In the days leading up to WWI, Klare, an eighteen-year-old German-Jewish girl, has a big decision to make. Jakob Kohler, a young Jewish attorney, wants to marry her before he goes off to fight. Klare likes him. He has good prospects, but she's unsure whether she loves him. In the pressure of a country going to war, Klare agrees to the wedding and soon finds herself a housewife and mother.
The novel follows Klare's story from her marriage before WWI through the horrors of WWII and beyond. The book is well researched and paints a realistic picture of the fate of German-Jews before, during and after the two world wars. The experiences of the author's family, which form the basis of the narrative, add realistic detail.
The book is worth reading to get the flavor of the life of an average person during the wars. However, the narrative moves very slowly. In some ways, Klare is a compelling character for the bravery with which she faces the privations and discrimination of war. However, she is a very average person. Circumstances drive her. She shows ingenuity in dealing with some of the worst problems of WWII, however, she does it in a quiet way. If you want excitement and fast-paced action, this is not a book you'll enjoy. If you're interested in life in Germany during and after the wars, thebook is well done.
I reviewed this book for PR by the Book.