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Skeletons at the Feast is loosely based on a true story and set in the last few months of World War II. The Nazis were beaten but they hadn’t admitted it yet and the everyday German people had a feeling they were beaten so they started running from the advancing Russian armies. This book follows the Emmerich family and a Scottish POW who has been working on their farm as they set out to cross Germany ahead of the Russian army in the heart of the German winter. Other characters in the book include a young Jewish man who manages to escape the train heading for a concentration camp and a young French Jewish woman who wasn’t so lucky.
This was absolutely amazing. I just grabbed this at the library because I remembered it was on my to-read list, but I had forgotten what it was about. Once I read the book jacket, I was so excited. I told my husband, “This sounds like a book I can sink my teeth into!” I wasn’t disappointed.
The best part about the book was the way the lines were blurred and nothing was black and white. It seems like in most WWII novels, the Germans are all Nazis and therefore evil, and everyone else is the good guy. That’s not the case here. Sure, the actual Nazis in the book were as horrific as they should be, but the German citizens are a mixed lot, the way it had to have been. The Russians were sort of the bad guys in this one, but even their behavior was explained. The Germans had heard rumors about the way their armies had treated the Russians, so they understood that this was some sort of retribution.
Parts of this were very hard to read, but that’s the way any good WWII novel should be. If you think you can handle some fairly brutal concentration camp scenes, read this one. It was so good, I had goose bumps in the last few pages.
Re-reading this old review has me itching to do a re-read of the book! Oh, and for the record, even though I checked this out from the library, I loved it so much that I bought my own copy later.
If you liked Skeletons at the Feast, you might also like my reviews of
- The Night Witches by Garth Ennis, illustrated by Russ Braun
- The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
- Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Buy Skeletons at the Feast from Malaprop’s Bookstore in beautiful Asheville, NC or