- File Size: 4632 KB
- Print Length: 352 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Purple Hand Press; 1 edition (February 5, 2019)
- Publication Date: February 5, 2019
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07MW9K8W9
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #816,549 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Acts of Contrition (Passing Rites Book 4) Kindle Edition
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When an author can leave their reader dumbfounded and at a loss for words, well, I think that speaks volumes. When I first read Occasions of Sin (book 2, but the first release in the Passing Rites series), I had the same reaction. I think my first review after completing it was simply a ‘Wow’ and a ‘thank you’ to the person who recommended it to me. I eventually strung some more words together, but really, nothing I say or write in a review will ever do justice for the actual experience I had reading each book in this series.
In this third release, Margarethe von Stahle is facing the reality of her life in Berlin during the immediate aftermath of WWII. Her many losses and devastating experiences are a heartbreaking reminder of the realities of war. No one is safe regardless of their station in life and Graf ensures we understand that through raw and historically accurate detail. Nothing is glossed over to spare our precious hearts and I appreciate that more than anything. When I pick up a book…I want to feel, even if it tears at my soul, and I want to learn.
These are the gifts provided by a great author. Graf is definitely an experience that I easily recommend to anyone.
I should also note that this book is not all doom and gloom. At the heart of it, Acts of Contrition is a love story; it is about picking one’s self up out of the rubble and finding a way to move forward.
Acts of Contrition is the third release in the Passing Rites series and is absolutely a welcome addition. That noted, Occasions of Sin and Lies of Omission should definitely be read before diving into AOC. A prequel will be released at a later time…and I, for one, cannot f’ing wait.
This is, above all, a mesmerizing and taut love story of redemption and reclamation of the things that allow us our humanity against the backdrop of unspeakable atrocities. The aristocratic Dr. Margarethe von Stahle has always prided herself on being able to protect that which she loved; however, war, that hovering evil behemoth, showed her differently. In a twist of irony she acknowledges but doesn’t always appreciate, she finds that love is the part of humanity she must embrace to survive peace.
In this volume, World War II has ended, the Nazi atrocities have left trails of tears throughout the world, and Dr. Margarethe von Stahle tries to regain her sanity and her love for life following a world war that has taken three members of her family and countless others from her.
Trauma of the kind suffered by witnesses and survivors of war is a stealthy killer of souls, spirits and, eventually, bodies. Often, though, we don’t always see the impact of trauma until the bombs have stopped falling, the horrors have become recurring nightmares and the indignities have left abundant scar tissue as visible and invisible welts and wounds to the body and psyche.
The lost of emotional equilibrium, the adjustments to a changed life and the re-introduction of an earlier character promise to upend all that von Stahle thought she knew. It’s compelling and fascinating to watch the protagonist struggle to regain her footing in a life she knows has changed radically but which continues to contain strong undercurrents of a romanticized earlier time. We can ALL identify with that phenomenon.
Some of van Stahle’s personal ethics, morality and intellectual rigor are vital to her recovery, but other aspects of her character and identity must be renovated and refreshed to address the changes she confronts. The lessons she has learned and the truths she has faced about the nature of humanity, and lack of it demand a new approach to living. Her initial impulse is not always gracious! The wonder of Margarethe von Stahl is her strength and determination to right herself when there seems to be no stimulating motivation or earthly reason to do so.
When von Stahle is re-visited by a former protégé, Dr. Sarah Weber, she sees the vitality, the hunger for love and the lust for life that remain only a dim memory in her own life. Having earlier lost love to war, von Stahle is not about to easily relinquish her pain to a new world peace or a new lover.
Her pain is the avatar of her depth of love she held for everyone lost, everyone she was unable to save. Her mysterious refusal to allow new love and new life is the measure of guilt she feels at having been unable to protect her beloveds and the lengths she will go to retain some modicum of control even as that control is little more than pure personal pain.
However, Dr. Weber is persistent, tenacious, tender and falling in love with Von Stahle. She, too, will discover that the benefits of a declared world peace do not always reflect the inner turmoil and disorientation of those who have survived. Dr. Weber confronts the uneasy confirmation that we are the sum total of our experiences and our expectations.
How Dr. Weber copes with the reticence and reluctance of Margarethe von Stahle to love again is a study in character; how she overcomes von Stahle’s objections to love and life lived in joy is the crowning achievement of this book. Acts of Contrition is Highly Recommended.
I cannot wait for the fourth book in the series, which is actually Book One, a prequel, out later in the year. The series is one of the most enthralling and seductive chronicles I’ve read on the subject of women and war, women in love and women as the creators of their own lives. A MUST READ!
The war is over and Margarethe is trying to find semblance, order and the grace she has known all her life, in war-torn Berlin. There have been some mighty changes in her world, some horrible and some wonderful! It's not enough to try and give a review of these books - they must be read to be truly appreciated! I haven't read a captivating series of books like this in a very long time.
Top international reviews
The life Margarethe knew is no longer the same. The war came and with it has taken a large chunk of the character.
I confess that upon seeing the warnings in the synopsis of the book I was very anxious for what I could find. After all, rape is a very heavy subject and because I really like the character I didn't want to read something so devastating happening to her.
But my anxiety was partly in vain, for although it was a dark moment, the author didn't go deeper into the scene. So when reading, I felt uncomfortable (as is expected in scenes like this), but not to the point of feeling very shaken.
Because the essential focuses of the narrative are linked to events during the war, I find myself measuring words so as not to release too many spoilers. So this review will be rather short...Or not (*'・ｖ・)
The story brings back two characters I liked quite a lot in volume 3: Eva and Sarah.
While Eva doesn't have a very large participation in this book, it was of great importance to cement some progress in Margarethe.（＾_＾）
My feelings for Eva are confusing to say the least (゜▽゜;)
I like the impetuous relationship of Margarethe and Eva. How the character behaves uniquely when in the presence of Eva and how Eva herself manages to capture the essence of Margarethe. At the same time as this is a purely carnal relationship, it is also, I would say ... psychological.
Anyway ...(•‿•) (I don't even know what I'm talking about anymore... obviously.(๑￫‿￩๑) ).
Sarah has a much larger role in this narrative. In volume 3 when she says goodbye to Margarethe there was a very sentimental moment in which the characters hug and kiss. It was obvious at one point in the book that Sarah had some kind of feeling for Margarethe, yet Margarethe took a long time to see this, since all her attention was on Katherine and Eva.
The relationship between Margarethe and Sarah was quite interesting and I found myself quite enjoying the character, although some of her approaches to Margarethe's "problem" were somewhat ... Hm ... Not too cool ( ・◇・)
But anyway ... I chose to close my eyes to this and thought of the year that all this happened and the little information on the subject, so ... I closed my eyes and that's it. (￣ー￣)
I confess that the end left me wanting more (ᅌᴗᅌ* ). But then, when do I read Passin Rites and just settle for the end of the book? ゞ(＊ゝω・)ノ
Another thing that I have been wanting and who knows, if there is a continuation of the series we will get to see, is Margarethe's greater engagement with her family. Of course, in this volume Margarethe took quite important steps in the relationship with her daughter, but I wanted to read more about these two.
I have seen on /u/ people saying how "real" this book feels and I can't help thinking the same. Situations between Sarah and Margarethe are so well written and with such a rational touch that I catch myself analyzing and realizing just how "human" they are. This attracts me, since in some romances some situations are so forced that I can't help but roll my eyes in disbelief.
Anyway ... I've already stretched too much.
Why 4.8 stars?
-> Chemistry between the characters (love relationships in general) 10/10
-> Developing relationships 10/10 (I don't think I would categorize this as a slow burn, but every relationship whether this romantic or familiar has a good step and didn't feel rushed or sudden.)
-> Interesting events treated throughout the story 9/10 (As already explained, I had a blind eye on how Sarah approached Margarethe's trauma, taking into account the year and the possible shortage of information on how to deal with it, but for a few moments I couldn't help frowning)
-> Engaging characters 10/10
In diesem Buch erleben wir Margarethe über weite Teile als traumatisierte, aber auch teils sehr unangenehme Person.
Das hinderte mich zeitweise daran, richtig in die Geschichte hinein zu finden. Dennoch ist die Story gut.
Was mich wirklich gestört hat, war das abrupte Ende, das sich eigentlich nur durch eine Fortsetzung rechtfertigen lässt. Ansonsten wäre dies kein so guter Abschluss für diese tolle Serie.
This is an intense novel, with a lot of intense struggles, not just a romance. Again, I find that to be a huge plus.
I have to say though that I found how the theme of sexual violence was dealt with a bit dubious. The love interest comes across as very pushy, like "get back on the horse and it'll be fine!" On the other hand that sounds like an attitude someone in the 1940's might have, so ...
I'm not interested in the prequel, but I'd definitely read another sequel.