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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Surviving the Fatherland by Annette Oppenlander

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Surviving the Fatherland
by Annette Oppenlander


GENRE: Historical Coming of age



Spanning thirteen years from 1940 to 1953, SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND tells the true and heart-wrenching stories of Lilly and G√ľnter struggling with the terror-filled reality of life in the Third Reich, each embarking on their own dangerous path toward survival, freedom, and ultimately each other. Based on the author’s own family and anchored in historical facts, this story celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the strength of war children.

SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND is a sweeping saga of family, love, and betrayal that illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the children's war.

My review :- Amazingly touching, vividly described and masterfully written, this book leaves a strong impact on you.The characters were deep,well developed and engaging  and the narrative poignantly written and entrancing. A definite 4 stars book that everyone must read


Lilly: May 1940

For me the war began, not with Hitler’s invasion of Poland, but with my father’s lie. I was seven at the time, a skinny thing with pigtails and bony knees, dressed in my mother’s lumpy hand-knitted sweaters, a girl who loved her father more than anything.

It was May of 1940, my favorite time of year when the air is filled with the smell of cut grass and lilacs, promising excursions to town and the cafes in the hilly land I called home.

Like any other weekend, my father came home that Friday carrying a heavy briefcase of folders. Only this time, he flung his case in the corner of the hallway like it was a bag of garbage. You have to understand. My father is a neat freak, a man who keeps himself and everything he touches in absolute order. And so even at seven—even before he said those fateful words—I knew something was different.

My father had been named after the German emperor, Wilhelm, and Mutti called him Willi, but to me he was always Vati.

Ignoring me, he hurried into the kitchen, his eyes bright with excitement. “I’ve been drafted.”

At the sink, Mutti abruptly dropped her sponge and stared at him. Her mouth opened, then closed without a sound.

I didn’t understand what he was talking about. I didn’t understand the meaning of a lie, yet I felt it even then. Like others detect an oncoming thunderstorm, pressure builds behind my forehead, a heaviness in my bones. There is something in the way the liar moves, his limbs hang stiffly on the body as if his soul cringes. His look at me is fleeting and there is something artificial in his voice.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

As a historical novelist Annette Oppenlander spends much of her time in archives and historic neighborhoods. When she isn’t studying the past, she shares her knowledge through writing workshops and indulges her old mutt, Mocha. In her spare time she travels around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories. The mother of three ‘former’ teens, Annette lives with her husband in Bloomington, Ind.

“Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes history come alive. When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no longer a date or number, it turns into a story.”

Pinterest: annoppenlander
Amazon Buy Link:



Annette Oppenlander will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC - a Rafflecopter giveaway...


  1. Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win.

  2. Hello, I'm glad to be here today. I got a bit delayed - my hubby had a nasty bicycle accident and broke 3 ribs. I'd be happy to answer your questions about this novel that took me 15 years to write and is based on my parents growing up as war children.

  3. Great review, sounds like a book I'll enjoy. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. I enjoyed the excerpt, thank you.

  5. Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt. :)

  6. Thank You for the great excerpt.

  7. I'm very interested in this book. I'm trying to write my own WWII historical fiction book. My question to you, is whether you felt bogged down at times by the need for historical accuracy? It's a huge concern of mine! Thanks for the tour/book stop!

    1. Hi Kim,
      Congratulations to writing a WWII story! Yes, feeling bogged down can happen easily. I have files and files of data and historical descriptions. Some made it into the book, some didn't. I read three books on Russian gulags because my grandfather, the protagonist's father, spent 9 years in one. None of the gulag information made it into the novel.

      I think the best advice I can give is to stick with the story. Write your story, make it exciting, make it deep and emotional. If you've researched the historical era ahead of time, much of what you read will flow into your narrative automatically. That's how the subconscious works. Best of luck! It sure was a fascinating time.

  8. Thank you for introducing me to this book, it sounds like something I'd really enjoy reading!

  9. Hope you are having a fabulous weekend!!