Beth Bridgewater, a German American, finds herself in a nightmare as World War II erupts-a war in which she takes no side, for she is a Quaker pacifist. Just as she gains opportunity to escape Germany, Beth decides to stay to help the helpless. Meanwhile, Josef Buch, a passionately patriot German, is becoming involved in his own secret ways of resisting the Nazis. . . . Despite their differences, Beth and Josef join together in nonviolent resistance-and in love. Does their love stand a chance. . .if they even survive at all?
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All God’s Children is an outstanding book based in WWII Germany and an excellent opening to ‘The Peacekeepers’ series! Nothing could have prepared this reader for the intensity of life in Hitler’s Germany in 1940’s Europe! I love the historical research that Anna Schmidt does as she draws the reader into the families divided by political beliefs, into fear of capture and torture by the Nazis, and into the heart of a death camp. It also draws the reader into the faith of the Quakers and others who determined to follow the Lord’s leading through a country, a continent that seems to have surrendered for a time to the enemy. This is not a book to start late in the evening – unless you can spend the night reading it. Absolutely well worth it!
Although a story of this magnitude, of such horror is difficult to read, it is much easier than to live it! From the very first I had to admire Beth who left her home in Wisconsin to live with her Uncle and Aunt and cousin in Munich, Germany. Not at just any time, but during the time before and after America had declared war on Germany. As I learned more about her and the Quakers, to which she and her family belonged, I respected and valued her stand. Although I am not a Quaker the way they sat in quiet contemplation and prayer before big (or ideally, even small) decisions were made impacted my thoughts, and is something I would like to emulate. The story is well written, and as hard as it was to wrap my mind around the things mentioned, I was compelled to read. It is not pretty, but a part of history that needs to be repeated again and again so that we do not become complacent. And I also wonder if this history is being repeated in some of the third world countries.
I found it of great interest that the day after I finished this novel, the extermination camp Sobibor, Poland was mentioned in two separate articles, one of which is in the Arizona Republic, which announced that Philip Bialowitz, who survived Sobibor, is going to schools to acquainted school children with what he endured.
I received this book free from Anna Schmidt and Barbour Publishing through Fred at The Bookclub Network in exchange for an honest review. A positive critique was not required. The opinions stated are my own.
All God's Children was a bit of a different take on WWII historical fiction. Instead of the usual ultra-brave heroine and hero fighting against the evil Nazis in any way they can; we have Beth, a Quaker pacifist, and Josef, a doctor in the German army who happens to believe in the Germany he remembers from childhood.
After reading several WWII fiction books that mostly center in the U.S., England, or France, it was nice to read a slightly different view of things in Germany and of the many German's that fought against Hitler's regime in a myriad of ways.
One of the fascinating things about the book is all of the Quaker beliefs and methods that are key to the story and how certain characters act. I knew almost nothing about the Society Of Friends, they are a little-written-about group, and so the fact that this story centers around a Quaker girl and some of her family and friends made this story even more interesting for me. The author does an excellent job of immersing the reader in WWII era Munich. I could see everything so clearly in my mind's eye. I felt like I was walking the streets of the city with Beth and Josef, stepping inside the apartment with Uncle Franz and Aunt Ilse, hiding in the basement from falling bombs with Liesl.
The last third of the book did seem a bit hurried to me, causing the historical detail and character emotions to take a little dip.
That aside, All God's Children was very enjoyable and I will definitely be looking forward to the release of the next book in this series, Simple Faith. The combination of setting the story in a little used WWII location, the Quaker pacifism, (old) German patriotism, detail in locations, interesting characters, and just the history, make this a great book for lovers of Historical fiction.
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own)
I would say I really enjoyed All God’s Children written by Anna Schimidt. Well written that it kept you wanting t keep on reading. The story is taking place in the time of WWII in Germany. Beth goes to Germany to help her Uncle out after his wife having a baby and not dealing well with it. So for eight years Beth has spent their not being able to go back home because she has no visa papers. She gave her visa to a Jewish girl so she could live the country. Problem is now she can’t leave. How is she ever going get back home now. Being a American it is not a safe place to be for her. She has to be very careful. The her Uncle rents out the attic room to a German who is studying to be a doctor. Will he be a spy or is he there to help? Great book. It will keep you wanting to read. Looking forward to the next book.
This is a well crafted historical novel of World War II.
Beth is an American living in Germany, helping her aunt and uncle take care of their child. Beth finds herself in a fragile state when Germany declares war on the United States. In a move of compassion, she gives her papers to a Jewish friend who is trying to escape. The two young women look enough alike that the Jew is able to leave the country.
But that leaves Beth without papers. The tension increases when an old student of her uncle's rents an attic room to be close to his medical studies. Josef seems like a good man but he is a doctor in the Nazi army and his father is a high ranking Nazi official. Beth likes the man but is he there to spy on the family?
Anna writes in the Author's Note that much of this novel is based on historical events. We read about the White Rose, a group spreading leaflets calling for resistance to the Nazis. We also read about one of the death camps, Sobibor, and what happened there. Anna has deftly created fictional characters to play out the drama surrounding real places and events. Another great aspect of the novel is that Beth and her family are Quakers. It was very interesting to read about their practice of worship and their beliefs about war.
This rewarding novel leaves us waiting for more of the story. As Anna notes, one would not know the fate of friends and relatives who disappeared (whether by escape or arrest) during the war. So we are set up for sequels to finish the story.
I highly recommend this well crafted historical novel of World War II in Germany.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Book Group Network for the purpose of this review.
The Nazi's occupied Germany during WWII and Hitler reigns terror in the hearts of the people. The story revolves around Beth, an American Quaker Pacifist, who lives with her uncle. Beth left America to care for her aunt who had been sick and with a young daughter needed help. Her uncle was a professor in Munich. He invited a young medical student, Josef, to rent a room in their home. Josef's father was a high ranking German official. Tension develops as the aunt is sure that Josef is there to spy on them and warns Beth to not get too friendly with him. Food is hard to get, very little money available, and danger is ever present as families disappear. Shades are pulled very early each night; sirens go off daily; and times are hard. Beth and Josef fall in love, but is he a spy sent to bring disaster on their household? Josef even takes Beth to meet his family. Is this all part of the plan? Hitler's reign of terror is everywhere including anyone who is even remotely suspicious of being part of an insurrection against the Germans. Beth is kind to everyone and even gave her passport away to someone who needed to get out of the country. Will their love survive or will they even live to talk about the events of Hitler's reign?? Buy the book and read all about it. This is the first book in the Peacemakers and is well written, exciting, and the writing is excellent. I received the book from BookFun.org to review and this is my honest opinion. CBD is a great place to purchase this book. Bookaholic, GA
All God’s Children is a story of heroism in the most terrifying of all circumstances. In a time where the world is at war and trust is a word that no one remembers, the story of Beth and Josef unwinds. With exceptional storytelling, Anna Schmidt delivers a heart wrenching tale of the horrors of war, the strength of friendship and the incredible power of love all the while, interlacing true historical facts. It was nail biting suspense and a great recounting that one person can make a difference. This book was a great reminder that we can never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust. I was not familiar with the ways of the Quaker faith and found their silent prayers inspiring. I truly enjoyed the book and am anxiously awaiting the next in the series. I received a copy of this book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
All God's Children is the first book of a trilogy concerning a set of families living in Nazi Germany. It is a suspenseful, sit on the edge of your seat, rewarding book. The history learned in this book is fascinating and very new to this history buff. The story revolves around an American, Beth, who lived with her German aunt, uncle, and cousin while her aunt is ill. The family are Quakers. Beth meets a German doctor whose father is a high government official. The two of them begin participating in the underground movement. It was a great story and I can't wait to read the next book. This is the first book of Anna Schmidt's I have read but it is certainly not my last. I recieved my book from the Book Club Network for my honest review.
What an enthralling novel! All God's Children is the first book in a trilogy and I can assure you that I will be reading the next two books. The author did a fantastic job of taking me back to Nazi occupied Germany in this tale of two young people and how they worked to affect change in such trying times.
Beth is a young woman who lives with her aunt, uncle and cousin in Munich. Although Beth is an American, she chooses to stay with her relatives and care for her aunt, who has some health issues. Their family is a Quaker family and attempts to stay neutral during the war.
Josef is a young medical student who begins renting a room with Beth's family toward the beginning of the book. As a former soldier, the tension that this brings into the family household is strong.
As the war continues, Beth and Josef begin to realize that they feel more than friendship towards each other. Will Beth's belief that every person is one of God's children and her desire to help those being persecuted by the Nazi government bring these two closer together with a renewed spirit and purpose, or drive them apart?
I really enjoyed this book. I learned a lot about the Quaker faith and enjoyed the author's note at the end of the book. I am so impressed to learn that certain people in this story were actually real people and that certain events in this book really happened. The characters and situations they were put into were believable and very interesting to read about.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing, Inc. through The Book Club Network in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
This is the first in a series dealing with a resistance movement during WWII in Germany called the White Rose. The other two books in the series are titled, Simple Faith, due to be released in the spring of 2014 and Safe Haven, which has no release date yet. This first novel is begins in the fall/winter of 1942. Beth Bridgewater has been living in Munich, Germany for the last eight years, helping her anxiety-ridden frail aunt raise her 8-year-old daughter. Beth is an American citizen, but she is without her visa papers and therefore in constant danger of being arrested. Her uncle teaches at the nearby university. Beth, her aunt and uncle are Quakers and under suspicion by Germans loyal to Hitler due to their pacifist stance. Uncle Franz invites a former student, Josef Buch, a doctor, to live with them temporarily while he continues his studies. He is also a member of the German army, so Beth and her aunt are very uncomfortable having him in their home. Soon Beth and Franz begin to trust Josef. Beth seems to always impulsively befriend those in need without thinking of the repercussions to her and others. Josef Buch admires Beth from afar and knows a relationship between them is not possible, but he can’t help his feelings for her. Does she feel the same? He knows his being a soldier makes her uncomfortable, but is gladdened when she shows some signs of trusting him. He is living with his former professor as he can’t live at home with his parents. His father is a high-ranking member of the Gestapo and Josef is at odds with how the Gestapo is running the country. Josef is to Germany, not necessarily Hitler and certainly opposes his racial extermination policies. While there were tension-filled moments and the fear was almost palpable at times, I didn’t feel like Beth should have been experiencing these issues because she should have been sent home. Surely her uncle and aunt should have been thinking of the safety of their American niece since the war had started in 1939. Why was she still in Germany when the story starts in 1942? I didn’t like the aspect of Beth seeking the “Inner Light” before making some decisions. There is also the matter of having to take an issue to a clearance committee before making a decision or having a general consensus tell a person what to do in any given situation is central to Quaker thinking as portrayed in this story, but Beth encounters situations that require quick decisions and I did like that she made her decisions with her heart and didn’t stick to a strict legalistic religion. She did what she thought God would have her do, which I applaud; however, I still couldn’t really connect with this story or the characters.
As a history teacher, I am always frustrated when I read a book of "historical" fiction and the author either has done little research or he or she plays loose with the facts. This is not the case with All God's Children. This is a well researched book on life in Germany during WWII. We are introduced to a Quaker family, trying to love their neighbors and stay out of the current conflict. When the family takes in a border, who is a student at the University, they begin to be drawn into the conflict. This border is also a commissioned officer in the German army with a father who is a high government official. Among the members of the Quaker family is Beth, an American, who has spent the last eight years caring for her ailing aunt and assisting with the raising of her lively young cousin. When confronted with the evil taking place within their country, each of them must make a decision as to how they will serve a higher calling. The work of the German dissenters in the White Rose was so admirable. I also had to look up the little known event of the escape from Sobibor. Thank you Anna Schmidt for teaching me a new lesson in history. This is the first of a trilogy. I am anxiously looking forward to the further story of Beth and Josef, Franz and his family. I received this book from the Book Club Network
Beth went to visit family in Germany. While there war is declared between Germany and America. Beth becomes separated from her aunt, uncle and niece when they are being hunted by the Germans. Being Quakers they are opposed to the war but try to stay impartial. Beth comes home and finds that her uncle has rented out the attic to a German soldier. A former student of her uncle's. Beth and Josef form an attraction but Beth doesn't know if he is spying on them or who he says he is. After all, his father is high in the German government. Read about the hardships, the death camps, trying to hide from the soldiers. Read and find out if Beth and Josef are able to survive WWII. There are lose strings in the story but the author is making this into a series. Personally, I'm looking forward to the 2nd book. I truly enjoyed this book.
I received this book through The Book Club Network.org to read, review and leave my honest opinion. I truly enjoyed this and recommend it to anyone that enjoys a young Christian love, WWII told from the Germans' side.
The novel is the first of three concerning the characters we meet in this book. Beth, an American of German descent, is in Munich living with and helping her German aunt, uncle and cousin. She is caught up in the horror of living in Nazi Germany, and as an American, she is an enemy of the state. This was a fascinating picture of the life of good, decent Germans who wanted to bring their homeland back to prewar values and the risks they took to try to do the right thing at a very wrong time. We learn a great deal about Beth and her Quaker faith as well as underground resistance within Germany. There are great characters, lots of suspense and intrigue, heroism and romance. Great story that makes me eager to read the next volume to be released in Spring of 2014
This is the first book of Anna Schmidts' that I have read, and I see that it's the first in The Peacemakers series. Can't wait to read more. As a young lady in her early twenties Beth Bridgewater has lived with her aunt and uncle in Germany for 8 years, even though she is from the U.S. At the present time of the story it is in the middle of WWII. Beth and all her family are Quakers, The Religious Society of Friends, and they do not believe in guns, war, or anything that goes with it. Beth's goal is to take care of her 8 yr. old cousin, who is a very active little girl. This causes quite a friction when a young man moves into the house, into the attic, and he wears a German soldier uniform. These two start a friendship which is fraught with danger, fear, and hiding. Their two lives become intertwined like no one else's. The whole book from start to finish will get your attention and hold it until the very last page. I loved that this book was set in Germany and from the view of two young adults, who would normally be on two different sides. I would recommend this book wholeheartedly. I'm giving it five stars. It is superbly written and lots of plots and subplots keep you reading. I received this book from BookFun in exchange for my honest opinion.
Oh my, I think I want to cry; this is such a wonderful story, great plot and awesome characters. I love that Josef and Beth took a stance against evil and were a blessing to others; they are truly peacemakers. I also enjoyed how their relationship developed throughout the story.
This was a horrible time, but there were many people who made the decision to stand for what was right and I believe this book highlighted this and I can't wait to read the other books in this series.
Thank you Anna for a wonderful book.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy The Book Club Network for my honest review.
There were less than two hundred members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Germany at the outbreak of World War Two, and they managed to save over 1000 lives. The American and British Friends were awarded the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in post-war Germany. There are some fascinating stories about the actions of Quakers in Hitler’s Germany, but All God’s Children is not one of them.
There are advantages and disadvantages to receiving advance copies of books to review. The advantage is free ebooks and the chance to discover and recommend new authors (and new-to-me) authors. The disadvantage is that I only have the book cover and publisher’s blurb on which to base my decision: I don’t have the opportunity to browse the first few pages and decide if it’s going to be something I’ll enjoy.
I was attracted by the blurb to All God’s Children:
As World War II erupts, Beth Bridgewater, a Quaker pacifist, and Josef Buch, a passionate German Patriot, join together in nonviolent resistance of the Nazis—and in love. Does their love stand a chance in the midst of such evil. . .if they even survive at all?
“As World War II erupts …”. England declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939, after Germany’s invasion of Poland. This was followed by Germany’s stampede across Western Europe, invading neutral Holland before driving the retreating Allied forces into the sea at Dunkirk. Hitler then turned his attentions to Crete, Russia and Africa before the Americans finally joined the fight after the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.
Yet All God’s Children opens in Munich, Germany, in July 1942, almost three years after the outbreak of war (which the German Quaker meeting had predicted ). Then why had Beth not returned home to American in 1939? She originally arrived in Germany in 1934 to care for her young cousin, as her aunt was too frail after the birth. Apparently, she was still too frail in 1939, and is not yet recovered when the story opens in 1942. I just wanted to shake Beth’s aunt and uncle for their self-centredness (in contrast to their stated Quaker beliefs) and for their complete lack of attention to national events. If Aunt Isle really was so frail, why did the family not use the Quaker networks to leave Germany before the outbreak of war?
I could go on. I found a lot of inconsistencies and unanswered questions, but to include them would both make this review longer than it is already, and would give spoilers. Suffice to say that while All God’s Children is full of internal and external conflict, I thought it all seemed contrived for the purposes of a story. It didn’t grab me, and I never felt these could be real people (which is a common factor in books I enjoy). I didn’t care at all what happened to any of these characters, and I only finished the book because I had to. If I had been able to browse before downloading it for review, then I don’t think I’d have got past the opening paragraph.
Anna Schmidt’s previous books have been Amish romance, and Beth is reminiscient of an Amish heroine: loyal and Godly, but entirely wilful, naïve about life outside her immediate family, and entirely unengaging. Because I couldn’t bring myself to like Beth, I couldn’t see why Josef was interested in her. I’m not sure if All God’s Children is supposed to be historical romance or historical fiction. I certainly didn’t feel it succeeded as a romance.
I liked Josef: he was intelligent, brave and loyal. But I couldn’t see that he had any religious faith or belief: it seemed his faith was in the Germany he grew up in. And even Josef, my favourite character, was rather two-dimensional. The only character I was interested in learning more about was Josef’s father, a high ranking member of the Gestapo. Why were the beliefs of father and son so different? Or were they? I got the impression that Herr Buch was hiding a secret, and that would make an interesting story...
Having said all that, the writing was strong and there was a tangible sense of the fear and tension those living in Germany during the war were subject to. For those of you who are interested in this period, or who like your historical fiction to be based on historical fact, I recommend the Secret of the Rose series by Michael Phillips or the Zion Chronicles by Bodie and Brock Thone (the writing style of both series is a bit dated, but the characters and storytelling are excellent).
Thanks to the Barbour Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Anna Schmidt, in her new book, “All God’s Children” Book One in The Peacemakers series published by Barbour Publishing introduces us to Beth Bridgewater.
From the back cover: For Beth, a dream turns into a nightmare.
Beth Bridgewater, a German American, finds herself in a nightmare as World War II erupts—a war in which she takes no side, for she is a Quaker pacifist. Just as she gains opportunity to escape Germany, Beth decides to stay to help the helpless. Meanwhile, Josef Buch, a passionately patriot German, is becoming involved in his own secret ways of resisting the Nazis. . . . Despite their differences, Beth and Josef join together in nonviolent resistance—and in love. Does their love stand a chance. . .if they even survive at all?
I happen to enjoy history and Ms. Schmidt has loaded history into “All God’;s Children”. All I knew about Quakers was the movie that starred Gary Cooper It was very interesting to learn about their beliefs and practices. I really enjoyed the character of Josef Buch. What a puzzle he turns out to be. For a while there we have no idea of what side he is really working on. It becomes super exciting when Josef and Beth team up for non-violent resistance to the Nazis. I think you are really going to enjoy this one. And I am looking forward to the next book in this series with enthusiasm. Well Done!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Barbour Publishing. 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.”
All God's Children is the sort of book that immerses you in the period and embeds the characters in your heart.
From the first page in I connected with this book...the very tone and cadence was perfect for this story.
I read the first 98 pages in one sitting, then turned to a family member nearby and said with delight: "Oh, this book is good. This book is so good."
All God's Children is a rich reading experience, but I hate to use that phrase because this book takes us into a world that should never have existed, that we must never forget was allowed to exist: Nazi Germany.
This story is properly frightening at times, as we consider events that are too easy to reduce to mere "lessons of history."
It is scary to think of children being forced into state schools and turned into informants against their family and their faith.
It is disturbing to think about losing our freedom of speech.
It is saddening to think about local law enforcement and a nation's military no longer protecting its citizens, but attacking and persecuting them. It is sobering to think about a government whose leaders view themselves as the arbitrary givers of all rights, instead of acknowledging that they are only upholding the rights God has given everyone.
All God's Children is a human story: of tragedy and depravity and fidelity and resiliency and tenderness.
Characters who I typically see in rather black and white stereotypes were given flesh and spirit in this novel. Sometimes those committed to doing good second-guessed their convictions because of the desire to give their beloveds safety.
The man I thought would be a villain, a higher-up German official, was weary and tired and ached for it to all end because he cared about his son and loved his wife.
And in the middle of all of this, Josef and Beth find the sweetness of love and the mutual courage that comes from shared purpose.
All God's Children. You need to obtain this book and place it on your shelf up there next to The Zion Chronicles. That's how good this historical fiction is, it belongs up there with the greats.
Thank you Barbour for my copy of this book to review.
I very rarely ignore a WWII book that catches my eye – and I'm glad I didn't pass by All God's Children.
I enjoy reading of the secrecy and intrigue of that time, and especially of those who put their own lives in danger to help those truly in harm's way. I actually liked the uncertainty of Josef's allegiance through much of the book, being a German soldier and having a high-ranking Gestapo father; it kept suspense in the storyline as I didn't think leaflet printing felt all that dangerous (it was, it just didn't feel as suspenseful as other activities that took place during the war). I held out hope through the whole book that maybe his father was in the resistance, too...?
I can't remember when I first heard of Sobibor, but for me, it seems to be a lesser-known camp. I loved that the author chose that camp as Beth and Josef's punishment. If you know it's history, you might guess the couple's outcome...
I thought All God's Children ended satisfactorily, as WWII books often have threads that don't all tie up, due to the nature of the time. But, how glad I was to read the author's note to see that she has a book 2 and 3 planned to continue some of the unfinished characters' stories...and I have every intention of reading them!
*I received a free e-copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine.*