My Books!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Surviving the Fatherland

Surviving the Fatherland
by Annette Oppenlander


GENRE:   Historical Coming of age



Spanning thirteen years from 1940 to 1953, SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND tells the true and heart-wrenching stories of Lilly and G√ľnter struggling with the terror-filled reality of life in the Third Reich, each embarking on their own dangerous path toward survival, freedom, and ultimately each other. Based on the author’s own family and anchored in historical facts, this story celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the strength of war children.

SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND is a sweeping saga of family, love, and betrayal that illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the children's war.



They were small changes at first, certain foods missing, fewer clothes available on ration cards, walking farther to find an open bakery…

Every day I caught myself listening for Vati’s footsteps. My breath would slow each time I heard the front door, a part of my soul rejoicing. Every day, he remained absent.

And something else changed. Fear moved into my life. Before Vati left, I hadn’t experienced dread other than a bit of uneasiness when going to the dark basement.

Now I had this shakiness in my legs that wouldn’t go away. In school we practiced climbing under the desk and lining up against inside walls or marching to the basement, teachers producing enthusiastic smiles as if we were playing a game. It was a vague feeling, a discomfort I couldn’t define except that it made my sleep restless and my daily routine tense.

Mutti grew increasingly nervous and her temper, no longer buffered by Vati, flared.

I took the brunt of it.

The thing is, I mostly accepted Mutti’s wrath as normal. I’d surely done something to deserve it. In the end, I didn’t know any better, and I accepted my new neighbor’s peculiar habits in the same way.

It was late that evening as I hurried downstairs. Cigarette smoke crept into the hallway through Huss’s door. I squeezed shut my nose with two fingers and rushed past, all the while wondering what he did for a living. All the men I knew worked or fought in the war like Vati.

My Review:

Surviving the Fatherland is, simply put, a really good read. I've read lots of books set in World War II that focused on the Allies and what they went through during the war, but you don't find as many books set in Germany. The book follows the story of two families who try their best to survive the hardships and chaos Hitler put his own people through. The hardships they endured were dreadful. The book also pointed out that not all of the people were Nazis. One of the characters in the book goes to extreme lengths to avoid being drafted in the army. What I especially liked about the story is that it's true. It happened to real people who eventually came to the US to live. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would give it 5 out of 5 stars.  

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

As a historical novelist Annette Oppenlander spends much of her time in archives and historic neighborhoods. When she isn’t studying the past, she shares her knowledge through writing workshops and indulges her old mutt, Mocha. In her spare time she travels around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories. The mother of three ‘former’ teens, Annette lives with her husband in Bloomington, Ind.

“Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes history come alive. When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no longer a date or number, it turns into a story.”

Pinterest: annoppenlander



Annette Oppenlander will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Good morning, Annette here. Thank you so much for hosting and reviewing! I'll be around today to answer any questions you may have.

  2. Thanks so much for the chance to win. I love WWII books!

  3. What is your favorite book? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  4. Awesome review - thanks for sharing!

  5. Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win