Ruins of Castle Hanstein near Bornhagen, Germany

Visiting the ruins of Hanstein takes us back to medieval times - Castle Hanstein near Bornhagen, Germany in 2012 More »

Vietnam War protestors demonstrate - Wichita, KS, 1967.

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Solingen, Germany after the bombing, November 1944. - Stadtarchiv Solingen

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My grandmother Grete with her sisters in the early 1920s in Germany.

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B17 Bomber above German Airfield in WWII

U.S. Bomber flies above German airfield in WWII. More »


Category Archives: time-travel

Castle – Burg Hanstein Revisited

brochure about reading from surviving the fatherland bookReading/presentation of ‘Surviving the Fatherland‘ at VHS Solingen on April 19, 2018 at 19:00. The story is based on my parents growing up during WWII in Solingen. I’ll be sharing selected passages from the book that relate to certain occurrences in the war in general and in Solingen in particular.

Please stay tuned for future readings as well as the German version of ‘Surviving the Fatherland.’

What: Reading/Presentation Surviving the Fatherland

When: April 19, 2018 at 7 pm

Where: VHS Solingen, Mummstr., Forum



medieval restaurant

Klausenhof Inn in Winter Sleep

When I visited Burg Hanstein the first time in 2012, I was so awed that it inspired me to write the time travel trilogy, Escape from the Past.

Last month we were nearby visiting friends and the former East-West German border and I had to make another stop. It was an icy and windy day with snowflakes drifting between the old stones. Living here in medieval times must have been so cold. And dark. But oh, it makes for a great story. Unfortunately, the Klausenhof Inn which plays an important role in the novels, was closed for winter break.

medieval castle ruins

Still Fused to the Rock: Wintry Castle Hanstein

The Hanstein descendants have been repairing parts of the outer wall of the keep and tower. It must cost a fortune to rebuild the 6 to 8-foot deep walls in reddish sandstone. By the way, I found another cellar off the large hall on the right where a few torture instruments, including a rack have been set up. I don’t believe Hanstein ever had a torture chamber, but it was a nice touch. Within the large hall on the main floor—from here you can access the only intact tower, courtesy of the East-German government—the history of Hanstein is presented along one wall.

medieval ruins

Kitchen at Castle Hanstein

Not much is told about the time, my nerdy protagonist, Max, arrives here in 1471. But Knight Werner is mentioned upstairs in one of the reconstructed rooms off the tower. That’s where I first read about him feuding with Duke Schwarzburg over a beautiful woman. In my story, that is Lady Clara.

If you love time-travel and the Middle Ages, check out the Escape from the Past trilogy. You won’t regret it. For me I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of visiting Hanstein.

medieval ruins

Pathway to the Inner Bailey











New Release and Great Reviews

Here are a few things that happened during the last week:

book cover surviving the fatherland by annette oppenlander‘Surviving the Fatherland’ Released 

On Bestseller List in Canada! 

Now an IWIC Hall of Fame Novel

You can now order the eBook or paperback directly without wait. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve seen a steady uptick in orders and it seems that Canadians are quite interested in the story. So, thank you, Canada! In fact, right now, SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND is in eleventh place on their bestseller list. I’ve kept the eBook price at a very affordable $0.99 so there is no reason to wait.

The First Reviews

I received an outstanding ***Five Star*** editorial review from International Writers Inspiring Change (IWIC). Here is an excerpt:

“It is difficult not to give this book, Surviving the Fatherland, by Annette Oppenlander, a five-star rating. Surviving the Fatherland is an historical fiction based on true events, the lives of those who survived World War II, during the war and then in post-war Germany…the story is not gruesome, but rather, it is a statement about the depth and strength of the human soul, and ultimately, really, of the love that drives people on in spite of all the reasons not to love. Highly recommended.” Read full review

cover image for Escape from the Past, book 3Midwest Book Review for ‘Escape from the Past: At Witches’ End’

“Annette Oppenlander has a genuine flair for original and compelling storytelling and as with the first two volumes, “At Witches’ End” will keep the readers rapt attention from cover to cover. Unfailingly entertaining from beginning to end, and also available in a Kindle format ($5.38), “At Witches’ End” is unreservedly recommended.” Also available in the Midwest Book Review March 2017 edition of Cowper’s Bookshelf.

book cover Escape from the Past written by Annette OppenlanderI’ve asked my publisher, Lodestone Books, to lower the eBook price of the first in the ESCAPE FROM THE PAST series to $2.99. I’m hoping this will create more interest in readers who don’t know me and who would like to try out the first in the time-travel adventure series. I absolutely adore Max, so I’m hoping my new readers will too.

Additional Background Information about ‘Surviving the Fatherland’ 

I will soon post more photos and information to go along with Surviving the Fatherland. I’m also contemplating a story about Wilhelm, Lilly’s father, who spent nine years in Russian gulags. The original manuscript contained three chapters detailing his experience. In order for me to write about his time, I’d read a number of books about life in a gulag. Unfortunately, these chapters did not make it into the published version. I plan to share some of this knowledge at some point soon.

Read the interview with International Writers Inspiring Change (IWIC) which also shows some original photos from the era.