A deeply moving and masterfully written story of human resilience and enduring love, The Plum Tree follows a young German woman through the chaos of World War II and its aftermath.
“Bloom where you’re planted,” is the advice Christine Bölz receives from her beloved Oma. But seventeen-year-old domestic Christine knows there is a whole world waiting beyond her small German village. It’s a world she’s begun to glimpse through music, books—and through Isaac Bauerman, the cultured son of the wealthy Jewish family she works for.
Yet the future she and Isaac dream of sharing faces greater challenges than their difference in stations. In the fall of 1938, Germany is changing rapidly under Hitler’s regime. Anti-Jewish posters are everywhere, dissenting talk is silenced, and a new law forbids Christine from returning to her job—and from having any relationship with Isaac. In the months and years that follow, Christine will confront the Gestapo’s wrath and the horrors of Dachau, desperate to be with the man she loves, to survive—and finally, to speak out.
“Wiseman eschews the genre’s usual military conflicts of daily life during wartime, lending an intimate and compelling poignancy to this intriguing debut.”
“Ellen Marie Wiseman weaves a story of intrigue, terror, and love from a perspective not often seen in Holocaust novels.”
—Jewish Book World
Christine B lz 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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Having visited Dachau I was looking for a book that would take me back in time to understand how life was like then. This book did that for me in a way that brought family, love, and the awful experiences of war and the Holocaust together.
Invention of Wings
Grabs you from the first page and doesn't let go!! I've read many books on the holocost but never from the perspective of the German citizens. Gives you a whole new insight!! Very good book!!! I learned a lot!!
The Plum Tree
This is a wonderful story about a terrible time in history and a time that should never be forgotten...