**I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
Title: Hope at Dawn
Author: Stacy Henrie
Series: Of Love and War, Book 1
Publisher: Forever Romance (Grand Central Publishing)
Purchase Info: B&N // Indie Bound // Books A Million // Amazon
With two brothers fighting in the Great War, her family needing extra money, and her boyfriend’s drinking driving a wedge between them, Livy Campbell accepts a job teaching German-American children in a nearby small town. But even there, the effects of the war can be felt as anti-German hysteria divides the town’s population. Friedrick Wagner feels shame for not fighting alongside his friends. Instead, he took a deferment to run his dying father’s farm, work as the school handyman, and provide for his younger siblings. With so much hatred surrounding him, he fears God may have forgotten him. His friendship with Livy gives him hope, but the obstacles dividing them must first be overcome.
First off, I need to take a moment to gush about this gorgeous cover! The pose and shading are so evocative of the tenor of this lovely book: gentle, elegant and heartwarming. Kudos to the art department!
This tender Inspirational Romance about the struggles of those on the homefront during The Great War (aka WWI) was a delightful detour from some of the darker books I’ve been reading lately. Not that the subject matter was light but rather the uplifting and lyrical qualities of the novel were, well … inspirational.
Hope at Dawn illuminated the plight of Americans of German descent during the anti-German hysteria of WWI, a subject matter rarely addressed in fiction. The violence and antagonism faced by citizens with ties to the German community were egregious and abhorrent. Yet mob mentality ruled the day, especially in rural America. Iowa, where this book takes place, went so far as to make it a crime to speak German in public places (including over the telephone!). The author did an excellent job researching the climate of hatred in America at the time of The Great War and portraying its effects on the characters in Hope at Dawn.
Friedrick was a wonderful character, everything you could ask for in a romantic lead: handsome, loyal, kind, courageous, and selfless. Born in America to German immigrants, he had nothing but love and respect for his country and yet was the victim of persecution from close-minded hateful bigots. He handled the adversity with quiet courage, doing what he needed to in order to protect those he loves and speaking out when the time was right. His reluctance to enter into a relationship with Livy (despite their obvious connection) was reasonable and not artificially manufactured.
Friedrick sensed he didn’t belong here [with Livy’s family]. They didn’t know what it was like to be considered an enemy to one’s country, to be forced to buy bonds they couldn’t afford, to fear losing one’s job over a careless remark. He would never fit into Livy’s world, and as hard as she’d tried, she wasn’t likely to fit into his either.
Fortunately, Friedrick’s concerns were overcome by his and Livy’s love and faith. Livy tried to understand the German community and she eventually was able to conquer her own doubts and mild prejudice. She felt conflicted having feelings for a man of German heritage when her brothers were off fighting against the Germans. I grew a little tired of her constant referral to Friedrick as a ‘German-American’ and was happy she saw him as he was – a good man, no matter where his parents were born. Her willingness to face down prejudice and speak out for Friedrick marked a significant evolution in her character.
I enjoyed how the characters’ faith informed their actions, never coming across as preachy or overbearing. Obviously since this an Inspirational Romance, there are no sexual situations. That doesn’t mean that Friedrick and Livy were a monk and a nun 😉 He still appreciated her figure and she was not above wondering what his kiss would be like (which she found out!).
I look forward to reading the next installment in Stacy Henrie’s Of Love and War series. I hope it proves as uplifting and enjoyable as Hope at Dawn.
Click on this link (or on Giveaway Kitty) to enter the Giveaway hosted on Rafflecopter.
- One Grand Prize winner will win a Victorian Locket and a print copy of Hope at Dawn.
- Ten (10) additional winners will win a print copy of Hope at Dawn.
About author Stacy Henrie:
Stacy Henrie has always had an avid appetite for history, fiction and chocolate. She earned her B.A. in public relations from Brigham Young University and worked in communications before turning her attentions to raising a family and writing inspirational historical romances. Wife of an entrepreneur husband and a stay-at-home mom to three, Stacy loves the chance to live out history through her fictional characters, while enjoying the modern conveniences of life in the 21st century. In addition to author, she is a reader, a road trip enthusiast and a novice interior decorator.
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