"May I have this dance, Hilde?" asked Field Marshal Rommel, opening the Grande Ball held in his honour. Did this dance save the life of Hilde's Polish friends? Hilde had come a long way since her dream of becoming a singer was shattered when her father made arrangements for her to work as a housekeeper in Berlin at the tender age of fourteen. Hilde's life is thrown into turmoil in Berlin during the late 1920s early 1930s. Having Polish friends meant it was becoming increasingly unsafe for her to stay there and she finds a new life in the Harz mountains. In Goslar, Hilde meets her husband, Karl, a young officer in the German Army. When he joins the Seventh Panzer Brigade led by General Erwin Rommel at the beginning of World War II, Hilde is left to bring up their children in war-torn Germany. Hilde's story is based on facts and is told here by her youngest daughter, Elisabeth.
©2013 Elisabeth Marrion (P)2014 Elisabeth Marrion
This story is about Hilde and her life growing up in Germany (after WWI) and becoming a wife and mother during WWII. As a girl in East Prussia, she has a dream to become a singer one day. However, her father sends her to work as a housemaid in Berlin at the age of 14 and from there on, she doesn’t have time for dreams. Eventually, she meets a young man, Karl, who will become her husband and who will also spend much of their married life serving in the military away from his growing family. Karl ends up serving under Rommel in Germany and then Africa.
I found this to be a very interesting book. It was based on the life of the author’s mother (if I understood the description correctly) so much of the book is factual. Seeing Germany gearing up for another war through the eyes of a house cleaner and mother showed how surreal the politics and resulting war to many of the average people of Germany at the time. Hilde grew up with Jewish friends and maintained those friendships until they were abruptly ended (usually by the sudden disappearance of her Jewish friends) or because the association was becoming too dangerous for Hilde and her young children. An anti-Semitic attitude was not part of Hilde’s personality, and many of her family and friends also lacked this unappealing trait.
Then there are the every day things. As Germany starts building up their armies, young men must go off for training and certain resources start to become hard to come by, just a few at first. Once the war is in full swing, it is a much different scene, but through Hilde’s eyes we get to see how things changed gradually, bit by bit. Germany’s streets weren’t covered in city militia enforcing curfew overnight. Food supplies didn’t become scarce in a month’s time.
One of Hilde’s children develops a chronic medical condition about half way through the book. It is one of those conditions that needs continuous treatment throughout the war and I thought it interesting to see how that was dealt with. Also, Hilde and Karl see each other infrequently, so their children are spaced out throughout the war. Can you picture yourself expecting a child in war-torn Germany during the time of the night aerial raids? Over all, this was an intriguing read providing a glimpse into an average woman’s life during one of humanity’s most destructive episodes.
Narration: Nancy Peterson did an excellent job, being the perfect voice for Hilde. She performed the entire book in a German accent and this added so much to the ambiance of the book. She had a good range of voices for all the supporting characters as well. Bennett Allen had a very short piece, playing the role of Karl, at the end of the book. It was a very nice touch, adding to the poignancy of the ending.
What I Liked: The reality of the book; the book shows how things changed gradually; Hilde’s perseverance despite losing friends and family, having several small children, and her husband gone much of the time; the ending was touching.
What I Disliked: The cover is rather severe.
It really came to life listening to it. Enjoyed the narration very much.
Just the fear. There were moments that I could see the fear and feel it. So emotional.
She brings the sotry to life. Very believable.
I had several different emotions. More tears than laughs, for certain.
The Night I Danced with Rommel by Elisabeth Marrion is emotionally gripping. It all came to life as I listened to the narrative on the audible version. I was moved and touched, horrified and inspired. This is a very well written historical period piece that was surprisingly unique. The author had a way of telling this story in her own way. Special.
Hilde, the young German woman attracted my attention right away. Not just because she was a survivor of World War II but because I could feel her struggles as she told us her story with such a life force. It feels real. All too real. Terrifying.
I was lost into this emotional story and was able to listen to this audible book in one sitting. I just carried my lap top with me. Hilde’s life filled my thoughts. I could have been there are the visuals are all so real and clear.
So many sacrifices! Makes you really feel blessed not to have had to live through something so horrific. We need these kinds of books to be reminded that this really happened. Hitler existed and people were killed viciously and in inhumane manners.
I felt so many different emotions while hearing this story play out. Even though it is a dismal story there is also a great message of hope and inspiration.
This is a great audiobook!
Set in Germany in the years leading up to WW II, the main character (Hilde) leaves eastern Prussia as a young girl and travels to Berlin for work. In Berlin, she meets and marries a German Army officer named Karl, and together they form a loving family with three kids. All the while, Hitler is preparing to take over Europe!
As an audiobook listener, I was able to vicariously experience what it was like for a typical family to live in Nazi Germany in the 30's and 40's. It may be painful, but this story is never dull! Thankfully, the main character and her husband never participated in anti-Semitic behavior or other forms of barbarism that were common at the time.
I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review.
Yes. The author brings to life the time period, accurately describing the events - an excellent behind the scenes WW II story.
Hilde’s courage, which is evident as she tries to maintain a degree of normalcy with her young children while her husband is deployed.
Ms. Peterson brings the characters to life. She has the perfect voice for this story.
When Hilde described going to bed hungry and worrying about rations and how difficult it was to adequately care for her children.
The reader is drawn into a war-torn country where civilians are not privy to the truth of Hitler’s regime, where speculation and fear dominate daily life. Worth a listen.
Both are equal in quality. I do like the narrator as she pronounced words that I didn't know how to pronounce when I read the book.
This is the first narration I have listened to by Nancy Peterson and Bennett Allen. I enjoyed it very much.
My emotions did go from one extreme to another because the information contained in this book has an emotional theme to it.
The era this books was written in brings out the turmoil, destruction, and the hardships of their time.
"Night I danced with Rommel"
Very interesting informative story. Sad ending but a very true account. Gripping and spell binding
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