While WWII is not a very new subject in fiction, the author sheds light on a relatively untold segment of persons affected by the war. The story mainly follows the prosperous Emmerich family, a clan of Prussians who are largely ignorant to the atrocities being committed by their German army and society. They decide to evacuate their farm in order to escape capture by the Russians in the last months of WWII. The book follows their difficult journey and complex relationships with a Scottish POW, a Jewish man posing as an SS officer, and many others that they encounter.
The book is a bit difficult to get into at first because it flipped back and forth between three different storylines. Yet, once the characters and stories became familiar, the novel was both engrossing and heartbreaking. I really liked this book...it might be one of my favorites of the year. I'm definitely going to be adding more of Mr. Bohjalian's novels to my TBR list.
This would be a really great historical fiction choice for a book club. So many things to discuss: the historical aspects, the relationships between the characters, their secrets and deceptions, and their guilt and hope for the future. If you are drawn to WWII books I really suggest picking up a copy of Skeletons at the Feast.