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Year of the Angels Paperback – June 7, 2011
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About the Author
Erika Madden was born and raised in Mainbernheim, Germany, and moved to the United States as a young woman. She fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. She married and raised her family in Seattle. When her husband retired, they moved to Camano Island, Washington, where she pursued her passion for writing. After writing several short stories about her childhood experiences during World War II, Erika's fellow writers urged her to compile the stories into one novel, YEAR OF THE ANGELS. Erika is a member of the Stanwood/Camano Hard-Nosed Zealots Critique Group and regularly attends the annual Write on the Sound writers' conference in Edmonds.
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The Lindner family, a gentle mother and six children, including a new-born infant, struggle to survive the war as it creeps closer to their little village of Mainbernheim. Lisel's father, conscripted by the Germain army, is away from his family, and they receive no word about his whereabouts or even if he's still alive.
The family strives to make life as pleasant as possible, despite the black-outs, screaming sirens, crowded bomb shelters, the terrible shortage of food and other basic necessities. The children scrounge for coal along the railroad tracks, work in the fields in exchange for food, do whatever they can for the family's survival. Through it all, their mother bravely and tenderly guides her children. and shows by example that the most important thing is family. Lisel and her beloved little brother Dieter have a special relationship and find play and enjoyment whenever and however they can. They escape to their treasured stone break, their secret, magical place.
War is terrible. Most of us believe that. Still, we reason, it's necessary to preserve our freedom. But when you read an account such as Year of the Angels, you realize what it means to those most affected by the violence, the people who live there. The desperate struggles of being displaced, enduring shortages of food, clothes, and warmth, the misery of families being torn apart, is their daily reality. In the midst of this misery, the Lindner family shows kindness, sharing, and even humor.
Year of the Angels is a poignant account of one year of the European war as seen through the eyes of a young girl. It's a treasure you will long remember
Steven Lowell-Martin. Author of recently published novel "Moses' Chisel."
The story begins and ends with a hypnotic Christmas ornament. Lisl, an American woman, travels to her childhood home in Germany. With the ornament in hand she relives Christmas memories of 1944 when she was but 10 years old and war surrounded her family in their little town of Mainbernheim. Readers follow little Lisl for one full year as she works with her siblings and mother to survive air raids, attacks, food shortages, and occupation. Lisl delights in childhood fantasies of being an archeologist and brings a sense of wonder and insight as she makes sense of prehistoric shells, people, and war.
This is a part of the World War II story not found in history books: the resilience of the common people from children to elders who were beset by a war they neither wanted nor controlled.
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