Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Good at Heart: A Novel by Ursula Werner

Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this stunning debut novel takes place over three days when World War II comes to the doorstep of an ordinary German family living in an idyllic, rural village near the Swiss border.

When World War II breaks out, Edith and Oskar Eberhardt move their family—their daughter, Marina; son-in-law, Franz; and their granddaughters—out of Berlin and into a small house in the quiet town of Blumental, near Switzerland. A member of Hitler’s cabinet, Oskar is gone most of the time, and Franz begins fighting in the war, so the women of the house are left to their quiet lives in the picturesque village.

But life in Blumental isn’t as idyllic as it appears. An egotistical Nazi captain terrorizes the citizens he’s assigned to protect. Neighbors spy on each other. Some mysteriously disappear. Marina has a lover who also has close ties to her family and the government. Thinking none of them share her hatred of the Reich, she joins a Protestant priest smuggling Jewish refugees over the nearby Swiss border. The latest “package” is two Polish girls who’ve lost the rest of their family, and against her better judgment, Marina finds she must hide them in the Eberhardt’s cellar. Everything is set to go smoothly until Oskar comes home with the news that the Führer will be visiting the area for a concert, and he will be making a house call on the Eberhardts.

Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this extraordinary debut, full of love, tragedy, and suspense, is a sensitive portrait of a family torn between doing their duty for their country and doing what’s right for their country, and especially for those they love.


About The Author

Ursula Werner is a writer and attorney currently living in Washington D.C. with her family. Born in Germany and raised in South Florida, she has engaged in creative writing while practicing law part time, publishing two books of poetry, In the Silence of the Woodruff (2006) and Rapunzel Revisited (2010). The Good at Heart is her first novel.

My Review

I love stories that are based on fact, and this one did not let me down, from the first page forward we get an in-depth look at the lives of the Eberhardt family, and the parts they played in WWII over a two-day period.
Made me think how I would feel if my father was involved with something that I detested, and then deciding to go him against by helping others. We are in a small village in Germany in 1944 and the family has just found out they are to serve the Furhur or Emperor as he is also know, at a coffee, he doesn’t like tea, that is English.
We see jealousy, greed, and pure hate, and yet life must go on, and at what costs, and what can be done? Things are not always as we perceive, and that is exactly what those that are looking to help hope.
I found myself right there in this picturesque setting, with so much evil surrounding and it, and yet they are not untouched by what is happening. We see those who cannot stand the atrocities, and others who love that they are benefiting, yes sad.
We should not forget what happened here, and this puts faces on a place far away from where we live. Should be a mandated read.
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Touchstone, and was not required to give a positive review.


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