The Good at Heart

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Title: The Good at Heart
Author: Ursula Werner 
Pages: 320
Publishing: February 21st 2017 by Touchstone
ISBN: 1501147579

Summary: 

Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this stunning debut novel takes place over three days when World War II comes to the doorstep of an ordinary German family living in an idyllic, rural village near the Swiss border.

When World War II breaks out, Edith and Oskar Eberhardt move their family—their daughter, Marina; son-in-law, Franz; and their granddaughters—out of Berlin and into a small house in the quiet town of Blumental, near Switzerland. A member of Hitler’s cabinet, Oskar is gone most of the time, and Franz begins fighting in the war, so the women of the house are left to their quiet lives in the picturesque village.

But life in Blumental isn’t as idyllic as it appears. An egotistical Nazi captain terrorizes the citizens he’s assigned to protect. Neighbors spy on each other. Some mysteriously disappear. Marina has a lover who also has close ties to her family and the government. Thinking none of them share her hatred of the Reich, she joins a Protestant priest smuggling Jewish refugees over the nearby Swiss border. The latest “package” is two Polish girls who’ve lost the rest of their family, and against her better judgment, Marina finds she must hide them in the Eberhardt’s cellar. Everything is set to go smoothly until Oskar comes home with the news that the F├╝hrer will be visiting the area for a concert, and he will be making a house call on the Eberhardts.

Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this extraordinary debut, full of love, tragedy, and suspense, is a sensitive portrait of a family torn between doing their duty for their country and doing what’s right for their country, and especially for those they love.

Review: 

I am a lover of all things history, so when I was asked to review The Good at Heart, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. The story follows a family as they fight to do what is best for their family while attempting to obey the rules of their country as well. "Attempting" is the key word here folks. Some of the family members become involved in smuggling refugees across the border and the entire family is put at risk. 

I loved the characters and truly enjoyed each of their personalities. The younger daughters were so entertaining and I loved Rosie's spunk and joyful spirit. All of the characters held my attention, but Marina's story was especially intriguing. I found myself constantly wanting to know more about her, and I secretly wished I had her fearless attitude. She fought for what she believed in and loved without boundaries. I found that to be incredibly refreshing. 

All in all, The Good at Heart is a beautifully written and touching novel about family bonds, love, and heartbreak. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Werner's debut novel and would recommend it to readers who love historical novels. 

Rating 3/5

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