Book: The Heart Mender
Author: Andy Andrews
While digging up a withering wax myrtle tree behind his waterfront home on the Gulf Coast, author Andy Andrews unearths a rusted metal container filled with Nazi artifacts & begins an intriguing investigation that unlocks an unspoken past that took place in his backyard.... literally...
In the summer of 1942, as the country gears up for a full scale commitment to WWII, German subs are dispatched to the Gulf of Mexico to sink US vessels carrying goods & fuel for the war. While taking a late-night walk along the coastline, Helen Mason - recently widowed by the realities of war - discoveres the near lifeless body of a German sailor. Enraged at the site of Josef Landermann's uniform, Helen is prepared to leave the lieutenant to die when an unsual phrase, faintly uttered, changes her mind.
Set in a period simmering with anger & suspicion, this book offers the very real chronicle of a small town preparing itself for the worst the world has to offer. As cargo from torpedoed ships begin to wash up on the beach, Josef & Helem must reconcile their pasts in order to creat a future.
First Line: It is early summer as I sit at my desk & finally begin the process of sorting what I know to be true from what I merely suspect.
I couldnt write this review fast enough to say how much I loved this book!!!!!
First, let me say, Andy Andrews is fast becoming one of my favorite authors! With "The Noticer" & "The Time Traveler's Gift" as my favorite books as well, I thought this has to be a shoe-in...
But then I saw this book contained a lot of information about WWII & submaries & torpedos & talks of Germans & Nazi's & I thought, this isnt going to be for me. I'm not a "war" kinda reader...
I was so wrong...
With the writing & the pictures just in the first few pages, I was hooked into this story.
A story that Mr. Andrews makes note is a true story - which is amazing in itself. That there were German subs in US territory destroying US vessels... how is this something that we do not see in history books?
I put on my Facebook/Twitter that this book reminds me of a"The Notebook" - but it did hold a love story in the midst of a time of war.. to hear the story of the relationship between Helen & Josef...I was involved knowing every detail of their meeting & their life. And to think that this is all true just pushed it over the top for me as being an amazing read that has just crept up in my list of favorite books...
Here is a sample of the writing as well:
(Talking about how some of the men on German ships werent fans of Hilter)
"The Kriegsmarine had a lot of Germans... not so many Nazi's"
Noting my confusion, the old man said, "You see a difference between Americans and the Ku Klux Klan, dont you?"
"Well, there you go"
(On Helen & Josef's growing relationship)
Later, the German soldier & the American widow walked the beach, not exactly together, but at the same time. Not yet truly friends, at least they were no longer enemies.
(On the repeated lesson on "forgiveness")
We are products of our past, but we do not have to be prisoners of it.
The writing in this book is wonderful... real & understandable... gripping...
I love that Mr. Andrews dug into this story to find that people in this world have the most amazing adventures of all...
Last Line: No one will ever believe a word of it.
My Rating: 5 skeins