Germany’s sparkling Rhineland is the perfect place for a fresh start . . .
Warming people’s hearts with true accounts of kindness is what columnist Anna Kelly does best. But no one knows the private misery she endures in her abusive marriage. Still, leaving is difficult—until a deeply personal bequest from a beloved elderly neighbor compels Anna to travel to Germany. There she begins an unexpected adventure of paying it forward that will take her far from her complicated life in Brooklyn.
Arriving in the historic and picturesque city of Mainz, on the breathtaking Rhine River, Anna settles in at a cozy guesthouse filled with colorful residents. But fulfilling her task will require the help of a translator and knowledgeable guide.
Josef Schmitt will gladly shuttle the American visitor around if it distracts him from his dark thoughts. Ever since a serious accident sidelined him at the local excursions company, he’s been unable to forget the pain he caused or forgive himself. Now, accompanying Anna on her mission takes them both to surprising places—and they just may find the courage to truly set themselves free . . .
Praise for Sharon Struth
“Struth has a gift for layering stories within stories while keeping them all connected.”
“Struth is an author to watch!”
—Laura Drake, author of RITA-award winner The Sweet Spot
“Sharon Struth writes a good story about love and loss. She knows her characters and has a path she wants them to take.”
—Eye on Romance
“The plot is refreshing and will definitely keep the reader turning page after page.”
Customer ReviewsSee All
Impressive Writing with a Story Meant to be Told!!
When I first read the book blurb, I knew I just had to read this book. Not only was this book written by one of my favorite authors, Mrs. Struth – as I had previously read, reviewed, and totally loved her book last year, Bella Luna – I felt an instant draw to this book.
This book is about Anna, who is getting away from an abusive marriage and is leaving the USA for a trip to Germany. Anna’s elderly neighbor, Isaak, also, helping to get Anna away from her abusive husband, had tasked her with a dying request to help him find the man who had long ago saved his family from the Nazi’s. Anna’s been looking for the perfect out and with Isaak’s help and him relying on her, she knows now is the time she must go.
Anna arrives in beautiful Mainz, Germany and quickly realizes she will need help getting around the city. Anna hires Josef to drive her around town and translate for her. After some interesting adventures and long hours together, Anna and Josef seem to hit it off. It seems obvious that Josef is also hiding some of his own past emotional demons, but that shared bond only brings them closer as these two characters find love, healing, and so much more in one another.
I really liked the main characters, Anna and Josef! They were realistic, genuine, and relatable. I really enjoyed watching these two characters develop a relationship. They both were severely emotionally damaged and were drowning in their grief and heartache. But the more time they spent together you could see a glimmer of light get through as they started to heal. They were good for each other. And isn’t that what we all want in a partner? Someone that makes us whole? Makes us a better person?
It is clear Mrs. Struth does not know how to write a boring, cookie-cutter character. She writes her characters with depth, that have emotional baggage, are dealing with real-life struggles, and are working on over-coming personal obstacles. She writes real-life characters that face real-world problems. Which is one of the reasons I love her books, because I know when I read it, I will be able to easily connect with the characters and possibly even grow with the characters in the story.
As someone who has personal experience with Domestic Violence, I appreciate books, like this one, that provide an honest insight into that world and even shine light on how walking away isn’t as easy as some people think. I appreciate that Anna’s and Patrick’s abusive relationship was not downplayed or sugar-coated. Also, that this book showed how Domestic Violence doesn’t just affect the couple – it also affects the family, friends, neighbors, and other loved ones.
I enjoyed the history lessons that were weaved throughout the book and learning more about WWII and the impact of the Nazi’s in Germany. There were some very sad stories that were hard to hear. It’s still unbelievable what happened there!
I loved the detailed scenes and beautiful descriptions of the landscape that made me feel like I was right there in the car with Anna and Josef overlooking the Rhine River! I have never been to Germany, but I think after reading this book it will definitely be on my travel bucket list!
Furthermore, I also enjoyed reading the passages with the German customs and traditions. It is clear, Mrs. Struth is familiar with German Culture and was able to add them into fun and interesting scenes while showing a strong knowledge of the area.
This book hits on so many topics such as friendship, love, romance, hope, faith, kindness, growth, healing, forgiveness, new beginnings, second chances, fresh starts, overcoming obstacles, support, determination, domestic violence, respect, compassion, integrity, and so much more.
This book is book three in the A Sweet Life Novel Book Series. However, it can be read as a standalone. I had not read the first two books before reading this book, however, as much as I’ve enjoyed reading this book I definitely wish I had.
I would absolutely recommend this book, this book series, and this author as I was truly impressed with the quality of writing, intriguing storylines, and excellent character development! I will definitely be checking out the other books in this series and other works by this author!
**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book and have voluntarily provided an honest, and unbiased review in accordance with FTC regulations.**