For some of us, the past is the past. Who we were and the choices that we made at that point in our lives is no longer of consequence. That is, until the past rears is head back into our lives.
In Jenna Blum’s 2004 novel, Those Who Save us, Anna Schlemmer emigrated to America from Germany just after World War II with her American soldier husband and young daughter. Fifty years later, her husband is dead and Anna is determined to let the past remain in the past. But her now grown daughter, Trudy, is a professor of German history and curious about her mother’s past. Finding an old photograph of herself and her mother with a German officer, Trudy is determined to find out the secrets that her mother has been hiding for half a century.
This book is remarkable. While normally I would say that a slow narrative does not bode well for finishing a novel, the slow burn towards the end of the story is well worth the emotional payoff that ends the novel. Adding to the suspense is the sometimes tenuous relationship between middle-aged Trudy and senior Anna.
I absolutely recommend it.