Monday, October 3, 2011

Book Review: Year of the Angels

Year of the Angels by Erika Madden is a heart-felt novel about a ten year-old girl living in Germany during World War II. Inspired by Madden’s personal experiences, she describes war that few of us can imagine.

The Lindner family, a gentle mother and six children, including a new-born infant, struggle to survive the war as it creeps closer to their little village of Mainbernheim. Lisel’s father, conscripted by the Germain army, is away from his family, and they receive no word about his whereabouts or even if he’s still alive.

The family strives to make life as pleasant as possible, despite the black-outs, screaming sirens, crowded bomb shelters, the terrible shortage of food and other basic necessities. The children scrounge for coal along the railroad tracks, work in the fields in exchange for food, do whatever they can for the family’s survival. Through it all, their mother bravely and tenderly guides her children. and shows by example that the most important thing is family. Lisel and her beloved little brother Dieter have a special relationship and find play and enjoyment whenever and however they can. They escape to their treasured stone break, their secret, magical place.

War is terrible. Most of us believe that. Still, we reason, it’s necessary to preserve our freedom. But when you read an account such as Year of the Angels, you realize what it means to those most affected by the violence, the people who live there. The desperate struggles of being displaced, enduring shortages of food, clothes, and warmth, the misery of families being torn apart, is their daily reality. In the midst of this misery, the Lindner family shows kindness, sharing, and even humor.

Year of the Angels is a poignant account of one year of the European war as seen through the eyes of a young girl. It’s a treasure you will long remember. To learn more about the author and how to purchase the book, visit Year of the Angels can also be purchased through


Eunice Boeve said...

Since I just finished a kids' WWII serial story for a group of newspapers to begin in January, I am attracted to WWII stories, and although I've read many in doing research and don't need to anymore, I definitely want this one. My story is set in Kansas, the year 1945, with a 10 year old boy the protagonist. How different his life during wartime than Lisel. God help us if we ever have a war over here.

Heidiwriter said...

Erika, I am so pleased and proud of you for writing this book! Very important to document life stories!