The Last Year of the War

The Last Year of the War

Book - 2019 | First edition.
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From the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and As Bright as Heaven comes a novel about a German American teenager whose life changes forever when her immigrant family is sent to an internment camp during World War II.

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.
Publisher: New York : Berkley, 2019.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780451492159
Characteristics: 389 pages ; 24 cm


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Jun 11, 2021

An unusual and engaging look at WWII.

Jun 07, 2021

I loved this well-written book. Either I forgot or missed the lessons on American history dealing with internment camps in America. More than likely, it was not taught in schools as that slice of history was shameful.

Susan Meissner is to commended for her sensitive handling of this matter. A book well worth immersing oneself in. I highly recommend it.

Apr 08, 2021

Excellent book. I’ve read several WWII books so almost passed this one up, but it was from a new perspective on the war. I was hooked from the beginning, and I learned so much about what happened to some American German families during and after WWII, while reading a story in which I cared so much about the characters. As my husband is a WWII buff too, I shared with him what I was learning while reading the book. He found it very interesting and new information for him too. He even asked me what was happening to the young woman- did she get out of Germany? How? What?? The storyline flowed so well, not jumping back and forth with perspectives by different characters. It reads so much like an autobiography, I had to remind myself it was fiction. All seemed very believable. I’ll be reading more by this author.

Apr 08, 2021

really enjoyed the book and learning more of the immigrant families that
were sent to internment camps during WW11
Such good inspiring and thought stirring lines throughout book!

Jan 24, 2021

this story is filled with anguish and family and friendship the internment of families during the war is beyond understanding childrens mental suffering and lost friendships parted by nationality a great read might read it again

JCLPiepieB Dec 14, 2020

This story of two kindred spirits became more powerful the more I read it. This is the type of novel that will leave an impact. I absolutely LOVED Hugh and Elise!

Aug 18, 2020

rec for same timeframe as "Secrets of a Charmed Life"

Mar 07, 2020

One of my favorites of 2019!

Jan 28, 2020

Bernice’s suggestion!

Dec 29, 2019

One of the best books I have read. Excellent. Not sure about the negative comments that the story takes a while to get moving. Right from the first pages I was hooked and it didn’t stop. You will not be disappointed with time spent on this one.

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