(Review) My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love by Amanda Barratt

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Publisher and Publication Date: Kregel. June 9, 2019.
Genre: Historical fiction. World War II. Germany.
Pages: 360.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Kregel, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Audience: Readers of World War II history. Readers who want to understand civilian life in Germany during World War II. Bonhoeffer readers.
Rating: Good.

Amazon

The edition I reviewed is an ebook copy through NetGalley.

It’s important to note this book is based on the historical research on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This book is a work of fiction. It is not a biography. The thoughts and dialogue of Bonhoeffer is what the author has fictionalized.

Summary:
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Protestant theologian, pastor, and writer. He was born in 1906 and died in 1945.
My Dearest Dietrich focuses on the period of time Dietrich was involved in an action against Hitler. As the war progressed, and as the brutalities against the Jews escalated, and Dietrich was silenced by the Nazi regime, Dietrich became apart of a plot against Hitler. During this period of involvement against Hitler, Bonhoeffer became romantically involved with a young woman named Maria von Wedemeyer.

Further links of interest:
Britannica
Biography Online
Holocaust Encyclopedia
“Bonhoeffer in Love”/Christianity Today.
In the above article from Christianity Today, they allow a snippet to be read (they want subscribers only.)

List of books by or about Bonhoeffer on Amazon.
For a biography of Bonhoeffer, please read Eric Metaxas’s book. It is 608 pages. Link for book at Amazon.

My Thoughts:
•I have read several books about people who no longer live that have been fictionalized. No one but that person knows what they think and feel unless they communicate these things and someone writes them down verbatim as acknowledged truth. Private conversations between lovers are rarely passed on to other people because they are of a private nature. I state all of this to address the first point I have on this book. It is an educated guess as to what Bonhoeffer and Wedemeyer spoke about and felt. A huge help is from the book, Love Letters from Cell 92. I have not read this book, but it is the correspondence between them. These letters give a glimpse of their feelings and relationship, but do not give the totality. People may read My Dearest Dietrich and forget it is historical fiction.
•From what I’ve read about Dietrich, he was a reserved and private man. My Dearest Dietrich gives a solid view of those personality qualities. Maria was similar in temperament. When both of the main characters are reserved type people the book can be humdrum. Their personalities compliment one another and go together well, but to read about their relationship it is not as interesting.
•What I enjoyed reading is Bonhoeffer’s commitment, perseverance, and sacrifice to stop Hitler at all cost. This is the passion that is big in the book. Yes, I believe he loved Maria and was committed to her. The big story is his involvement in the plot and sacrifices made to thwart the Nazi regime.

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(Review) The Good At Heart by Ursula Werner

The Good at Heart

Publisher and Publication Date: Touchstone. February 21, 2017.
Genre: Historical fiction, World War II, family, Germany.
Pages: 320.
Source: Complimentary hardcover copy from Touchstone. I was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Very good.

Amazon

Ursula Werner’s website. Please scroll down at Werner’s website to read a tribute to her great-grandfather, and the reason behind writing The Good at Heart.

Summary:
Oskar and Edith Eberhardt had built a vacation dream home in the town of Blumental, Germany. Their home has a lovely view of the Alps of Switzerland. During the war, they relocated to this home in order to move away from Berlin. Their daughter, Marina, and her three daughters live with them. Oskar is apart of Hitler’s cabinet. He is away from home often. Marina’s husband, Franz, is in Hitler’s army. Marina hates Hitler and Nazism. Despite her husband being in the military and her father’s work, Marina became involved with helping Jewish people escape. Marina also has a lover who is involved in the Nazi government. Marina helps shelter Jews until they can move to the next safe place. During the arrival of one of her “packages,” Hitler came to visit her parents home.

The story’s timeline is over a three day period: July 18, 19, and 20, 1944.

My Thoughts:
I loved the story taking place over a three day period. By slowing down the timeline of days, the story had a pace I could keep up with, and understand the details of each day.
When the story began, I had no idea the attention each character would have in the story. One of Marina’s daughters has a strong role. She is a child, but the full scope of her purpose will become apparent at conclusion.
Marina and her father, Oskar, are at enmity. However, Oskar is adored by his wife and grandchildren. He is a quiet man. There is a gentle quality in his personality. This is a sharp comparison to his role alongside Hitler.
Marina is a sad character. She represents women who married the wrong person. I don’t know how else to express this predicament she’s in. She did not marry the person she loved, but the person who was available…she settled. I watched her story unfold. On one hand, she could have stayed at home and cared for her daughters in quiet duty and stoicism. Instead, she joined a movement to rescue the oppressed. This task took her out of her melancholy life and gave a new focus.
At times, I thought Edith was thin-skinned and unready for her new situation away from her beloved Oskar. But, her character showed me differently.
The Good At Heart is a very good character study. I loved this aspect more than the story itself. The story is good, but watching the characters move through the three hard days was the reason I could not lay the book down.