WWII historical fiction lovers! I have a new review for you today. Enjoy!
The Lost Mother by Catherine Hokin
She looked at the empty cradle where her baby had been. Her heart felt tattered and empty, like the hollow streets of Berlin after its people began to live in fear.
Berlin, 1934. Homes once filled with laughter stand empty as the Nazi party’s grip on the city tightens. When Anna Tiegel’s beautiful best friend catches Reich Minister Goebbels’ special attention, an impulsive act to save her brings Anna under his unforgiving scrutiny. First, she loses her job, then slowly, mercilessly, she finds her life stripped away. After her father is killed by the Nazis, Anna’s final hope is to escape to America with her boyfriend Eddy, but when she reaches his apartment on the agreed date, she finds it deserted. Alone and pregnant, the future feels terrifying, but she must try to protect the life inside her.
Rhode Island, 1957. Peggy Bailey stares in shock at the faded photograph of two laughing women which her beloved adoptive mother struggled to pass on to her before she died, whispering ‘It was inside your baby blanket when we brought you home’. As Peggy continues to stare, she realises that she has seen one of the girls before, in the most unlikely of places… Bursting at the realisation, she embarks on a mission which takes her across America to find the truth behind her heritage. Nothing, however, could prepare her for the tragic story her actions uncover…
A poignant and beautiful World War Two story about survival and a mother’s enduring search for her child against all the odds. A heart-breaking read for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, We Were the Lucky Ones and The Alice Network.
I’ve read a lot of WWII historical fiction at this point so with each new book I read, I try to pick out something I hadn’t come encountered previously In this case, it was interesting to learn how Germans were treated in America during the war. And, although it makes perfect sense, I wasn’t aware of Nazi party support groups set up in other countries. I really enjoyed delving into that aspect of the war.
However, I was disappointed that it took a large chunk of the book for me to find a more unique story. Although everything previous allowed me to get a good feel for the characters, I felt the chapters set in Berlin went too much into explaining the war. There wasn’t any new perspective and some sections rattled off too much like a school history book for me.
As a character, I loved what Anna brought to the table. I built up such empathy towards her that didn’t falter throughout the course of the book. Through her character, the reader got a sense of the people who tried to stand up against the regime and those that were forced into situations they didn’t agree with. On the flip side to that was Marika, Anna’s best friend, who represented those that made choices against their morals if those choices suited their own selfish purpose at the time. While the book didn’t go extremely deep into these areas, they were a welcome addition.
Peggy serves as another main character in The Lost Mother. I actually enjoyed Peggy’s story the most. While the story of finding a birth mother is not necessarily new, I enjoyed following her search, coupled with her desire to become a journalist. Actually, I was disappointed that Peggy’s story suffers a big pause in the book to focus on Anna. Of course this was necessary to the plot, but it stunted my reading flow to be dragged away from a character I was enjoying.
Overall, I enjoyed The Lost Mother. It has some different elements to other books I’ve read based during WWII, and I was appreciative that the main focus wasn’t a love story.
If you are interested in reading The Lost Mother, you can pick up a copy of the book here.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.