The Ledger by Lloyd Holm
I finished this book in less than three days – under the spell of a good story – I was hooked from the start. It has been a long time since I read such a sincere, sweet love story. At the same time I was interested in the military history as well as the strong development of the characters and emotions between them.
The story starts with a young couple struggling with understanding why the young lady’s parents are against her match with a young Jewish man. As the story progresses we meet the young lady, Christine, grandfather who goes on to tell them an amazing story. A story that will explain the sadness and silences of her German father, explain the tension between the families and also bring to light an act of selfless love.
Spanning the two World Wars, this story first follows the meeting of two soldiers during the strange but amazing 24 hour Christmas truce between Germans and French of WW1. These unlikely friends keep in contact and as the years go by, even though they don’t see each other, they share intimately of their families and lives, even such secret details as the Frenchman, Andre, shares that his wife is Jewish. The two families grow, two sons on the German side and two daughters on the French side, each member aware of the special friendship and aware of each other’ lives.
Suddenly, as World War Two looms on the horizon, although both families treasure the friendship – it is not safe anymore to maintain it and even though the letters must stop – the care doesn’t.
Hans Kruger, an officer and the young son of the German soldier, finds himself in France on leave from duty and decides to visit the home of the Ferrand’s – the friends of his family through letters. Upon arrival Hans is overcome by the beauty of Aimee, Andre’s eldest daughter. Love immediately blooms between the two and before long they are sending letters to one another. This is a dangerous game to play – especially now that a madman, Hitler, has decreed that any German found in a relationship with a Jew would be killed. One day Hans learns that Aimee and her family are in danger. Executing a dangerous and daring plan, he acts selflessly out of love for Aimee and saves her and her entire family from the hate of the Nazis as they murder innocent people throughout the region.
This wonderful and uplifting story ends with the wedding of two people and a special tribute paid to the bravery of one special man who was willing to sacrifice himself for the one he loved.
The story was skillfully written and historically correct with a smooth flow and relatable characters who stayed true to form – I am looking forward to reading more books in the future from this author.
Five stars for this uplifting read *****