An insightful and harrowing look into wartime years told through the eyes of a child.
Ludwig is the narrator of this story which spans from the year of his birth in 1934 to present day in reflection. Ludwig takes the reader through the devastation of the wartime years where his family was ripped apart as his father left to handle his Nazi duties. Ludwigs mother fends for her six children barely surviving on the rations provided and the scarce letters she receives from her husband.
Ludwig was a brilliant main character – I adored him! The author did a phenomenal job having him navigate the plot. Ludwig is a charming, clever, endearing, special boy who finds comfort in nature and joy in pleasing his mother.
The intensity of the family bond, especially the mother-son bond, within this heart warming and heart breaking novel is palpable. It hit me in the heart many times and had me feeling extreme emotions for Ludwig. His innocence and loyalty was so touching.
As with any WWII novel, there are many devastating scenes and situations. The author clearly but respectfully showed the varying levels of loss and destitution among families and communities in wartime years. Everyone did what they had to do to survive. Some had connections to make things “easier”.
I did have a stronger connection to the first half of the book. I found some of the details became too long winded and drawn out after the halfway point. My interest wavered slightly but I remained invested and curious to see how Ludwig’s story would conclude.
This book is based on the authors father, Ludwig, who told his children about his childhood. This is his family story. Knowing this reality behind the words made this novel even more impactful for me.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy!