This review was originally published by the Historical Novels Review and can be found online here.
It’s April 1945 and Olivia Marsten, daughter of the town sheriff in small-town Wisconsin, sees her best friend Billy pacing outside a shop window. Billy is joining the Navy shortly but before he goes, he has an important question to ask her. Olivia is shocked by Billy’s marriage proposal but finds that she can’t turn down her closest friend as he leaves for war. Yet the instant she accepts, she knows she’s made the wrong choice.
On a train speeding towards the American heartland is German prisoner of war Peter Beck. Born in Germany to an American father, Peter is forced to join the Nazi army, a group he loathes. On the way to an internment camp, Peter and a fellow prisoner are thrown from the train. Peter bumps into Olivia on the street and the two are smitten. He lies to Olivia and her family about his true identity and is welcomed into the town while he recuperates from his injuries. Germany surrenders in May 1945 and so Peter is free to stay and pursue a relationship with Olivia but he has two problems: his fellow escapee is out to wreak havoc on the “Amerikaners” and Peter must choose to identify himself as the enemy or start a life with Olivia that’s built on a lie.
Garock’s novel is sweet if predictable. Readers learn little beyond minor details about Olivia’s character, so she feels underdeveloped. Other parts of the novel seem unlikely at best: Peter manages a flawless English accent despite the fact that he had never been to the U.S. before and he’s an escaped POW but never seems worried about being recaptured. Don’t expect anything particularly gripping – more of a warm fuzzy for the beach or in front of the fire.
Amazon link for the book is here.