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Surviving the Fatherland

A True Coming of Age Love Story Set in WWII Germany
Narrated by: Naomi Jacobson
Length: 13 hrs and 7 mins
4 out of 5 stars (127 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Winner 2017 National Indie Excellence Award 

Winner Chill with a Book Readers' Award

Winner Readers' Favorite Book Award

Indie B.R.A.G.Award Honoree

Finalist 2017 Kindle Book Awards

An IWIC Hall of Fame Novel 

Surviving the Fatherland tells the true and heart-wrenching stories of Lilly and Günter struggling with the terror-filled reality of life in the Third Reich, each embarking on their own dangerous path toward survival, freedom, and ultimately each other. Based on the author's own family and anchored in historical facts, this story celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the strength of war children. 

When her father goes off to war, seven-year-old Lilly is left with an unkind mother who favors her brother and chooses to ignore the lecherous pedophile next door. A few blocks away, 12-year-old Günter also loses his father to the draft and quickly takes charge of supplementing his family's ever-dwindling rations by any means necessary. 

As the war escalates and bombs begin to rain, Lilly and Günter's lives spiral out of control. Every day is a fight for survival. On a quest for firewood, Lilly encounters a dying soldier and steals her father's last suit to help the man escape. Barely 16, Günter ignores his draft call and embarks as a fugitive on a harrowing 47-day ordeal - always just one step away from execution. 

When at last the war ends, Günter grapples with his brother's severe PTSD and the fact that none of his classmates survived. Welcoming denazification, Lilly takes a desperate step to rid herself once and for all of her disgusting neighbor's grip. When Lilly and Günter meet in 1949, their love affair is like any other. Or so it seems. But old wounds and secrets have a way of rising to the surface once more.  

©2017 Annette Oppenlander (P)2017 Annette Oppenlander

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Not worth my time

I am a huge WW2 historical fiction and non fiction reader and thought this book, which I assume is based on real people, would give an interesting look at Germany during and after the war. It was very tedious, without a story arc just sort of lurching along year after year. The characters don't come alive and toward the end of the book the love story turns it into a sort of breathless teenage romance. Some of the facts of post war life in Germany were interesting but certainly not worth slogging through 13 hours - which felt like 20. The narrator is terrible - overly dramatic and sonorous. I can't recommend this book if you are a fan of good WW2 stories.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Narrator

I think the storyline would have been captivating but I couldn't get past the narrator.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The performance almost stopped me from moving to chapter 2

The fact that this was a true story kept me going onto chapter2 and beyond. I learned much about what life was like for non-Jewish Germans living in small towns. Many men were conscripted while others believed it was their duty to blindly follow the crazed orders of Hitler. The main characters were children when their fathers left. They and their families experienced years of starvation even after the war in Europe ended .Stalin continued to obliterate millions in Russia, including Germans stuck in the hundreds of different gulag death camps. The performance improved toward the end third of the novel. Thank goodness for small mercies. This book deserved a top notch performance.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Long..

second half of book seemed unnecessary to the story. I was disappointed usually like these stories.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • DB
  • 04-26-18

Interesting perspective of WWII

So to call this a coming of age love story is a bit of a stretch. It is a compelling narrative on the conditions of war and unseen consequences. It is a compelling character study. It is a heartfelt examination of family life and relationships. The storytelling is amazing and the authors work is tremendous.

The narrator is inconsistent. At times she is mesmerizing and other times stiff and monotone. If you can get through that it is a tremendous story well worth the listen.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Breathtaking

Love love love this book! A perspective by German citizens who were caught up in Hitlers reign! Makes you think! Hopefully, it will speak to others who are caught up with a dictator to not stand for evilness! This book explains in great detail how the German people, along with children were terribly affected by this evil dictator! Nothing compared to the Jews, but still a perspective that sheds light on both the struggle and survival of mankind along with the love of strangers! A must read!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Most moving book I ever red

amazing deep love and survival describing the war from the view of the German civilians.
toped off by an amazing narrator.
highly recommend!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A great book if it had not been for....

A great story line, however I do not think it necessary to detail sexuality in such a erotic way....I will delete the book and not finish it.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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AWESOME READ

Loved it, kept me in suspense at all times. First of hearing from the German
side.

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Very good love story

This book gives the history of them during the war and after.It describes their first feelings of love pangs.

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  • Ed Cook
  • 06-06-19

Fascinating story

Very well written with a fascinating insight into living through the 2nd World War. I found the narrators accent a bit irritating- having someone with a strong American accent provide a voice for German characters doesn’t seem authentic.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-23-18

Food for Thought!

Wasn't sure what to expect but it certainly was from a perspective I hadn't any knowledge or forethought about. Can't say I loved it because the suffering is awful but I really found the content very interesting. Exactly what I was looking for!

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  • Ursula
  • 06-16-18

Stunning

An unusual story told by children of their war time survival. Beautifully enacted. A rich history of real families, how they held up under extreme circumstances of which they had no control.
One of the best books I have come across revealing the suffering of innocent German children during the war. Well done to the author telling the story of her own family.