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POWERFUL WWII STORY TOLD THROUGH YOUTHFUL EYES

CATCHING THE WIND
By Melanie Dobson
Publisher Tyndale
ISBN#978-1-4964-1728-2

ABOUT BOOK: What happened to Brigitte Berthold?

That question has haunted Daniel Knight since he was thirteen, when he and ten-year-old Brigitte escaped the Gestapo agents who arrested both their parents. They survived a harrowing journey from Germany to England, only to be separated upon their arrival. Daniel vowed to find Brigitte after the war, a promise he has fought to fulfill for more than seventy years.

Now a wealthy old man, Daniel’s final hope in finding Brigitte rests with Quenby Vaughn, an American journalist working in London. He believes Quenby’s tenacity to find missing people and her personal investment in a related WWII espionage story will help her succeed where previous investigators have failed. Though Quenby is wrestling her own demons―and wary at the idea of teaming up with Daniel’s lawyer, Lucas Hough―the lure of Brigitte’s story is too much to resist. Together, Quenby and Lucas delve deep into the past, following a trail of deception, sacrifice, and healing that could change all of their futures.

REVIEW: Readers are transported back to July 1940 Moselkern, Germany and introduced to a young boy named Dietmar Roth; a young warrior in charge of knights sworn to protect a ten-year-old “pretend” princess named Brigitte Berthold. Their kingdom was an outside treehouse that had an amazing view of the forest and the back sides of their homes. From the treehouse, they could clearly see the outside world banging down the doors of their homes. They watched in horror as their parents were interrogated. Dietmar Roth grabbed Brigitte by the hand and ran. He’d seen enough to know they were in danger. With only the clothes on their backs, they ran for their lives, just as his parents had trained him to do.

Just when readers are emotionally invested in the flight of these two little ones; the author seamlessly switches to the current time, where they meet Quenby Vaughn. She’s an American journalist working in London who has a particular way in finding missing people. She has a private investment in a related WWII espionage story. This is why Mr. Knight wants to hire her. Daniel (aka Dietmar) vowed to find Brigitte. He believed Quenby would succeed when others had failed. He’d followed her career and knew her well.

This author masterfully weaves current time with past events. I liked the fact that in current time when they discovered something related to the past she would switch to the past and have that event play out first hand; so that the reader and Quenby Vaughn would find out about that situation at the same time. I liked the author's use of humor and thought provoking ideas to defuse some intense situations. Here’s an example.

Mr. Knight says this about life, “…Our lives are like the jigsaw puzzles you like to put together Quenby. All the pieces are out there, but we have to frame it before we complete the inside.”

Quenby was driven to dig for the truth.…”working on someone else’s story kept her from having to reflect on her own.” Quincy’s mission – it was about a girl lost long ago. A girl who’d never seemed to find her way home.” “Quenby knew what it was like to be left alone.”

This novel would work well for book clubs as there are 13 discussion questions and in author notes, there is valuable information that would also help create lively conversations in your group.

The author says in her notes, “the power of story has transformed my own life, and I’m incredibly grateful to Jesus Christ, the author, and finisher of faith, for enduring pain and humiliation and ultimately conquering the evil in this world, redeeming and healing because of his boundless love for his kids.”

This author seamlessly connects past and present events in this powerful, heart-rending story. It was a fascinating and beautifully written novel of two unspeakable tragedies, of love and loss and learning to love again. As I read, I kept thinking about the characters, their situation and all the other WWII stories out there. This moving story told through the eyes of children; stayed on my mind and close to my heart long after I closed the book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
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