjoy a great story.
If I could show the author my thoughts on the novel in an action, it would be to stand and applaud. Seriously, I have read many books over the last couple of years along with a friend of mine and very few of the novels were less than what we hoped. Some of the novels we read were pretty much okay, nothing bad, but not above a 3 star rating. Here is one of those rare gems that left me breathless.
What steals my breath during the story that takes place during WWII in Germany is the reminder of how heartless the whole belief system was that Hitler promoted. The evil words and actions were not as pronounced at first so many people in the tale didnt see a problem with the ideology pervading their lives. Yet, as time goes on, more characters in the book begin to realize that what was excused early on as nonthreatening is revealed for what it truly islives that are seen as having no value are eliminated.
Rachaels father is a eugenics scientist working with the German government at first to find a cure for tuberculosis. The trips he took to visit other scientists in Germany every two years were just a normal part of her life, but before leaving New York Rachael had decided that this was the last trip she would make with her father. Lea lives in Germany and is married to a talented woodcarver. She, too, has to visit the Institutes doctors every two years with each visit becoming more emotionally traumatic. As readers continue to unravel the mystery surrounding the Institute and its research, what becomes known changes more than just Leas life, but that of her twin sister, too.
There is more to the book than I can write in this review, but I can guarantee you dont want to pass up this historical, well-researched tale. It isnt just a historical tale, but one enriched with true historical people and how their life lessons need to be examined in the light of the present. I enjoyed the book more than I can say and appreciate the depth of research the author, along with her family, put into the writing. Dont pass up reading Saving Amelie!
Im reviewing Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke. This is the second book I have read by this author.
Saving Amelie is set in Germany during World War II and follows a young American woman, Rachel Kramer, and an American journalist, Jason Young. Rachels friend asked her to save her young deaf daughters life from certain death and with the help of Jason and several others, Rachel attempts to help save the little girl.
I thought they author did a good job of portraying the German people and how they turned a blind eye to the hatred and racism of Hitlers regime. Obviously they were scared and thats understandable, but if they had stood up and fought against injustice in the beginning, would things have become so out of control? How do we Americans today compare? There was a comment made by one of the characters about prayer never being taken out of schools. Although this story is fictional, I am sure in the 1940s, the American people never dreamed that prayer would be taken out of schools only a couple of decades later. This is strictly my opinion, but I am very concerned about our governments involvement in our healthcare. Will there be a time when they decide that the elderly and disabled are useless and are a burden on society?
Although, I liked the story, I had a hard time relating to Rachel. I know she was taught by her parents that she was superior, but she came across as immature and self-centered. For example, her treatment of Rivka and her inability to see the seriousness of Maximillions attentions. I thought some of the situations were unbelievable, because I think the characters would have been killed instead of just beaten, etc While I dont want everyone to die, this is Germany during World War II, make it a little more realistic.
My thoughts and suggestionsAt the beginning I had difficulty keeping up with all of the characters being introduced. While the epilogue sums everything up, there was a big time gap and I think the author could have easily written a sequel. There were vans mentioned in the book and I pictured a modern van in my mind. I was discussing the book with my husband and he questioned vans being used at that time, so we did some research. There were in fact vans, but they were more like delivery trucks. Im still not sure what the author had in mind when she used them in the book. The authors note at the end is a must read. I like to read historical fiction, but I also like to know the real history behind it.
I thought the book was good, but it took me longer to read than other books. I could put it down and not read it for a while, but I always went back. It just didnt grip me the way other books do and I think it had a lot to do with not being able to relate with Rachel and the van question. Whether or not there was a historical discrepancy, I think the author is very passionate about what she writes and I will continue to read her books.
*I RECEIVED A FREE EBOOK COPY FROM NETGALLEY AND TYNDALE PUBLISHERS IN EXCHANGE FOR MY HONEST REVIEW*