Christine Bölz is living in a German village at the beginning of the Third Reich, where she and her family work as domestics for the Jewish Bauermans. Although from disparate backgrounds, a spark ignites between the teenage Christine and young Isaac Bauerman. When Isaac is arrested and taken to Dachau, Christine is left behind to sort through conflicting notions of loyalty, love, and nationality. She begins to follow the Jewish prisoners being marched to Dachau, sneaking them food, yet always keeping her distance from the German guards, not wanting “them to think that, just because she was a citizen of this nation run by madmen, she too was a Jew hater. ” Christine helps Isaac make a daring escape, and hides him for some time in her family’s attic, but he is eventually found and sent back, along with Christine, to Dachau. Stories of WWII rarely look at the lives of the average German; Wiseman eschews the genre’s usual military conflicts in favor of the slow, inexorable pressure of daily life during wartime, lending an intimate and compelling poignancy to this intriguing debut.
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This book by David Graham Phillips is not about Germany...which is The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman.