By April 1916, the fervor that accompanied war’s outbreak has
faded. In its place is a grim reality. Throughout Germany, essentials
are rationed. Hope, too, is in short supply. Anna Zeller, whose fiancé,
Bruno, is fighting on the western front, works as a nurse at an
overcrowded hospital in Oldenburg, trying to comfort men broken in body
and spirit. But during a visit from Dr. Stalling, the director of the
Red Cross Ambulance Dogs Association, she witnesses a rare spark of
optimism: as a German shepherd guides a battle-blinded soldier over a
garden path, Dr. Stalling is inspired with an idea—to train dogs as
companions for sightless veterans.
Anna convinces Dr. Stalling to let her work at his new guide dog training school. Some of the dogs that arrive are themselves veterans of war, including Nia, a German shepherd with trench-damaged paws. Anna brings the ailing Nia home and secretly tends and trains her, convinced she may yet be the perfect guide for the right soldier. In Max Benesch, a Jewish soldier blinded by chlorine gas at the front, Nia finds her person.
War has taken Max’s sight, his fiancée, and his hopes of being a composer. Yet despite all he’s given for his country, the tide of anti-Semitism at home is rising, and Max encounters it first-hand in one of the school’s trainers, who is determined to make Max fail. Still, through Anna’s prompting, he rediscovers his passion for music. But as Anna discovers more about the conflict’s escalating brutality—and Bruno’s role in it—she realizes how impossible it will be for any of them to escape the war unscathed.
About The Author
Most of this story takes place in the German Empire, and we are walking with Nurse/Trainer Anna Zeller, and fate puts her with severely injured and blinded gifted Max Benesch.
This was a page turner, I was so involved in what was happening, and how it would all turn out, and the author does a great job of bring this read to a conclusion.
You might want the tissues handy! In the end who really wins in war?
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Kensington, and was not required to give a positive review.