Christy–award winning novelist Groot (Flame of Resistance, 2012, etc.) unflinchingly examines the consequences of becoming a...



In 1864, Americus, Ga., was short on buttons and bandages but long on community and family values. Just 10 miles away, however, sat the notorious Andersonville Prison.

All delicate bones and huge blue eyes, Violet Stiles is the lodestar for Dance Pickett, a gimlet-eyed young man stationed as an Andersonville sentry. Armed with little more than whiskey and determination, Dr. Stiles, Violet’s father, daily tries to cure the incurable. He and Dance strive to keep the womenfolk—indeed, the entire community of Americus—blissfully ignorant of the unspeakable conditions at the prison. Yet Violet’s desire to do good sets her on a collision course with the truth. Looking for a package of seashells, Violet impetuously sets off to find her father at the prison hospital. Dance sees her in the distance and tries to stop her before she can witness any of the horrors. He’s too late. Violet has seen the broken Union soldiers. Perhaps worse, she’s overheard a conversation between Emery Jones and Lewis Gann. While escorting Lewis (the lone survivor of the 12th Pennsylvania militia) to the prison, Emery (a witty Confederate from Alabama) unexpectedly finds a friend. As they frankly discuss the war, Violet realizes that the Union soldiers are not the vermin she’s been led to believe they are. Distraught over the conditions at Andersonville, as well as the complacency in Americus, Violet, Dance, Emery and Dr. Stiles found the Friends of Andersonville. Intended to open the eyes of Southern citizens to the truth and to improve conditions for the soldiers held at Andersonville, the group instead challenges everyone’s moral fortitude. When mercy is seen as treason, even the heroes are endangered.

Christy–award winning novelist Groot (Flame of Resistance, 2012, etc.) unflinchingly examines the consequences of becoming a good Samaritan in this richly detailed, engrossing historical fiction.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4143-5948-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Tyndale House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as...

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An unlikely love story set amid the horrors of a Nazi death camp.

Based on real people and events, this debut novel follows Lale Sokolov, a young Slovakian Jew sent to Auschwitz in 1942. There, he assumes the heinous task of tattooing incoming Jewish prisoners with the dehumanizing numbers their SS captors use to identify them. When the Tätowierer, as he is called, meets fellow prisoner Gita Furman, 17, he is immediately smitten. Eventually, the attraction becomes mutual. Lale proves himself an operator, at once cagey and courageous: As the Tätowierer, he is granted special privileges and manages to smuggle food to starving prisoners. Through female prisoners who catalog the belongings confiscated from fellow inmates, Lale gains access to jewels, which he trades to a pair of local villagers for chocolate, medicine, and other items. Meanwhile, despite overwhelming odds, Lale and Gita are able to meet privately from time to time and become lovers. In 1944, just ahead of the arrival of Russian troops, Lale and Gita separately leave the concentration camp and experience harrowingly close calls. Suffice it to say they both survive. To her credit, the author doesn’t flinch from describing the depravity of the SS in Auschwitz and the unimaginable suffering of their victims—no gauzy evasions here, as in Boy in the Striped Pajamas. She also manages to raise, if not really explore, some trickier issues—the guilt of those Jews, like the tattooist, who survived by doing the Nazis’ bidding, in a sense betraying their fellow Jews; and the complicity of those non-Jews, like the Slovaks in Lale’s hometown, who failed to come to the aid of their beleaguered countrymen.

The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as nonfiction. Still, this is a powerful, gut-wrenching tale that is hard to shake off.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-279715-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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These letters from some important executive Down Below, to one of the junior devils here on earth, whose job is to corrupt mortals, are witty and written in a breezy style seldom found in religious literature. The author quotes Luther, who said: "The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn." This the author does most successfully, for by presenting some of our modern and not-so-modern beliefs as emanating from the devil's headquarters, he succeeds in making his reader feel like an ass for ever having believed in such ideas. This kind of presentation gives the author a tremendous advantage over the reader, however, for the more timid reader may feel a sense of guilt after putting down this book. It is a clever book, and for the clever reader, rather than the too-earnest soul.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1942

ISBN: 0060652934

Page Count: 53

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1943

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