My rating: 3 of 5
ebook, 384 pages
Religious Fiction, Historical Romance
Published June 24th 2014 by Forever
Available on: Paperback
What they say:
A heartfelt World War I romance with inspirational elements. Readers will fall in love with Henrie’s emotional and engaging OF LOVE AND WAR series. – Amazon.com
What I have to say:
Note to publishers: Had I known this was Religious fiction, I wouldn’t have read it, as religious books are tricky to review. I was misled to think it was a purely historical fiction book. I have nothing against religion but this book lost a star in my rating because the blurb didn’t disclose the story as containing religious content/message.
I was attracted to this book by its cover. The color palette is so simple, yet beautiful and soothing. The feminine image immediately takes you back in time, and gives you the idea of a romantic story. It is a pretty cover, a little romance-generic to some, but pretty and appealing to the female audience.
Hope at Dawn is the first book in the Of Love and War series by Stacy Henrie. It tells the love story of Livy and Friedrick, set during World War I, in Hilden, a fictional town in the Midwest. Having read other stories set during this time period, I was gladly surprised to discover new historical facts about events I hadn’t read before.
Livy is an American young woman, who is suffering the consequences of the Great War. Her brothers left home to join the army. Her fiancé came back from the front wounded in body and soul. In order to help her family survive the hard times, she gets a job as a school teacher in a German-American town in which many unexpected life-changing surprises await her.
Friedrick is an American young man, of German descent, who lives with his parents. He isn’t serving at war, because his father is terribly sick, and his family depends on his hard work at their farm.
When I started reading the book, I felt like it all happened in the first 2 chapters. Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, they like each other but discover differences that awaken mutual hate. But love is too powerful to keep them apart. I thought it was too early for the love story to happen but I was gladly surprised by the series of events that happened next, which made this book about so much more than love and romance.
As the story unfolds, you read about the historical facts of what German-Americans suffered in America during WWI. I wasn’t aware of them. Persecution, discrimination, prejudice, violence, coercion to buy liberty bonds, arrest, prison sentencing, banning of the German language, homes and buildings painted yellow, and tar and feathering were some of the unfortunate series of events that occurred during that period.
I can’t say who suffered the most. Even though they come from very different backgrounds, their characters are so similar in the struggles they both face. Friedrick suffered the prejudice and discrimination from the Americans. His loyalty was questioned and at the same time, his heritage made him a perfect target for the cruel measures against the “people of his kind”. He also suffered discrimination from his fellow German-Americans for falling in love with an American.
Livy had some prejudice issues of her own. She also faced discrimination from both sides: the Americans who judged her for falling in love with a “Boche” and from the German-Americans who didn’t want her influence on their children.
The love story was cute and innocent. I understand the religious fiction nature of the book made it that way. It felt like Liv and Friedrick were too predictably perfect for each other. I would’ve liked a bit more passion in it, so it could sweep me off my hopeless romantic feet. I don’t mean sex, but the story lacked that special thing that the famous epic love stories of all times have that makes readers sigh and feel all the emotions.
Hope at Dawn is an endearing story of hope. Yes, it is predictable but entertaining to read. Despite the tough nature of the events portrayed, it is a light read. To me it felt like an episode from shows like Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables or Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.
Hope at Dawn is a fast paced weekend read. It is a perfect companion for a rainy afternoon and a cup of chocolate. If you are of German-American decent, you might enjoy reading this book and learn a bit more about your heritage. If you like historical love stories set during WWI, this is the book for you.
If you like religious fiction you will enjoy this book. If you like to read love stories that can stand the test of prejudice and discrimination this is the book for you. This can be also an enjoyable book club read; many interesting discussions about race and love can arise from this.
“Standing for the truth will always come at a price, Friedrick, whether it is being bold and sure or silent and strong. Neither one is easy.”
I could relate to Livy when I read this paragraph. I think we all can as we are all looking for our place in the world. Don’t you think?
While the other girls her age had married or gone off to college, Livy had waited behind, hoping for her turn at traveling or love. When she was on her own at last and enjoying school, she’d had to leave. When she had finally secured Robert’s attentions, she’d realized the hollowness of their relationship. Where did she belong? She folded her arms against the crushing weight of the question. She certainly didn’t belong at home anymore, not at the age of twenty and with her older brothers gone. Not with Robert. Not at college. Would she find the sense of belonging she craved here in Hilden, with her students?
- dredged verb. T
- aloofness noun. T aloof,
- gumption noun. C
- chagrin noun. A
- falderal noun. M
All definitions via Dictionary.com