Book review: What is Forgiven (The Anna Klein Trilogy Book 2) by C.F. Yetmen

  • What is Forgiven by C.F. Yetmen
  • Publisher:  Ypsilon & Co. Press
  • Date published:  September 5th, 2017
  • Pages:  367
  • Genre:   Historical romance / historical fiction / mystery / suspense

DESCRIPTION:

At the end of 1945 in a shattered Germany, Anna Klein is faced with tough choices about her future. Her plum job working as a translator for Captain Henry Cooper, one of the American Monuments Men, means she has a house and an income, as well as hands-on access to some of the world’s most precious art. But her life is falling apart on all fronts: her family is displaced, the boy in her care is being sought by authorities, and she must resolve to finally end her marriage. When she realizes that someone has tampered with two important paintings taken from a Jewish collector—paintings she was charged with safeguarding—Anna is determined to solve the crime. But without hard evidence and no motive, she can prove nothing and as State Department big wigs threaten to shut down the Monuments Men’s operation, she and her boss are under special scrutiny. As all signs begin to point to an inconvenient suspect in the crime, she has to play it by the book to keep her job and return the art to its rightful owner, if she can find him.

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

C.F. YETMEN is a writer and consultant specializing in architecture and design.

She is co-author of The Owner’s Dilemma: Driving Success and Innovation in the Design and Construction Industry and a former publisher of Texas Architect magazine. The Roses Underneath is her first novel.

Connect with the author:  Website   Facebook   Twitter   goodreads

REVIEW:

This book is a sequel to The Roses Underneath where we continue to follow the activities of Anna Klein and Captain Cooper as they become unwittingly become embroiled in conspiracies involving a huge cache of stolen artwork they recently discovered in an abandoned farmhouse.

Anna’s life has taken on another element as she “adopts” a streetwise orphan boy.  Her home with her mother’s friend has been requisitioned by the army and she has two days to find somewhere to place her family.  Captain Cooper, not an army man per se, has “bucked the system” a few times too many and now the army has them both under surveillance.  Anna is beginning to feel the pressure and has doubts who she can really trust – the army – her new roommate – even Captain Cooper.  Her husband has been branded a “Commie” and is not welcome in Wiesbaden.  Anna is unwilling to return to the Russian held part of Germany.  Her love for her husband but her respect and admiration for Captain Cooper pull her in two directions.

An excellent follow through of Anna’s story and I can’t wait to read the third segment.  Kudos to a wonderfully talented debut writer!

Book review: The Roses Underneath by C.F. Yetmen

  • The Roses Underneath by C.F. Yetmen
  • Publisher:  Ypsilon & Co. Press
  • Date published:  January 28th, 2014
  • Pages:  411
  • Genre:   Historical romance / historical fiction

DESCRIPTION:

It is August 1945 in Wiesbaden, Germany. With the country in ruins, Anna Klein, displaced and separated from her beloved husband, struggles to support herself and her six-year old daughter Amalia. Her job typing forms at the Collecting Point for the US Army’s Monuments Men is the only thing keeping her afloat. Charged with securing Nazi-looted art and rebuilding Germany’s monuments, the Americans are on the hunt for stolen treasures. But after the horrors of the war, Anna wants only to hide from the truth and rebuild a life with her family. When the easy-going American Captain Henry Cooper recruits her as his reluctant translator, the two of them stumble on a mysterious stash of art in a villa outside of town. Cooper’s penchant for breaking the rules capsizes Anna’s tenuous security and propels her into a search for elusive truth and justice in a world where everyone is hiding something.

In her debut novel C.F. Yetmen tells a story of loss and reconciliation in a shattered world coming to terms with war and its aftermath.

Buy the book:   Amazon
MEET THE AUTHOR:

C.F. YETMEN is a writer and consultant specializing in architecture and design.

She is co-author of The Owner’s Dilemma: Driving Success and Innovation in the Design and Construction Industry and a former publisher of Texas Architect magazine. The Roses Underneath is her first novel.

Connect with the author:  Website   Facebook   Twitter   goodreads

REVIEW:

This novel was an expected pleasure to read.  The book centers around Anna Klein, a mother with a five year old daughter who has fled the Russian held sector of Austria/Germany where her husband, a country doctor and communist, has decided to remain.  Fleeing to American controlled Weisbaden to find find her mother’s best friend, Anna struggles with extreme poverty and  lack of food .

She finds a job working for the Monuments Men, men of different artistic disciplines who were drafted from the US to recover art treasures stolen by the Nazis. Because of her ability to speak English as well as her background in art, she is hired as a translator for Captain Cooper, an architect drafted into the army to assist in the recovery of the artwork.

Although this is a piece of historical fiction with a gripping storyline, we also become privy to the private sentiments of extreme guilt felt by some the German civilians, even non-Nazi supporters, who saw or didn’t quite understand what was happening during the ethnic cleansing.  Anna’s need to expunge her past and redeem herself became a very meaningful part of this story.

Despite the serious nature of the topic, I found myself flying through the pages.  An intelligent and absorbing storyline.

Book review: The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

  • Title:  The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
  • Published:  March 28, 2017
  • Publisher:  William Morrow
  • Pages:  368
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction

DESCRIPTION:

Three women, haunted by the past and the secrets they hold

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding.

Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naive Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resister’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.

Written with the devastating emotional power of The Nightingale, Sarah’s Key, and The Light Between Oceans, Jessica Shattuck’s evocative and utterly enthralling novel offers a fresh perspective on one of the most tumultuous periods in history. Combining piercing social insight and vivid historical atmosphere, The Women in the Castle is a dramatic yet nuanced portrait of war and its repercussions that explores what it means to survive, love, and, ultimately, to forgive in the wake of unimaginable hardship.

BUY THE BOOK:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Harper Collins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Jessica Shattuck is the award-winning author of The Hazards of Good Breeding, which was a New York Times Notable Book and finalist for the PEN/Winship Award, and Perfect Life. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker, Glamour, Mother Jones, Wired, and The Believer, among other publications. A graduate of Harvard University, she received her MFA from Columbia University. She lives with her husband and three children in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Connect with the author:   Website   Facebook   Twitter

REVIEW:

Wow, where do I even start?  This is a book that really makes you think about how the response of the German people to Hitler’s rise to power affected the lives of millions of innocent people. We see WWII through the eyes of three very different German women and how they chose or chose not to see the injustices and brutality perpetrated against fellow Germans as well as those from other countries.  Each of these women suffered terribly during the war and their experience gives us a unique perspective of what a German living at that time may have experienced.

Marianne:  the wife of a resister from a privileged background.  Firm in her conviction that Hitler should be stopped at all costs.

Benita:  a beautiful young woman, married to another resister, yet ignorant of her husband’s plot to assassinate the Fuhrer.

Ania:  a mother with two sons, liberated from a camp at the end of the second world war.

These three women barely survived the the war.  They are brought together by Marianne who promised her late husband that she would protect the widows of resisters. The chapters in this book fly back and forth to each woman’s past both before and during the war.  Slowly we are able to put together the pieces of their lives, their sorrows as well as the guilt they deal with as they try to rebuild their lives and those of their children.   This book provides us with a series of moral issues that each and every one of us must take a personal stand for now, for, if the past repeats itself, we may be as lost as those who did not resist the holocaust.