Stephen Robbins, the alcoholic manager of the Mountain Park Hotel in Hot Springs, North Carolina, has a new responsibility. His hotel has become an interment camp for German merchant marine officers and men whose ship was unable to get away from the US before war was declared.
The officers and men are allowed freedom to conduct classes and build a replica of a German village. After the first attempted escape, Stephen manages to keep things relatively calm in spite of his cousin Roy, the local sheriff. He and Roy have been enemies for a long time.
Add to the mix, a well known photographer, Anna Ulmann, who arrives to take pictures of the Germans. Stephen tries to resist her charms, but as pressure mounts on the camp, they become partners and a romance ensues.
The descriptions in this book are wonderful. I believe the author loves the North Carolina area. He uses the background perfectly to support the story.
Stephen is a well drawn character. He struggles against loneliness and alcoholism. Being very intelligent, he is different from the backwoods characters that are part of the background in the mountains.
The book is well written. The prose draws you in to the story and paints a vivid picture of this little known segment of American history.
I received this book from Turner Publishing for this review.