Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Summerside Press
Release Date: November 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Inspirational Fiction
Year/Setting: 1940’s/Roosevelt, Wisconsin
Overall Rating: 5.0
Sexual Content Rating: None/Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None/Mild
Violent Content Rating: Moderate/Intense
Susan's Website/Blog: www.susanmaywarren.com
All I can say is…perfection. This book steals your heart from page one and doesn’t let it go until the author says The End. Not since The Kommandant’s Girl, by Pam Jenoff was released in 2007, have I been so engrossed in a love story set during WWII. Although a completely different premise, Ms. Warren has delivered a breathtaking story that consists of passion, guilt, fear, faith, hope, pain, anger, and atonement.
Esther Lange is a nurse in Wisconsin. She, like many women during this time, has a fiancé who is across the globe fighting for America. Unlike many women during this time, however, there’s a part of Esther that really hopes her fiancé, Linus, doesn’t ever return home. Is that a horrific thing to say? Perhaps. But once you hear Esther’s story, the reader will completely understand why she feels like she does.
Linus and Esther were never really in love. One evening they lost themselves to the moment and created a little girl named Sadie. Esther wrote to Linus overseas because she had nowhere to go; her own family told her that she must deal with her own sins and make her own way in life. Linus wrote back and sent her to live with his parents – the Judge and Mrs. Hahn. That would turn out to be the biggest mistake of Esther’s life. The Judge and Mrs. Hahn can’t stand Esther, and they only tolerate Sadie because their beloved son is her father.
One day, the ultimate terror happens in Esther’s life. She receives a letter written by a medic named Peter Hess, telling Esther that he’d seen Linus and believed that he passed away during one of the battles. Enclosed with his letter is an envelope written in Linus’ handwriting that says: To Esther, upon my death. Esther is petrified; she knows that if she tells the Hahn’s that their son is gone, they will toss her out of the house and keep Sadie for themselves – seeing as that the little girl is the last piece of their son on Earth. Esther can’t afford to lose Sadie, and has to choose a path that will, perhaps, destroy what is left of her life, soul, and sanity.
She begins to correspond with the medic. Whether out of guilt or loneliness, Esther doesn’t know. But his return letters are beautiful and heartfelt, and make her truly think that somewhere out there, if she tries hard enough and waits long enough, there is a world of peace and happiness just waiting for her.
Storylines weave through this book involving lies dating back much farther than Linus and Esther’s relationship. Not to mention there are many other characters with broken hearts who reveal their own secrets throughout the novel. It is a never-ending mixture that will make you cry, hope, and yearn for these people, who have been through so much pain, to finally find the happiness they all deserve. Bravo! I can’t wait to read Ms. Warren’s next offering.
Until next time,
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