My Book Review: The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker

The Ragged Edge of Night by [Hawker, Olivia]The Ragged Edge of Night

Author: Olivia Hawker

Book Description: Germany, 1942. Franciscan friar Anton Starzmann is stripped of his place in the world when his school is seized by the Nazis. He relocates to a small German hamlet to wed Elisabeth Herter, a widow who seeks a marriage—in name only—to a man who can help raise her three children. Anton seeks something too—atonement for failing to protect his young students from the wrath of the Nazis. But neither he nor Elisabeth expects their lives to be shaken once again by the inescapable rumble of war. As Anton struggles to adapt to the roles of husband and father, he learns of the Red Orchestra, an underground network of resisters plotting to assassinate Hitler. Despite Elisabeth’s reservations, Anton joins this army of shadows. But when the SS discovers his schemes, Anton will embark on a final act of defiance that may cost him his life—even if it means saying goodbye to the family he has come to love more than he ever believed possible.

My Review and Thoughts:

This started out slow for me and it took to about page 40 for me to really get into the story, but I am thankful I stuck with it because I was not let down in the long run. It's a slow burn book but you slowly become apart of the characters and the ordeal and surroundings taking place in the story.

The characters are fleshed out in vivid details and descriptive word play.

The past is also weaved into the story of your main character Anton. Anton was a Catholic Friar who's order was destroyed by Nazi Germany and his order was disbanded. This order was as if an orphanage for special children. The children in the orphanage was taken away to the death camps. This reality haunts him. He claims inner darkness of being a coward. He punishes himself for the reality of the Nazi's stealing away the children and sending them to death camps. Now after serving in the war by force, he has answered an add from a woman named Elizabeth with three children seeking a husband. He finds the add to be away to redeem his inner soul in helping. Soon he is married to the woman and the story unfolds from there.

You the reader on taken on a journey of self discovery. Of heartache and a haunting past and a present of war time fears. Anton's thoughts, are displayed on pages that you can't help but feel apart of. His inner thoughts, ideas, dreams, fears, all come out in vivid thinking. You slowly meld into Anton and you as the reader become apart of him on page after page of new discoveries, new torments, passions, adventures and most all coming to terms with past mistakes or past demons. 

A wonderful thought provoking tale of coming to terms with the evil that is happening in the world and just were one stands. Anton has his inner demons, but his love for truth and peace plays deeply in his ways. Anton wants to resist the Nazi party by any means. He joins an underground secretive group that sends messages and orders secretly to one another in the resistance. His new family always on his mind. The pay is good to help support the family, but money is not the object of why he does what he does. The resistance is about doing what is right and not about giving in and going along with the horrors of the Holocaust. The reality of the resistance plays heavy on Anton knowing that one slip up or one notice by prying eyes could lead to the death of himself, but worst of all the imprisonment and death of his family.

A solid, peaceful and thoughtful story that spreads the ideas of what is right and what is wrong. It's a love story but also a story of choices and truths. It's a book that lingers deep in your soul. It's is very emotional book and a book that is true to what is right and what is wrong about hate, war and the horrors of treating people who are considered different in horrible means. This book is a slow burn book, but one that comes together to create a wonderful exploration of the truths of the heart, mind and soul.  

Also what makes this book stand out is it's based on actually events. Based on real people and real ordeals, which makes the book all the more appealing and personal to the reader. Olivia Hawker writes a beautiful tale. She becomes the story and displays the story for the reader in wonderful, touching, thoughtful and moving experiences. Olivia Hacker knows how to write a book of beauty and perfection. 

Would I return to it Again: No, once was enough but I will return to read the authors other works. She is a fantastic storyteller that leaves a lasting impression. A vivid dramatic storytelling that transcends off the pages and into the hearts and mind of the reader.

Would I Recommend: I would. I think this is a wonderful character driven book that lingers with page turning anticipation. It's a slow burn book, but one that comes together and brings forth a wonderful storytelling of imagination and thoughtful meaning. 

Four Final Words: Dramatic, Touching, Inspiring. Beautiful.

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Below is one of my Favorite moments from the book. So well written:

Chapter 6

The bells will ring, even after the Reich has fallen. Everything in me that is sensible, everything that is rational, can’t believe it’s true. The Reich will never fall; it is too strong now, too deeply rooted, fixed in the routine of life. We have accepted. We have moved along, carried on with the business of our lives, and this is what our lives have become. My days are as long and dark as night; this war will never end. The pillar of evil will stand until the last day comes, until the angel neglects to sound his horn and everything that might have been withers, forgotten on an untended vine. But when, in moments of quiet, in my stillness of despair, I dare to ask what yet may be, the black veil parts and light pours in. It strikes me to blindness with its beauty. It floods my soul with tears. O God, my Father, why do You do this to me? Can You not content Yourself to leave me in the surety of misery? You have laid bare the frail bones of my grief; You have humbled me before myself and proven to me that I am a coward, unfit for life. Yet I persist. I go on living. I will cling to hope, even knowing, as I do, that hope is worse than futile. Why this relentless, this secret optimism—this resolve, hard and hot at the base of my spine, and buried none too deep in my breast? The cancer that gnaws at us is too hungry to be sated. And I am one man—one man. Christ Jesus, I always believed You were merciful, but this is a monstrous cruelty, to make me dream of a time when evil may fall. Whatever sins have brought us here still reside in our blood, even to the third and fourth generation. Yet You said, in your boundless love and wisdom, Weeping may endure for a night—joy comes with the morning. I cannot help but know it. Against all sense, I believe. Somewhere, beyond the ragged edge of night, light bleeds into this world.