Under the Same Blue Sky by Pamela Schoenwaldt:
Can I just take a moment to say how much I love the main character Hazel? She is everything I want to be – strong, passionate, courageous and morally right. Despite her German roots in a society that is quickly drawing lines between German and American – she remains a consistent force in spreading Peace. She strives to bring peace to the children in her life and teach them compassion, not war. She loves Ben and Tom easily and completely exactly as they are, without the frillyness of youth. She rises to challenges time and time again – first with teaching, and then with her work with the Baron. She forgives her father and her mother effortlessly, able to understand something far beyond her years. She refuses to let her Mother’s legacy dictate her life, despite her concern that it will anyway. She is tender and kind. I loved following her journey, and was constantly in awe of her ability to roll with the punches life threw at her. When her love returns, beaten and damaged, she embraces him wholly exactly the way he is. To me, this is a much more realistic love story than so much of what I read.
The book’s writing style itself was OK – while I LOVED the characters, and I appreciated that it remained true to the historical time it was placed in – there were a couple things that were a large focus of parts of the book and then left unfinished (almost abandoned as though the author meant to remove them from the book) and that makes it feel incomplete.
I think the main themes in the book are strong and clear: enduring, thriving, forgiving, loving and living. Hazel endures so many challenges, but continues to push through them all. She thrives at what she does, forgives easily, loves and lives with purpose. It is a good read, and I doubt anyone can read it without falling in love with Hazel.