Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Ragged Edge of Night - Book Review

The Ragged Edge of Night - Book Review
What Others Are Saying About This Book
Nazi Germany.  1942.  A priest in search of redemption.  A widow seeking provision for her fatherless children.  A people desperate for relief—relief from oppression, from evil, from hopelessness.  Olivia Hawker's new historical novel, The Ragged Edge of Night, is a revelation.  To immerse ourselves into Anton and Elisabeth's war-torn lives is to see glimmers of unimaginable beauty beneath the desolation of loss, shame, failure, and fear.

As the story begins, Anton is still reeling from the abrupt end of his mission as a Franciscan friar.  To be wrongly stripped of his life's calling has been painful, but even worse, he cannot forgive himself for being powerless to save the children who were in the church's care.  When the Nazis loaded up Anton's students, he was overcome by an overwhelming sense of having committed the unforgivable sin.  Though there was nothing Anton could have done to save the children's lives, the guilt is crushing.


While Anton wrestles with his demons, Elisabeth, a young mother of three who is still grieving over the unexpected death of her beloved husband, is in the midst of considering the hardest decision of her life: whether to remarry in order to provide for her family.  Elisabeth feels great shame as she struggles to reconcile the feeling of being unfaithful to her first husband.  If there was another option, she would gladly choose it.  Alas, the harsh realities of wartime force Elisabeth to publish the following personal ad:
Good churchgoing woman, widowed, mother of three.  In need of a humble, patient man, willing to be a father to my children.  Interest in legitimate marriage only.  I have no money, so those who think to profit need not reply.
 In coming across Elisabeth's plea for help, Anton is immediately struck with a new sense of purpose.  Though his first choice would be to eventually return to his Franciscan order, and while Anton remains true to his sacred vows, he feels that supporting Elisabeth and her children is the right thing to do.  This opportunity has the potential to fulfill Anton's deep need to be useful, to find forgiveness, and to protect those who need it most (addressing his need for redemption due to the loss of the children snatched up by the Nazis who shut down Anton's school and religious order).

The soul of this book is revealed in the simplest, and yet loveliest of ways, as two faithful individuals remain true to their vows, their principles, their hearts, and all that defines a life worth living, and for which they are willing to die.  When Anton's involvement in the resistance movement against Hitler brings danger into his new family's life, relationships will be tested, and the true nature of love will be revealed.

Based on the real life experience of one of the author's family members, The Ragged Edge of Night is a timely story that is sure to inspire every reader who is concerned about the extreme tensions that are being felt in today's world.  This is a moment in history when every single one of us can take heart as we consider the difference an ordinary person like Anton can make in the lives of those who are hurting.  I was deeply moved by this book and highly recommend it.








Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

11 comments:

  1. Wow, this sounds like a really good book. I love stories that impact lives of the characters in the book and leave us with a sense of a reality that we may never experience first hand. Sometimes living vicariously through the characters in a book will touch a reality in our own lives. Putting this on my must read list! Thanks for this great review.

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    1. I think you will really like this book. So richly layered with meaning.

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  2. I always enjoy historical fiction based on true life events and your review of this book inspires me to read it. I have also always been fascinated with stories based in the World War II time period. Thanks, Diana.

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    2. It is a well-written book with many compelling themes. Let me know what you think after you have the chance to read this book. I thought it was excellent. Thanks!

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  3. This sounds like wonderful book! I had previously read the synopsis on Amazon and decided against this book. I am really glad you took the time to review it. Otherwise, I would have missed a great read. In the future, I need to remember to not rely so heavily a brief synopsis.

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    1. I almost passed this one by because it is not my usual genre. I'm really glad I decided to select this book as my First Reads choice for September. Knowing you enjoy romance, I believe you will appreciate the tenderness of Anton and Elisabeth's relationship. It's hard to find this kind of sweet love story in this day and age.

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  4. This book sounds incredible. Historical fiction and anything relating to history appeals to me. That era in particular, is hard to understand how it could happen. But of course, nightmares keep occuring in different places. What some people endure and have endured is mind boggling, humbling, disturbing, and most of all, some teach us how to endure with grace. We really don't know how lucky we are.

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    1. I can so relate to what you have shared here. We really cannot even begin to imagine the dark night of the soul experienced by so many individuals all over the world. How am I so blessed when others have known such persecution and pain? I will never understand how things can spiral to such depths of evil, such as that known in Nazi Germany and other places where ethnic "cleansing" is a common practice. May we never stand for any kind of injustice of which we are aware (and of which we can do something).

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  5. Diana, Thank you so much for this book review. This is probably not a book I would have typically considered reading. But now it is on my to-read list.

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    1. I found that is was really good for me to read something outside my usual sphere. I hope you experience the same thing (your own kind of meaning in reading this).

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