Between needing to finish books from the library before they were due, and then not being sure I could handle the emotional toll of a World War 2 story while dealing with Covid-19, I really wasn’t sure when I’d be able to read this book. I received it months ago as part of a giveaway, so I was starting to feel pretty guilty that it was just sitting in my TBR pile. But I am so glad I was finally ready and able to read it this week!
The story follows two different characters in and out of two different timelines. The first is the main character Rennie, and her story takes place in Nazi Germany in the 1930s when she was a young girl in Hitler’s Youth. The other character is her older brother Werner, and he tells his side of the story as an extremely loyal Nazi soldier during intertwining events with Rennie, but the reader also sees him in the 2000s timeline as a crotchety old man.
In the 1930s timeline, Rennie is desperate to find her best friend Sophie, who was left in crutches from polio years earlier. Sophie no longer fits the criteria for the perfect race, and on top of everything, she is being hunted as a traitor. Rennie has to decide which path she will take: will she pledge her loyalty to her brother and the Nazi Party, or does stay loyal to her friend and risk safety and possibly her life. In the 2000s timeline, Werner is confronted by two strangers and forced to see the truth of his role as a Nazi soldier.
I honestly didn’t think I was going to like this book when I first started reading because the first couple chapters were confusing. There were a lot of names and it was hard to keep track of what was going on and who was who. Since there is another book (Risking Exposure) told from Sophie’s point of view that takes place before this one, it might have been a more enjoyable introduction if I had read that one first. But no matter, because I soon became so engrossed in Rennie, Sophie, and Werner’s lives that I couldn’t put the book down. I actually finished it at 3am (with tears running down my face) because I just had to know what happened to everyone. Jeanne did such a wonderful job revealing answers to questions and mysteries throughout the whole story, while still leaving questions unanswered until the very last pages.