The Ragged Edge of Nightby Olivia Hawker Published 01 Oct 2018
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|Publisher||Lake Union Publishing|
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For fans of All the Light We Cannot See, Beneath a Scarlet Sky, and The Nightingale comes an emotionally gripping, beautifully written historical novel about extraordinary hope, redemption, and one man’s search for light during the darkest times of World War II.
Germany, 1942. Franciscan friar Anton Starzmann is stripped of his place in the world when his school is seized by the Nazis. He relocates to a small German hamlet to wed Elisabeth Herter, a widow who seeks a marriage—in name only—to a man who can help raise her three children. Anton seeks something too—atonement for failing to protect his young students from the wrath of the Nazis. But neither he nor Elisabeth expects their lives to be shaken once again by the inescapable rumble of war.
As Anton struggles to adapt to the roles of husband and father, he learns of the Red Orchestra, an underground network of resisters plotting to assassinate Hitler. Despite Elisabeth’s reservations, Anton joins this army of shadows. But when the SS discovers his schemes, Anton will embark on a final act of defiance that may cost him his life—even if it means saying goodbye to the family he has come to love more than he ever believed possible.
"The Ragged Edge of Night" Reviews
Beautiful language. Vibrant characters. Evocative sense of time and place. Highly recommend.
Loved this story of a friar, who—though the Nazis stripped him of his office—continued to live out his calling to love and make a difference in humble ways.
This is a literary novel, told in one point of view with present tense verbs. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I felt this made this novel read like a lovely, almost poetic homily about life. Much of the story takes place in Anton’s head and heart, with his remembrances and impressions of life around him. Again, some might find this slow. However, I loved this character & his take on the world. He drew me in from the first paragraph & I could not stop reading! I finished this book in a matter of hours!
Personally, this powerful story made me thankful to minister in a Christian school where we celebrate all life, including the most vulnerable among us, those with special needs, the unborn, the unappreciated.
The characters were fleshed out & flawed—admitting they did not reach out to the Jews because they put their own children first—but redeemed their past weaknesses by finding the courage to act in loving, generous ways to those around them in spite of the personal cost.
I truly appreciated this author’s beautiful way with words. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:
“God opens every way for an earnest heart.”
“I cannot help but know it. Against all sense, I believe. Somewhere, beyond the ragged edge of night, light bleeds into this world.”
“This is a small happiness, in a mad and dangerous world. But it’s better than gold, better than music, to know you made another person happy. To know you’ve kept them safe.”
“Grant me one more day of love, God, and one more, and another. One more blue afternoon with my children’s voices filling the sky—this, my only music. One more sight of their breath rising in plumes against the cold, so I may know they’re still breathing. Give me time enough to fix these memories in my heart. Let me write this love upon my soul.”
“Some of these boys—they understand very little, except for love. But love is all they need.”
The Ragged Edge of Night : The first 90% of the book was excellent and told of heroic people and families. I would definitely give it a 4. The "Historical Notes and authors remarks" at the end of the book was very interesting and brought out a lot of history of the family and town. Until she says "When the 2016 election changed things I knew I had to write this book. She compared the Republican Party to the Nazis!
I had voted Democrat for 35 years then realized recently that it was going downhill and no longer relevant to me. Apparently others agreed; thank goodness. I know there are bad apples in every bunch, but she implied that all Republicans were bad. I guess she was trying to push her own political agenda or sell more books. To hear the media, you would think we were all going to hell in a hand basket. But you see our country is thriving.
I was just minding my own business, listening to this book on my way to my meditation and relaxation group. Needless to say I wasn't able to focus after hearing the negative thoughts running through my mind. We are all Americans, so let’s try to work together.
This was one of the greatest stories I have ever read and truly deserves five stars for the content of the story. The one star comes from the highly disappointing historical notes left by the author. She claims the event of the election of 2016 in America caused her to be moved to write this book. I can tell you as I read this book I saw similarities not to the victor of 2016 but to the loser. The author claims to be an historian and writes historical books. May I present some history, Hitler and the SS took weapons away from the German citizenry, and after doing such they started to take control. The content of the story mentions this fact, but the author has failed to realize that the losing party and candidate of 2016 wanted and wants to do the same thing to the American people, not the current victor of 2016. Secondly, Hitler and the SS in order to rule took away many forms of print news and material that could report the truth of the evil of Hitler. The losing party and candidate of 2016 has already chosen to take and repeal 1st Amendment rights by seeking to only give one viewpoint of ideology, not the current victor of 2016, who calls out the bias in the print and news media. This point was represented well by story written by the author but she fails to see the same direction being taken in America and not with the current administration.
Then to mention events that occurred in Charlottesville, VA was the last straw. The fact is we live in a nation that allows free speech and protest. In order to exercise some of these rights we have to apply for permits when in large groups. One group had applied and been denied, courts determined that their civil rights were being violated and had to allow them to protest peacefully. Another group came along and did not have permits and were allowed to precipitate friction which in turn caused the needless taking the life of one individual. The author fails to mention many violations of civility in our country by folks who call themselves antifa, which is just the opposite of what they are, they are the fascists that would be like the Nazi's and SS of the days of Germany written about in this book.
I think the author should seek to really learn how to apply history and also be able to apply real current events appropriately. I really wish I had not seen the ignorance in that one bit of this book, having lived in Germany and travelled in the Stuttgart area and seeing left over elements of that time in history, I felt the beauty of the German people and how they overcame a despotic being from taking all their freedoms away. We have freedoms today because the people in America made the right choice in 2016, and if the other party continues in it's non liberal ways, the right choice will be around for years to come.
Nice Story, Horrible Politics.
The author manages to ruin a very nice story with a horrible political screed in post-story commentary.
Thus, I cannot recommend this book.
I loved this book and recommend it to readers who currently want to resist the ominous events presently occurring in our country.
This is a book I could not get into. Try as I might, the overuse of metaphors made the story stagnate. The adjectives are overflowing! Too much ruins a story....and this is a good example of 'too much.'
The plot surrounding an ex-friar who responds to an advertisement in a Catholic newspaper in Germany during WWII is far-fetched and over-religious. I felt I was being sermonized to! That feeling never let up as I read on. I felt like I was forcing myself to understand much of the time as Anton flashes back to his friar days in a boy's school and forced by the SS into the German army.
I admit I am not a Catholic, not a religious person, but this book is definitely not for non-Catholics. Every few pages Anton is thinking in his own mind and his own conscience as he relates everything back to God and his own Catholic perceptions.
I would say this book is a great one for Catholics except for the flooding of metaphors. This truly hampered the book.I
Not one I would personally recommend unfortunately.