Brought to you by OBS reviewer Daniele
In a Time of War, Love is the Inspiration.
With her brothers away fighting the Great War overseas, Livy Campbell desperately wants to help her family. Her chance comes when she meets a handsome stranger who lands her a job as a teacher in a place far from her parents’ farm. But the war casts a long shadow over the German-American town that Livy now calls home—and the darkness will test everything she thought she knew about family and love . . .
More than anything, Friedrick Wagner wants to be part of his adopted country’s struggle for peace. But when the bitter animosity between Germans and Americans soon turns citizens against newcomers, friend against friend, he will do whatever it takes to protect Livy from the hysteria that grips their town. As tragedy—and dark secrets from the past—threaten their future, Friedrick and Livy have one chance to stand up for what’s right . . . and one chance to fight for their love. (Goodreads)
Livy put her dreams of being a teacher on hold when she leaves college to help her parents with the family farm. Her older brothers are overseas fighting in World War I. She feels a little stifled by her circumstances, so when she hears of a teaching position in a nearby town she jumps at the chance. She quickly finds herself in uncharted waters as she embarks to teach German-American children in a town with a large German-American population. These citizens face prejudice every day. They are not allowed to speak their native language in public. Their businesses are marked and left to flounder without customers. Their loyalty and patriotism is constantly questioned, and they are abused and bullied by the local mob under the guise of the “vigilance committee”. Livy feels both sides of the discrimination, and she must be very careful what she says and does lest she be branded a German sympathizer. Friedrich is the right age to be a soldier, but he has a farm deferment from the military in order to care for his dying father and family. He struggles with guilt, feeling he is not doing his part in the war effort. He quickly falls for Livy, and when she nurses him back to health from the Spanish Flu they develop a bond beyond friendship. Thus the stage is set for an against-all-odds romance.
Ms. Henrie does an excellent job of weaving historically accurate facts with fiction. It is obvious that she did extensive research on World War I and the atmosphere in America in 1918. She tackles an often overlooked perspective of the era. I found the story fascinating and engaging and could not help but think of my own family history as I read (my great-grandmother died of the Spanish flu during the epidemic of 1918, and I married into a German-American family). This is an inspirational romance, but it did not come across as preachy, and everything was not perfect and easy for the characters. After Friedrich and Livy’s initial fumbling, the romance is sweet, if a bit predictable. Friedrich makes an honorable hero but one with flaws of his own. They seem like people I would like to get to know.
I recommend Hope at Dawn to fans of Christian romance, but more for those interested in a different take on World War I.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*