About the Book (publisher’s description):
Increasingly wary of her father’s genetic research, Rachel Kramer has determined that this trip with him to Germany—in the summer of 1939—will be her last. But a cryptic letter from her estranged friend, begging Rachel for help, changes everything. Married to SS officer Gerhardt Schlick, Kristine sees the dark tides turning and fears her husband views their daughter, Amelie, deaf since birth, as a blight on his Aryan bloodline.
Once courted by Schlick, Rachel knows he’s as dangerous as the swastikas that hang like ebony spiders from every government building in Berlin. She fears her father’s files may hold answers about Hitler’s plans for others, like Amelie, whom the regime deems “unworthy of life.” She risks searching his classified documents only to uncover shocking secrets about her own history and a family she’s never known.
Now hunted by the SS, Rachel turns to Jason Young—a driven, disarming American journalist and unlikely ally—who connects her to the resistance and to controversial theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Forced into hiding, Rachel’s every ideal is challenged as she and Jason walk a knife’s edge, risking their lives—and asking others to do the same—for those they barely know but come to love.
My Thoughts on the Book:
Saving Amelie is a powerful look at how individuals are impacted and their characters are shaped by the circumstances they face and the people they encounter. It also explores God’s grace, and His provision through people willing to serve Him by helping others, even at risk to themselves.
This book takes place in Germany against the backdrop of World War II, and brings to light details of the eugenics movement of the time period, as well as the plight of the physically handicapped under that regime.
The Amelie of the title is a young girl, deaf since birth, whose need to escape the country propels the story forward. But it’s Rachel, a privileged American woman visiting Germany with her father, whose life and whose character changes most dramatically over the course of the story.
“She did not believe in God – had been raised to view such belief as a crutch for the weak. And she, a member of the elite, was not weak. But for the first time in her life she wished she did believe. She knew she was weak, and she needed help.” (page 96)
And that’s just the beginning of Rachel’s faith journey. I was impressed with the gradual and subtle way such deeply meaningful changes could be presented. But it’s not just about Amelie and Rachel. Over the course of the story, Rachel, Jason, Lea, Amelie, and a whole cast of other complex and interesting characters lend their points of view to the telling of this emotionally moving tale.
I was particularly impressed by the historical details included throughout this story, some of which I was previously unfamiliar with. I have to say that after “meeting” the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer through his fictionalized appearances in this story, I am curious to learn more about his life and writings.
I highly recommend this book to book discussion clubs and individuals looking for a thought-provoking, faith based story. The characters and historical detail in this one make for a fascinating read.
Thank you to Tyndale House for providing a paperback copy free of charge.