Hold On To Hope
The Bookseller Of Dachau by Shari J Ryan is a powerful dual timeline novel that totally consumed me. I did not just read this book – I lived it – my emotions were all over the place.
This is a tale of love, of heartache and ultimately of hope. “Hope is something no one can steal from you.” Without hope, the people perish. We need hope as much as the air that we breathe.
The novel is set in 2018 and during World War II in Bavaria. The two time periods are linked by letters telling the tale of a young German girl and a German Jewish boy during the war years. The young girl is the grandmother of the modern-day character. Their tale is one of a great love. It was a love that defied the times they were living through. Theirs was a brave love. It was a love that meant they both had to hang on to hope.
Nazi Germany was a terrible place. Evil was all around. Selfishness abounded as many believed in self-preservation, turning a blind eye to their neighbour’s plight. One young girl transcended all this. Her bravery was huge. Her love ran deep.
As Jewish lives were eroded, the young Jewish man declared: “They can take everything but… I will still have my dreams, memories and the stories that live within my head.” His mind was free though his body was in bondage.
In present day America, a surprise inheritance sends the lead character to Dachau. All her life she had helped her mother to search for her roots, DNA tests enable the past to divulge its secrets.
A bookshop in Dachau holds memories of the past. “Without the memories of the fallen, we will fall again.” It is important to remember those who perished. Former inmates of Dachau returned to the village to live, in order to remember the fallen and to show that Hitler did not win – he did not drive them from the area.
The bookshop is a safe haven, offering calm in the storms of life. A warm welcome, a cup of tea, a slice of cake and a lifetime of memories await. Even during World War II, the bookshop was an oasis of peace in a sea of evil.
The Bookseller Of Dachau was a powerful book. It was a heartbreaking read but it was very beautiful too – there were pure hearts shining in the darkness. I absolutely adored it. I am filled with hope and light and love. I always adore Shari J Ryan’s books.