Lindas Book Obsession Reviews "The Last Year of the War" by Susan Meissner, Berkley, March 2019 WOW! WOW!WOW! Susan Meissner, Author of "The Last Year of the War" has written an amazing, unique, riveting, captivating, intense, heart-breaking, emotional and intriguing novel. Susan Meissner describes vividly the characters, events and landscape in a period in United States History that is often not openly discussed as it should be. The Genres of this Novel and Historical Fiction and Fiction. The story takes place during World War Two, mostly in the United States, but also takes place in Japan and Germany. The timeline goes to the past or future when it pertains to the characters or events in the story. The authors describe her characters as complex and complicated due to the circumstances in the story. Elise Sontag is an American citizen of German Descent. She goes to school, and lives an American life. Elise doesn't speak German. When the war breaks out, her German father, a legal United States resident is arrested. and regarded as a spy. He is eventually sent with the rest of the family to Crystal City Internment Camp in Texas. Elise meets a special friend Mariko Inoue, a Japanese American teen who also is in the Internment Camp. Mariko writes a story and wants Elise to help her find an ending. I appreciate the hours of research that Susan Meissner has done to tell this story. Can you imagine two American teenagers imprisoned because of their backgrounds in the war? Although there was shopping , stores, schools and hospitals, the camp was surrounded by barbed wire. In the last year of the war, many of the German and Japanese families that were held in the camp, were sent back to Japan and Germany. Germany was being bombed by the Allies, and Elise is at a loss, since she doesn't speak German. Will Elise and Mariko keep their promise to be friends? I highly recommend this novel to readers who appreciate World War Two and the unique part of history . Be warned, keep some Kleenex on hand. Edit
About This Item
Elise Sontag is a typical Iowa fourteen-year-old in 1943—aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity.
The only thing that makes the camp bearable is meeting fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, whose friendship empowers Elise to believe the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Together in the desert wilderness, Elise and Mariko hold tight the dream of being young American women with a future beyond the fences.
But when the Sontag family is exchanged for American prisoners behind enemy lines in Germany, Elise will face head-on the person the war desires to make of her. In that devastating crucible she must discover if she has the will to rise above prejudice and hatred and re-claim her own destiny, or disappear into the image others have cast upon her.
The Last Year of the War tells a little-known story of World War II with great resonance for our own times and challenges the very notion of who we are when who we’ve always been is called into question.
Penguin Publishing Group
|Number of Pages|
The Last Year of the War
|Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)|
9.25 x 6.32 x 1.29 Inches
Lindas Book Obsession ...
A friendship made in a...
A friendship made in an internment camp during WWII that lasted only eighteen months, but bonds and memories that lasted a lifetime. Elise and Mariko met during WWII while attending school in an internment camp for Japanese and German Americans. We follow both girls through their eighteen months in the camp as well as after even though the friends never saw each other again until they were older adults. They tried to connect with each other, but they never were able to. At this time in their lives, Elise was suffering from dementia, and she found out Mariko was dying from stage four breast cancer. Even though Elise had trouble remembering things, she remembered enough to find Mariko, to get on a plane, and to find her before they both were no longer alive. THE LAST YEAR OF THE WAR is a marvelous history lesson and a testament to enduring friendship and learning lessons and making decisions. The subject matter wasn't light, but it was wonderful learning more about this time in history. I actually wasn't aware of all that happened. It is very obvious that Ms. Meissner did extensive research and perfectly fit the facts into her book. If you enjoy historical fiction and Ms. Meissner's books, you will want to make room on your bookshelf for THE LAST YEAR OF THE WAR. As all of her books, the beautiful flow of Ms. Meissner's writing and her attention to detail make the book a treat to read. 5/5 This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The year is 1943 and 1...
The year is 1943 and 14 year old Elise is living a normal teenage life in Iowa. Her parents immigrated from Germany years before but hadn't gotten their citizenship yet. They still have family in Germany and are worried about them but their lives are far removed from the war on a day to day basis. UNTIL, Elsie's father is arrested as a possible German spy and sent to an internment camp. Soon Elsie and her mother join him at the camp. Life behind barbed wire is difficult for the children in the camp - who have only known life as Americans - and there is a definite division in the school between the Japanese and the Germans. Elsie and Mariko (a Japanese American teenager from California) become friends and that friendship helps make life in the internment camp bearable for both of them until a forced separation makes life unbearable. This is a wonderful, well-written, extremely well researched novel. The character of Elsie is so well written that I cried with her during parts of her story. She is not a character that I will soon forget. I love reading historical fiction and learning history that I didn't know. I knew about the Japanese being sent to internment camps but had no idea that there were Germans sent to camps, too, and I had no idea that some of them were returned to their original country during the war. This is a fantastic book about little known situations with characters who stay in your mind. I highly recommend this new book by the wonderful Susan Meissner. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
This novel about the f...
This novel about the friendship of two young girls in a WWII internment camp stretches across decades and tells a story of internment and repatriation. The children of German and Japanese parents, Elise and Mariko first met in Crystal City, Texas, where their parents are interned. They forge a friendship despite the tensions between the Germans and Japanese at Crystal City - a friendship that is severely tested when first Elise's and then Mariko's families are repatriated to Germany and Japan. Despite being raised in the United States and being American citizens, Elise and Mariko find themselves traveling with their families to their parents' home countries - in the middle of a war. While I knew that repatriation occurred during WWII, this novel really brought home to me what that process actually meant for the families that experienced it. Overall, this was an engaging novel and highly recommended for WWII historical fiction fans.
The Last Year of the W...
The Last Year of the War has an interesting premise about families interned in a camp during World War II. I like that we get to experience it from a young girl's perspective. Elise and Mariko were both born in the United States. They enjoy the latest music, going to the movies, chatting with their girlfriends and eating Twinkies. Suddenly, their lives are forever changed. They are taken away from their homes, their friends and extended family and thrust into a new world. They live in small apartments without showering facilities, but there are shops, vegetable gardens, different types of schools, a pool and other amenities. They have everything they need except the freedom to leave. I found it intriguing to learn the details of internment camps (information not included in history class). We get to see how people's lives changed overnight and how they had no control over their future. I found The Last Year of the War to be well-written with developed characters. I did find the pace to be on the slow side. The story alternates between 2010 and the past. Just when you get involved in the past, we jump back to the present (and vice versa). It was a little disconcerting. I would then have to remember where we left off in the past and what had happened. When I finished the story, though, I could see why the author laid it out in this manner. The author captured the time period especially with her descriptions of the devastation in Germany. I can tell that she did her research for this novel (very evident). I especially appreciated the information she included at the end of the book (author's note). I wish there had been more emotion in the story. That is the one thing it lacked. The Last Year of the War is a good book, but it is not my favorite by this author (Lady in Waiting and The Shape of Mercy are two of my favorites). I am giving The Last Year of the War 4 out of 5 stars. Those readers who love historical fiction will find The Last Year of the War to be a compelling novel. The Last Year of the War is a story of hope, friendship, promises and staying true to ourselves.
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