I received this book for free from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies That Outlast War
Author Phyllis Edgerly Ring
Publisher Whole Sky Books
Publication Date November 14th 2015
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.
The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring is an elegant historical fiction novel of Eva Braun. Besides being Adolph Hitler’s mistress (and short-lived wife) little is known about this woman in history.
The Munich Girl is essentially a story of discovering oneself and is shared in three parts.
First, of course, is Eva. Phyllis Edgerly Ring stripped her away from cyanide and showed her as a real person. Eva was vulnerable and so very young. I felt sorry for her as she floated along in a constant waiting game. However, she had an unbridled strength and could see the girl waiting to emerge.
Second was Peggy, the woman who befriends Ava. She was as filled with secrets as Miss Braun. Learning of Peggy’s past was like peeling back an onion. Each layer was more complexed than the last and gave more questions than answers.
Last was Anna, she was left with the task of piecing the puzzle together and discovering how much Ava Braun changed the course of her life and in a sense led to rediscovery.
Hannes is the love interest in the novel and the connector to the erector set. It is he, not our heroines who truly encourages Anna to move forward with her research. However, Hannes holds secrets of his own on the brink of a reveal. He contains the remaining piece of a burning answer Anna and the reader have been looking for.
Historical fiction novels that are told in past and present tense can be tricky. If not done right they can be jerky and painful to read. This was not the case in The Munich Girl. Peggy’s diary entries were applied seamlessly blending past with the present. I yearned to enter the streets of 1940s Germany and discover the meaning behind a simple portrait and view the forging of an unlikely friendship. Phyllis Edgerly Ring has written a superbly researched novel of a historical figure whose’ story is impeccably told.
“I was drawn in by Phyllis Ring’s economical and expressive language. Then the story took over! Protagonist Anna Dahlberg must face the emotional fallout from a traumatic plane crash, while simultaneously uncovering the first clues in a shocking generational mystery involving key players in the Third Reich. Everything’s complicated by a new romance that may help her overcome the past and find her true inner strength. But is it real? Love can manifest itself in enigmatic–and unexpected–ways.” -Elizabeth Sims, author and contributing editor at Writer’s Digest magazine
“… fresh perspective of German women at opposing ends of the warring spectrum … a beautiful story of enduring friendship and the lengths people will go to for love.” -The Stellar Review
“So persuasive is this novel that, before I could believe it was in fact a piece of fiction, I contacted the author and asked where she did her research and where she came up with the idea.” -Leslie Handler, The Philadelphia Inquirer
A writer of fiction and nonfiction, Phyllis Edgerly Ring watches for the noblest possibilities in the human heart. She’s always curious to discover how history, culture, relationship, spirituality, and the natural world influence us and point the way for the human family on its shared journey. Her childhood years in Germany left her with the deep desire to understand the experience of Germans during the Second World War. She has studied plant sciences and ecology, worked as a nurse, been a magazine writer and editor, taught English to kindergartners in China, and served as program coordinator at a Baha’i conference center.