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The Good at Heart: A Novel
By: Ursula Werner
List Price: $26.00
Your Price: $15.48
(as of: 08/19/17)
Manufacturer: Touchstone
ISBN: 1501147579
Publication Date: 2017-02-21
Release Date 2017-02-21
Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours


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Product Description:

Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this stunning debut novel takes place over three days when World War II comes to the doorstep of an ordinary German family living in an idyllic, rural village near the Swiss border.

When World War II breaks out, Edith and Oskar Eberhardt move their family—their daughter, Marina; son-in-law, Franz; and their granddaughters—out of Berlin and into a small house in the quiet town of Blumental, near Switzerland. A member of Hitler’s cabinet, Oskar is gone most of the time, and Franz begins fighting in the war, so the women of the house are left to their quiet lives in the picturesque village.

But life in Blumental isn’t as idyllic as it appears. An egotistical Nazi captain terrorizes the citizens he’s assigned to protect. Neighbors spy on each other. Some mysteriously disappear. Marina has a lover who also has close ties to her family and the government. Thinking none of them share her hatred of the Reich, she joins a Protestant priest smuggling Jewish refugees over the nearby Swiss border. The latest “package” is two Polish girls who’ve lost the rest of their family, and against her better judgment, Marina finds she must hide them in the Eberhardt’s cellar. Everything is set to go smoothly until Oskar comes home with the news that the Führer will be visiting the area for a concert, and he will be making a house call on the Eberhardts.

Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this extraordinary debut, full of love, tragedy, and suspense, is a sensitive portrait of a family torn between doing their duty for their country and doing what’s right for their country, and especially for those they love.



It’s not often that those of us living seventy-plus years after the end of World War II are given the opportunity to experience the reality of those citizens who lived through the war in Germany. Edith and Oskar Eberhardt, Oskar himself a member of Hitler’s cabinet, relocated their family, including their daughter and her family, to a small town near the Swiss border, leaving the dangers of Berlin behind. Life here is idyllic, with few reminders that their homeland is engaged in what history regards as the most heinous period of modern recall.

At times it’s easy to forget that the men in the Eberhardt household are Nazis. The female members of the family are accustomed to their soldier spouses’ long absences, and the children’s days are easily spent exploring the farms and woodlands nearby.

The sanctity of the Eberhardt’s humble home is shattered when Hitler himself comes to meet the family he has heard so much about from Oskar. Within a matter of hours the Eberhardts’ world is shattered, pieces thrown to the wind and never retrieved. The War may be coming to an end, but for Edith, her daughter Marina and Marina’s daughters, life as they know it has ended as well, and a new chapter must begin.

The Good at Heart is based on the diaries and actual lives of author Ursula Werner’s great-grandparents, whom the author fictionally represents as Edith and Oskar Eberhardt. Although the story spans just three days, Werner effectively uses the recollections of Edith and Marina to thoughtfully define the characters and their actions. The bravery of several key characters is awe inspiring and nerve wracking in turn, and the historical context lends even more depth and credibility to their actions. The Good at Heart is truly compelling, a heart stopping and gut-wrenching story of immeasurable bravery, hope . . . and love.

 
By: Joyce Greenfield, ReaderToReader.com


 
     
 
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