Based on real events in Germany, this vividly told and deeply moving novel tells of one woman's love for a fellow artist, her struggle to survive the war and her desperation to keep alive the spirit of creativity.
Most novels about the Nazi period portray Germans as the perpetrators of war and genocide. This work provides an authentic insight into how ordinary Germans - distinguished only by their artistic skill - suffered under Nazi rule and the catastrophe of war.
Based on letters, documents, interviews and on-the-ground research in Germany and Poland, the novel follows a young aspiring writer, Maria Scholz, from the time she arrives in Berlin in 1933 and meets sculptor Hermann Blumenthal. They were to become key members of a community of artists at the heart of Hitler's Berlin, part of an inner circle passively opposed to the Nazi regime and who were presecuted or declared 'degenerate'.
This gripping narrative describes how they tried to keep alive free-spirited creativity, and the values of a universal humanity, amid growing terror of a police state, and it explores the tragedy that befell Maria as war brought the fire-bombing of Berlin and the Russian invasion.
'Temple's command of the subject is exemplary. History with a heart . . . featuring real people with whom we can identify and bleed.' - Otago Daily Times