Where would you like to go in your next reading experience? That’s what I love about starting a new book, it can lead anywhere. Today I bring you Under the Same Blue Sky by Pamela Schoenewaldt. I thank TLC Book Tours for sending me my copy free of charge. Of course any opinions expressed are all my own.
About the Book:
• Paperback: 352 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (May 5, 2015)
From the USA Today bestselling author of When We Were Strangers and Swimming in the Mooncomes a lush, exquisitely drawn novel set against the turmoil of the Great War, as a young German-American woman explores the secrets of her past.
A shopkeeper’s daughter, Hazel Renner lives in the shadows of the Pittsburgh steel mills. She dreams of adventure, even as her immigrant parents push her toward a staid career. But in 1914, war seizes Europe and all their ambitions crumble. German-Americans are suddenly the enemy, “the Huns.” Hazel herself is an outsider in her own home when she learns the truth of her birth.
Desperate for escape, Hazel takes a teaching job in a seemingly tranquil farming community. But the idyll is cracked when she acquires a mysterious healing power—a gift that becomes a curse as the locals’ relentless demand for “miracles” leads to tragedy.
Hazel, determined to find answers, traces her own history back to a modern-day castle that could hold the truth about her past. There Hazel befriends the exiled, enigmatic German baron and forges a bond with the young gardener, Tom. But as America is shattered by war and Tom returns battered by shell-shock, Hazel’s healing talents alone will not be enough to protect those close to her, or to safeguard her dreams of love and belonging. She must reach inside to discover that sometimes the truth is not so far away, that the simplest of things can lead to the extraordinary.
Filled with rich historical details and intriguing, fully realized characters, Under the Same Blue Sky is the captivating story of one woman’s emergence into adulthood amid the tumult of war.
About the Author:
Pamela Schoenewaldt lived for ten years in a small town outside Naples, Italy. Her short stories have appeared in literary magazines in England, France, Italy, and the United States. She now lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her husband, Maurizio Conti, a physicist, and Jesse, their dog.
I had taken myself off of WWI and WWII books because I had read so darn many of them but something about this one drew me in. I’m glad I did read it as it wasn’t so much a story of WWI as a tale of the effects the war had on people back home. Hazel is a woman of German descent living in Pittsburgh. Her father suffers from headaches and Hazel seems to have a rare ability to heal him. She is being pressured to follow a medical profession but instead chooses to be a teacher. She does this away from Pittsburgh because anti-German sentiment is becoming unbearable.
Hazel soon embarks on a journey to find her natural mother which leads her to a very odd place in New Jersey where she finds as many questions as answers as to her heritage. I really liked the character of Hazel and she was well developed. I just think there were too many threads of stories and some of them got lost within the whole and just didn’t wrap up appropriately.
Overall it was a very good read about troubling subjects. Ms. Schoenewaldt has a real way with words that does draw you into the story.
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OTHER BOOKS ABOUT WWI:
THE VINTNER’S DAUGHTER BY KRISTIN HARNISCH
ELUSIVE DAWN BY GABRIELLE WILLS
No Man’s Land by Simon Tolkien