Motherland is inspired by stories from the author’s father and his German childhood, and letters between her grandparents that were hidden in an attic wall for fifty years. It is the author’s attempt to reckon with the paradox of her fathera product of her grandparents’ fiercely protective love and their status as Mitläufer, Germans who went along” with Nazism, first reaping its benefits and later its consequences.
This page-turning novel focuses on the Kappus family: Frank is a reconstructive surgeon who lost his beloved wife in childbirth and two months later married a young woman who must look after the baby and his two grieving sons when he is drafted into medical military service. Alone in the house, Liesl must attempt to keep the children fed with dwindling food supplies, safe from the constant Allied air attacks, and protected against the swell of desperate refugees flooding their town. When one child begins to mentally unravel, Liesl must discover the source of the boy’s infirmity or lose him forever to Hadamar, the infamous hospital for unfit” children. The novel bears witness to the shame and courage of Third Reich families during the devastating last days of the war, as each family member’s fateful choices lead them deeper into questions of complicity and innocence, to the novel’s heartbreaking and unforgettable conclusion.
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Good book. A view from the "other side" shows the terrible amount of suffering the German people lived through. War is hell for all, solders and civilians. Might we all learn from this.
This book started out annoying me with its overly expressive narrative in almost every paragraph. I prefer a more direct, straight forward description of an event or situation. But as Ms Hummel began to develop and grow her characters, I began to be less critical of her style and to appreciate her characters and the very difficult life they were forced to accept at almost every turn. It was hard to see much joy that her characters experienced. But Leisl expressed her love for 3 little boys with such selflessness and honesty. I loved her the best. What a huge adjustment she made immediately upon agreeing to marry a recently widowed Dr. I would have liked to have seen if their lives after the war improved and if Frank went back to being a Dr.
Loved this book, it really came to life. WWII historical fiction is one of my favorite types of reading and I've never read from the German perspective. I loved the authors' style as well, I will be looking for another book of hers to read.