1938, Salzburg. A powerful story of hope, forbidden love, and incredible courage, about three sisters who will risk everything—even their own lives—as part of the resistance movement in Nazi-occupied Austria.
Johanna, Birgit and Lotte Eder have always lived quiet lives, working in their father’s clockmaking shop and helping their mother in the house. But like many other Austrians, they find it impossible to ignore the changes in the world around them.
At first Johanna finds it hard to believe the Nazis pose a real threat. But then her father hires Franz to help in his shop. He’s kind and soulful, with dark eyes that twinkle with intelligence. But he’s Jewish, and as Johanna falls for him, she realizes that loving him puts them all in danger.
Then comes the Anschluss—the reunification of Austria and Germany under Nazi rule. The three sisters’ lives have become ever more separate with Lotte joining the convent at Nonnberg Abbey and Birgit’s secret involvement with the Resistance. But as Johanna realizes how mistaken she was about the level of danger, she begins to see that it may be down to her to protect the man she loves.
She knows that she can’t do it alone though. She will have to turn to the people she trusts the most: her sisters.
The three of them work together to try to get Franz to the safety of Switzerland, and they soon prove invaluable to the Resistance. But they’re risking everything. Can three women who would die for each other, also be prepared to die for what is right?
The sisters’ subsequent journey from Nazi-occupied Salzburg to the devastating concentration camps of Ravensbruck and Mauthausen will show the strength of human spirit like never before. As, out of the darkness, a tiny seed of hope flowers…
A totally heartbreaking and impossibly powerful story about love, tragedy, and the power of humanity. Perfect for fans of The Nightingale, The Lilac Girls and The Sound of Music.
Once again, Kate Hewitt has brought me to tears with her newest WWII release, The Edelweiss Sisters. This is a story not only steeped in sadness, tragedy, but a story filled with life, family, courage, love and faith.
Johanna, the eldest of the Eder sisters, wants more out of life than in becoming an exact replica of her mother by taking care of the home, cooking, cleaning and raising babies. She would love to go to school and become a secretary. Brigit, the middle child, often feels ignored and invisible and to stave off that feeling, she becomes an apprentice to her fathers clockmaking shop. Lotte, the baby of the trio is attending music school, but her passion is not in music it is with the church.
Trouble is brewing on the horizon with Hitler, but the sisters feel that a potential war will never touch them as far as they are in Austria. They were wrong. When Austia comes into power under Nazi rule, the sisters will band together in solidarity to protect those considered less than desirable under the Nazi regime. Franz Weber, an apprentice to the sisters’ father happens to be Jewish and Brigit, Lotte and Johanna will do everything in their power to make sure he reaches the safety of Switzerland.
The opening prologue really draws the reader in when a baby is left on the doorstep to an Abbey. Who is the mother of this child? Is it one of the three sisters? The story then winds back to the second half of the 1930’s and is told through alternating points of view between all three sisters. One can not help but find strength and courage within the sisters even when they feel hopeless and defeated. You can easily fall in love with each of the sisters and hope for the best for all three of them.
I do seem to read a lot of WWII stories and while many of them follow the same plot to a certain extent, Hewitt adds something fresh to The Edelweiss Sisters and it is in learning more about the resistance and how courageous many women were to help those less fortunate than themselves even at the cost of their own lives if they were caught. The resilience of these women is astounding.
If you love WWII stories or just love Kate Hewitt’s books in general, then you definitely WILL want to pick up a copy of this well written and fantastic five star read.