'It was a lazy summer afternoon as Beata Wittgenstein strolled along the shores of Lake Geneva with her parents. The sun was hot and the air still, and as she walked pensively behind them, the birds and insects were making a tremendous racket. Beata and her younger sister Brigitte had come to Geneva with their mother for the summer. Beata had just turned twenty, and her sister was three years younger. It had been thirteen months since the Great War had begun the previous summer, and this year her father had wanted them out of Germany for their holiday. It was late August 1915, and he had just spent a month there with was them. Both of her brothers were in the army and had managed to get leave to join them for a week. Horst was twenty-three and a lieutenant at divisional headquarters in Munich. Ulm was a captain in the 105th Infantry Regiment, part of the Thirtieth Division, attached to the Fourth Army. He had just turned twenty-seven during the week he spent with them in Geneva.'
First paragraph of Echoes by Danielle Steele
This month the Turn the Page Tuesday challenge was to read a book that had been reviewed by one of the other participants. I cheated a little bit and read Echoes. Mary had reviewed it at one point, but not as part of Turn the Page Tuesday, though she has participated before.
I haven't read a Danielle Steel book for ever and a day, but this one sounded interesting. I love history and seem to have a morbid fascination for the Great War era. What people went through is just incredible. Echoes tells the story of Beata, a Jewish German girl who, in the first chapter of the story, meets and falls in love with Antoine, a very handsome Frenchman. Beata and Antoine defy both of their families to marry, becoming outcasts. Beata's father goes as far as sitting Shiva for her, the ceremony for the dead, and writing her name down in the family bible under deceased. The young couple lives in Sweden with cousins of Antoine's until the war is over, then chooses to move back into Germany where Antoine takes a job as a trainer on a horse ranch. As the years pass, Adolf Hitler comes into power and horrible things start to happen to Jewish families. Beata has glimpsed her family on the streets now and again, but they turn from her the second they see her. It is heartbreaking, but her love for her husband and young daughter makes it worth the cost.
I don't want to give to much of the story away, in case any of you want to read it, but it really is a pretty good read with some very heartbreaking history involved, including some mention of the Kindertransport, the train that took some Jewish childern out of the country to live with British foster families for the duration of the war.
I choose this book because I had just watched a documentary that I found on Netflix called Into the Arms of Strangers, that was about the Kindertransport. It was fascinating and heartbreaking, focusing on a few of the childern that were still alive at the time of the filiming to tell their stories. Really really good and if you are interested in history, I would highly recommend this film, but watch it with your box of tissues close by.
Don't forget to pop over to Adrienne's Some of a Kind to see what others are reading for Turn the Page Tuesday. What's on your nightstand? I've started another historical novel called A Candle in the Darkness about the civil war. Come to think of it, Mary sent me that one too....Thanks Mary!!