Title: The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies That Outlast War
Author: Phyllis Edgerly Ring
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: ARC sent by author
My rating: 4/5
“Anna Dahlberg grew up eating dinner under her father’s war-trophy portrait of Eva Braun. Fifty years after the war, she discovers what he never did—that her mother and Hitler’s mistress were friends. The secret surfaces with a mysterious monogrammed handkerchief, and a man, Hannes Ritter, whose Third Reich family history is entwined with Anna’s. Plunged into the world of the “ordinary” Munich girl who was her mother’s confidante—and a tyrant’s lover—Anna finds her every belief about right and wrong challenged. With Hannes’s help, she retraces the path of two women who met as teenagers, shared a friendship that spanned the years that Eva Braun was Hitler’s mistress, yet never knew that the men they loved had opposing ambitions. Eva’s story reveals that she never joined the Nazi party, had Jewish friends, and was credited at the Nuremberg Trials with saving 35,000 Allied lives. As Anna’s journey leads back through the treacherous years in wartime Germany, it uncovers long-buried secrets and unknown reaches of her heart to reveal the enduring power of love in the legacies that always outlast war.”
Such a beautiful and moving infusion of a mother and daughter’s stories, celebrating their heritage and the unlikely relationships made. Yes, this story gives the background of Eva Braun but is much more than the history of her relationship with Hitler and more about growing into yourself and appreciating and fighting for ones family and friends. I didn’t expect to be as emotionally attached as I was. Additionally, Ring incorporates some unique twists that in the end wind into me believing that’s everything happens for a reason and what may see random and irrelevant becomes groundbreaking.
As someone who doesn’t delve into history too often, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed a different perspective during this time in world history – also my only experience in this time period with novels is The Diary of Anne Frank. I appreciated the integration of the main character’s mother’s manuscript, a diary of sort, providing personal accounts and reflections pulling the story together in its entirety.
Two moving passages from the story encompasses the main take away for me – coincidentally on the same page and have a strong and clear parallel to the subtitle:
“‘Sometimes, we must outlast even what seems worse that we have imagined, because we believe in the things that are good. So that there can be good things again.'”
“‘I’m realizing now that war leaves so many different kinds of legacies…Some stay buried. Many are part-truths that become legends or myths. Many others are what we know are there but try to deny or ignore.'”
Something to ponder as I think about what is immediate and what is important in the long run.
Read The Munich Girl if you like the themes of:
- Love and friendship
- World War II