What would you risk for a complete stranger?
When widow Milly Sanger finds injured enemy pilot Lukas Schiller on her farm, the distant war is suddenly at her doorstep. Compassionate Milly knows he’ll be killed if discovered and makes the dangerous decision to offer him shelter from the storm.
On opposite sides of the inescapable conflict, the two strangers forge an unexpected and passionate bond. But as the snow thaws, the relentless fury of World War Two forces them apart, leaving only the haunting memories of what they shared, and an understanding that their secret must never see light.
As Milly’s dangerous act of kindness sets them on paths they never could have expected, those closest to them become their greatest threats, and the consequences of compassion prove deadly…
I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return or an honest review.
An interesting historical fiction book set in WW2, England. The fear of invasion is on everyone’s minds at this time and the fate a German airman crashing to earth if he survives is understandably precarious.
Milly, guilt-ridden over the death of her husband, doesn’t want to help but she sees a fellow human in need of care and lets her humanity rule her head. What follows, is intense, suspenseful and ultimately heartbreaking for the young woman, but the threat of repercussions last for the duration of the war.
The forbidden romance aspect of this story is poignant and sensual. Milly acts from the heart and out of loneliness but also with courage. Lukas wants to fly, but he doesn’t understand the consequences of his youthful choice for many years.
The story spans five years of war and explores what it is like for the rural communities trying to feed Britain, the Londoners bombed and the children evacuated to the relative safety of the countryside. Military intelligence, prisoners of war camps and Britain’s population’s perception of the war, Germans and those who helped them is an important theme of this book.
The bond between Lukas and Milly connects all events in the story, it affects both their lives and happiness in unforeseen ways. They are complex and in many respects tragic characters. Like all the characters in this story, they are authentic and allow the reader to glimpse what Britain at war was like.
The plot is detailed and spans many Britain at war themes. The historical information and imagery make the characters’ actions and motives realistic and the story engages the reader’s emotions as they turn the pages.
My only criticism is that I find it a little slow in parts, but it is an enjoyable yet heartbreaking read. The ending implies rather than shows hope for the future and it is beautifully written.