Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner ~ My Thoughts #TheLastYearOfTheWar #TallPoppyWriter #NetGalley


The Last Year of the War

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner
Print and e-book, 400 pages
Expected publication: March 19th 2019 by Berkley

From the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and As Bright as Heaven comes a novel about a German American teenager whose life changes forever when her immigrant family is sent to an internment camp during World War II.

Elise Sontag is a typical Iowa fourteen-year-old in 1943--aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity.

The only thing that makes the camp bearable is meeting fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, whose friendship empowers Elise to believe the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Together in the desert wilderness, Elise and Mariko hold tight the dream of being young American women with a future beyond the fences.

But when the Sontag family is exchanged for American prisoners behind enemy lines in Germany, Elise will face head-on the person the war desires to make of her. In that devastating crucible she must discover if she has the will to rise above prejudice and hatred and re-claim her own destiny, or disappear into the image others have cast upon her.

The Last Year of the War tells a little-known story of World War II with great resonance for our own times and challenges the very notion of who we are when who we’ve always been is called into question.

My thoughts about The Last Year of the War ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first lines.)

First line—"I've a thief to thank for finding the one person I need to see before I die."

The Last Year of the War is an amazing story which taught me a bit about US history that I knew little or nothing about. I knew of the Japanese people being moved to internment camps during the war but was unaware that Germans were as well. Susan takes that bit of history and weaves a beautiful tale of two girls from different backgrounds, who become life-long friends while living in the camp.

Circumstances pulled them in different directions but the friendship bond remained even though they didn't see or hear from each other for years. Life was hard for Elise and Mariko as they grew into womanhood, surviving the war the best way that they could.

This is a wonderful story—a story that was kind of hard to read sometimes as their lives got hard. This tale drew me in from the very start as I fell in love with these two girls and as I watched their friendship and lives unfold.

About the Author

Susan Meissner

Susan Meissner was born in San Diego, California, the second of three. She spent her childhood in just two houses.

Her first writings are a laughable collection of oddly worded poems and predictable stories she wrote when she was eight.

She attended Point Loma College in San Diego, and married her husband, Bob, who is now an associate pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves, in 1980. When she is not working on a new novel, she is directing the small groups ministries at The Church at Rancho Bernardo. She also enjoy teaching workshops on writing and dream-following, spending time with my family, music, reading great books, and traveling. ~ Goodreads

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