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The Ragged Edge of Night Paperback – Import, 1 October 2018
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For fans of All the Light We Cannot See, Beneath a Scarlet Sky, and The Nightingale comes an emotionally gripping, beautifully written historical novel about extraordinary hope, redemption, and one man’s search for light during the darkest times of World War II.
Germany, 1942. Franciscan friar Anton Starzmann is stripped of his place in the world when his school is seized by the Nazis. He relocates to a small German hamlet to wed Elisabeth Herter, a widow who seeks a marriage—in name only—to a man who can help raise her three children. Anton seeks something too—atonement for failing to protect his young students from the wrath of the Nazis. But neither he nor Elisabeth expects their lives to be shaken once again by the inescapable rumble of war.
As Anton struggles to adapt to the roles of husband and father, he learns of the Red Orchestra, an underground network of resisters plotting to assassinate Hitler. Despite Elisabeth’s reservations, Anton joins this army of shadows. But when the SS discovers his schemes, Anton will embark on a final act of defiance that may cost him his life—even if it means saying goodbye to the family he has come to love more than he ever believed possible.
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About the Author
- Publisher : Lake Union Publishing (1 October 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1503902129
- ISBN-13 : 978-1503902121
- Item Weight : 340 g
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 2.54 x 20.96 cm
- Country of Origin : USA
- Best Sellers Rank: #658,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from other countries
This novel tells the tale of Josef Anton Starzmann and his experiences during the Second World War. Age 18 he joined a friary and became Brother Nazarius, a friar teaching children with both physical and mental health issues, whom have been abandoned by their families, to play musical instruments bringing them a whole new world to explore.
As the Nazi party gains power it starts to eradicate anyone it considers "life unworthy to live" under the T4 bill. The friars are forced to hand over the children in their care, Brother Nazarius tries to pursuade the soldiers not to take them, and learns a stark lesson as to why so many Germans appear to have forgotten their own humanity; if they don't follow orders it's their own families who will be rounded up and taken to the death camps or killed as an example to others.
The friary and school are disbanded and he's conscripted to the Wermacht, where his feelings of devastation and guilt over having been unable to save the children are increased, being asked to take people's lives and then witnessing the despicable acts of the soldiers, burning a church amongst other things, he manages to escape the Wermacht by overplaying an injury acquired while parachuting into his first battle.
Desperate to be of help to someone and to avoid being forced to kill against his beliefs and instincts he responds to an advertisement placed by a widow and mother of three, seeking a husband to help bring up and protect her children.
Inexperienced in the complexities of relationships he marries Elisabeth Herter 2 weeks after meeting her and we follow their family through the remaining years of the war.
Anton finds hope, friendship, love and support in the small close knit community Elisabeth lives in but not everyone believes that the great Nazi Party is wrong and Anton faces being reported and worse from the gauleiter Herr Franke but the tide is turning and Hitler's days are numbered. Will Anton and his family be able to make it without being taken by the SS?
The tale unfolds lyrically, I literally didn't stop reading until I had finished, the scenery, their emotions and the complexities they both face are brought to life with such clarity you can feel them, almost reach out and touch them.
The crowning glory of this is that Ms Hawker is married to Anton's grandson and it's based in fact. I hope that she will share more stories from her family history in time as they are captivating.
At the moment the world is on the brink of forgetting that everyone is equal... No race, creed or political group should forget the mistakes made in the name of the German people by the Nazi Party extremists and the overwhelming power they obtained through violence and fear... Love, acceptance and tolerance are the way forward... No one should ever have to live through this again.
This is a real testament to Olivia Hawker's writing skills, because Anton is a Catholic, an ex friar. My relationship with the Catholic church is cold at best, and I wouldn't normally read a book featuring a Catholic hero and a sympathetic priest. Ms Hawker managed to hook me within a page! So I had to go on reading in spite of my initial reluctance. And found that 'The Ragged Edge of Night' is just beautiful, so inspiring and full of love.
Page by page I was drawn further into the story and grew more and more worried about the fate of the characters, all suffering under the harsh rule of Hitler in Nazi Germany. The town of Unterboihingen is beautifully evoked and I couldn't face the thought that the terror would destroy this peaceful kindly place. No plot spoilers here, but I will say the last two sentences of 'The Ragged Edge of Night' are inspirational. Whatever happens there is always love.