It is the autumn of 1943, and Karin Graeber is keenly aware of the uneasy tide of change swirling around her. She is not alone—in wartime Berlin, it seems that everyone has been swept up in the frightening transformation of their city. No more than a child, Karin is far too young to understand the Nazi presence or the drone of air-raid sirens or the absence of her beloved Pappa, a soldier in the German army. But when a bomb destroys their home, Karin is forced to grow up far too soon as her family joins the tens of thousands displaced in the raids on the city. Relying on their faith as Latter-day Saints, Karin and her family begin a journey that will prove the indomitable strength of the human spirit.
What follows is the sweeping narrative of one young girl's journey through war and beyond—from her childlike observations of World War II in Germany to her changing view of the world as she grows up in a land divided by war. Now, driven by starvation and the perilous existence of refugees, Karin and her family must draw upon a deep reservoir of strength and faith to sustain them through the harrowing escape ahead . . .
This book is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. I've read a few novels about World War II - some of them dealing with people who were trapped in East Germany, but this book really hit home to me, knowing that it is based on a true story. The book starts out with Karin and her family dealing with frequent bombing by the Allies. It shocked me to find out that they thought of the Allies as their enemies. I have never thought about what the innocent people of Germany felt when their country was being bombarded during the war. War is horrible. Necessary sometimes, but still horrible.
As the book continues, we learn more about the struggles that Karin and her family lived through. Extreme poverty, having to hide every night from Russian soldiers, never having enough food. I got choked up more than once reading this book. What amazed me though, is that through it all, Karin did her best to not get too discouraged, and to keep a smile on her face. The faith that this girl had - even at just 6 years old - warms my heart.
*July 18th: http://bonnieharris.blogspot.com/
*July 21st: http://www.rockinbookreviews.com/