My name is Hans Beck.
I hate Nazis.
I am a Nazi.
I hate myself.
This book is violent and graphic. To talk about what happened differently would not be fair to Lilo.
World War II: A young Nazi guard stationed in a ghetto in Regensburg, Germany finds himself in a time and place that he hates. He has never directly participated in the bloodletting but has done nothing to stop it. He wonders if his soul can be saved. He saves a Jewish girl’s life when ordered to murder her. He refuses despite the consequences. Perhaps the girl he saved can save him? Maybe she can be the key to his redemption and a light for his soul, to guide the way home.
This tense WWII love story between a Nazi guard and a Jewish prisoner from Armstrong (Back to the Start) follows a soldier seeking to make amends. Hans Beck is guarding a Jewish ghetto in Regensburg, Germany, when he is ordered to kill Lilo, a young captive who witnessed her father being bludgeoned to death. A silent dissenter, Hans disobeys the kill order and goes into hiding with Lilo in the ghetto, until Hans is arrested and taken to his brother, Erich, a sadistic Nazi general. After being branded with a Jewish star, Hans is allowed to take Lilo and leave, in order to be “hunted” down. The two set out for Switzerland but quickly separate—Hans returns to Regensburg to save a nun that Erich has kidnapped, while Lilo continues to Switzerland—and over the course of the novel, they struggle to reunite. The love story is a respite from Hans’s heavy-handed soul-searching: “When you’ve killed many men, your soul bleeds, and the more you kill, the more blood pours out of you, until you are a pale, washed-out thing.” The brutal scenes of beatings and rape might put off some readers, but the plot twist at the end will satisfy those who like a curveball. Armstrong turns in a decent WWII novel. (BookLife)