I got to talk about one of my favorite genres on Episode 129 of the GSMC Book Review Podcast: WWII Historical Fiction. I spoke with Brad Schaeffer about his book Of Another Time and Place.
She wondered if he was the man she was searching for. How many men after all could have that name, and be both a retired musician and a former Luftwaffe ace? She had so many unanswered questions. How would he explain the violence, the many deaths by his own hand? How had he survived when so many of his comrades perished under the guns of the Allied air armadas? And most important, had this man somehow found redemption? Or was he just another grizzled old Nazi living out his last days in undeserved anonymity, still unrepentant for the horrors his people inflicted upon the world, and her people in particular.Rachael Azerod, a New York reporter, flies to London to interview Harmon Becker, the former German WW II hero whom Hitler himself awarded the highest honors—but she has her own reasons for meeting. Was he just a soldier? Or did he do something so astounding that not even he was willing to remember it…until now.Of Another Time and Place is a novel about love, redemption, and two young lovers separated by war and desperate to survive the unparalleled violence consuming their war-torn nation. It is the story of a country gone astray, mesmerized by their mad Fuehrer, and the artist-turned-warrior and his courageous bride who vow to break his spell and make a difference, even it if means dangling at end of a Nazi rope. (Source)
This story is told from two different time periods. As Rachel interviews Harmon in the modern area he tells her the story of his experience. I liked that the relationship between Rachel and Harmon evolved as the WWII story unfolded. I also really liked how Amelia, Harmon's girlfriend and eventual wife, while a secondary character in many ways, is really the driving force behind much of what happens in the story in terms of Harmon's choices and decisions. She was my favorite character. Most of the WWII novels I've read have been from the perspective of the allies, and while this isn't the first or only story told from a German perspective, I really appreciated how Brad showed a realistic picture of a German citizen during this time. Harmon is a product of his environment, not completely brain-washed by Nazi propaganda, but not completely against the Nazis as a political party, either. It's not black or white and Harmon is a human character who has to examine his life, his choices, and what is happening to his beloved country. This is a well-written, multi-faceted, and enjoyable historical fiction book.
If you want to know more about Brad and this book you can go to the following places:
Brad Schaeffer is an historian, author, musician, and trader. His eclectic body of writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News, and a variety of well-read blogs and news outlets. Of Another Time and Place is his first novel. He lives in New Jersey with his family. (Source)