The Ultimate Sacrifice
A Woman Of War by Mandy Robotham is a fabulous debut novel set inside Nazi Germany. It is a powerful story using real historical figures blended with the author’s imagination. Some book have the power to really affect the reader – this is one such book.
For me, A Woman Of War spoke of the bravery of women, especially mothers who continually sacrifice their needs for that of their children.
War brings out the very best and the very worst in people. Women, of good moral character, place their lives on the line to practice kindness in a world where there is no kindness. “I had warmed to her… mainly for treating me like a human being.”
The novel has two main settings – Ravensbruick concentration camp and the Berghoff, also known as the wolf’s lair. The reader ‘experiences’ the horrors of the concentration camp from the confines of our sofas. We are horrified at man’s inhumanity to man and our hearts are warmed as women with nothing, try to make childbirth pleasant experience. There is a camaraderie that comes from having nothing and being there to help others in the same position. In contrast, the Berghoff is luxury but one is always just one step away from life in the camp.
The main theme is that of midwifery. The reader sees that a midwife treats all women as equals, being only concerned for the safe delivery of the baby and the welfare of the mother. The skills of the midwife are highly valued.
Mandy Robotham has turned Eva Braun from a historical figure into a fully rounded 3D character using poetic licence to imagine what it would have been like if Eva had conceived a baby. Did I like Eva Braun? I am not sure. Coming to the tale as a historian with a passion for WWII, I pitied her for her blatant worship of Hitler, who clearly had little time for her. I think without my prior knowledge, I would have liked Eva more, as it was I merely pitied her, knowing what her end choices would be.
I hesitate to use the word ‘enjoy’, given the subject matter, so instead I shall say that I thought A Woman Of War was marvellously constructed with its gripping plotline and realistic and likable main character, Anke.
Within the novel a hint of love beginning to bud in war, spoke of hope for the future.
I think that Mandy Robotham has a wonderful imagination and is a very talented author. I am hoping that A Woman Of War is only the start of many more novels to come.
A fabulous debut novel.
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.