Monday, March 7, 2011
Springtime of the Spirit
Title: Springtime of the Spirit
Author: Maureen Lang
By the fall of 1918, the Great War has ended and the world is at peace, but there is little to celebrate in Germany. After four years of fighting for his homeland, Christophe Brecht returns to find there is little left of what he once called home. So when family friends ask him to travel to Munich to bring back their runaway daughter, Christophe agrees.
When he finally locates Annaliese Duray, he discovers she is far different from the girl he once knew. Headstrong, idealistic, and beautiful, she is on the front lines of the city’s political scene, fighting to give women and working-class citizens a voice in Germany’s new government.
As the political upheaval ignites in Munich, so does the attraction between Annaliese and Christophe. With an army from Berlin threatening to squash everything Annaliese has worked for, both she and Christophe are forced to choose between love and loyalty.
This is one of those books that make me think of irony. I've avoided "war" books because I tend to read mostly for escape and entertainment and I don't enjoy stories about wars. I do love historical fiction and this was offered to me for my honest review so I thought I might as well take a chance on it. The first thing I learned was that this isn't really a book about war ~ it's a book about people.
The author has written some compelling characters that are exactly the kind I prefer. These aren't marshmallow fluff characters that leave you feeling as if you may need to visit the dentist because they are just a tad too sweet - too perfect to actually walk planet Earth. Annaliese is basically in rebellion against her parents, her government and her faith. Christophe is so angry at what has happened that one of the first things we see him do is try and destroy a poster of the Kaiser - his mind full of thoughts about how the army was lied to and betrayed by the people who led them into the war.
Another reason I don't much like "war" books is because I would like to keep all the horrible scenes and issues in the past - thinking it has no relevance on life today. I cringed more than once as I read the well-meaning Annaliese describe to Christophe why socialism was the right thing for Germany. Too often her speeches, along with those of her mentor, Jurgen, could have been ripped from today's headlines.
What surprised me the most was how much I liked this book. It put a human face on a difficult period in Germany's history. Christophe's love and dedication to Annaliese wasn't conditional. He didn't stop caring for her because her views were different, or when she did things he didn't approve of. In many ways I think his love was a great example of how God loves us - patiently, completely and for who we are.
This book featured wonderful characters that exhibited great strength as well as weaknesses. I think it was one of the best books I've read so far this year and I thank Tyndale House for providing it to me in exchange for my honest review.
Posted by Margaret Metz at 5:31 AM