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 »

 

Crowned Heart Review for ‘Surviving the Fatherland’ by InD’tale Magazine

I’m very happy to announce that ‘Surviving the Fatherland’ received a 5-star rating and coveted ‘Crowned Heart Review’ from InD’tale Magazine.

Here is what they said:

cover for surviving the fatherland with BGS gold seal of approvalLilly and Gunter are seven and twelve when WWII begins.  In this remarkable true story, these children are faced with the atrocities of war and daily survival, yet somehow, they miraculously maintain their humanity through preserving hope, kindness, and love.  As the war comes to an end their suffering is far from over.  Lilly and Gunter, along with all of Germany, struggle to repair their homes, hearts, and minds.  Even amidst the chaos and hate, Lilly and Gunter show us that love is still a force that can always prevail over the greatest of evils!

a young couple standing in a garden

Lilly & Günter

Ms. Oppenlander’s vivid writing style sweeps us away to 1940s Germany and takes us through a thirteen-year time span including post-war recovery.  This story, written in a first-person memoir style alternating between Lilly and Gunter, is immediately gripping, with characters so lively, the reader is engaged from beginning to end.

Often historical memoir can be stagnant with wandering scenes devoid of purpose.  Contrarily, Ms. Oppenlander is a master at seamlessly weaving historical context into the plot. The reader is given a clear picture of the broad events, while simultaneously holding one in constant suspense through character interaction.  Ms. Oppenlander writes in a sensitive manner, but readers should be warned there are near-skirmish rape and mob violence scenes, which might pose as slightly disturbing to some readers.  This book needs to join the ranks of the classic survivor stories of WWII such as “Diary of Anne Frank” and “Man’s Search for Meaning”.  It is truly that amazing!