Most helpful positive review
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Thoughtful and sensitive writing
on 24 April 2005
This is the story of Trudy and her mother Anna. Trudy is a University Professor of History at University where she teaches. Born in Germany she and her mother manage to start a new life in America after the war. The theme is one of search for identity, Trudy's identity and she realises who she is in a most unsuspecting way. Flitting back to her mother Anna's experience in the war and what she must do to "save" her daughter from starvation Anna must become involved with an SS Officer of high rank. There is, however, a secret which can never be divulged during these times and ultimately Anna will never admit to Trudy's birthright. We are transported between Nazi Germany and modern Minnesota as the story unfolds. Trudy decides to research the experience of Germans who lived during the time of Hitler and how they interacted with the Jews believing that she is the child of the liaison between her mother and the German Officer. Many of these older Germans did not admit to a culpability of Jew hatred or complicity in handing over the Jews to the Nazis. It is only in an interview with a German who lived in the same time that she becomes aware of the deep secret kept from her all her life. Jenna Blum does not point the finger of accusation but in a considered way allows us to look at the situation and formalise our own conclusions regarding her mother's war time behaviour and that of other Germans.
Jenna Blum's first novel is sensitively written and although one might consider that its initial appeal might be to female readers, I found myself reading the book whenever I could and my attention did not waiver. At first I was not convinced of the plausability of such a story line and looking through Jenna Blum's biographical notes she worked with Steven Spielbergs Shoah Foundation where she must have got some ideas for this book. Certain scenes of intimacy between Anna and her Officer lover could have been sensationalised. Blum avoids any smut and although the reader will understand the nature of these moments they are not thrust down our throat in a manner of speaking. I look forward to Jenna Blum's next book.