I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.Under the Same Blue Sky by Pamela Schoenewaldt
Published by William Morrow on May 5, 2015
Genres: Drama, Fiction, Historical, World or cultural
Source: TLC Book Tours
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“From the USA Today bestselling author of When We Were Strangers and Swimming in the Moon comes a lush, exquisitely drawn novel set against the turmoil of the Great War, as a young German-American woman explores the secrets of her past.
A shopkeeper’s daughter, Hazel Renner lives in the shadows of the Pittsburgh steel mills. She dreams of adventure, even as her immigrant parents push her toward a staid career. But in 1914, war seizes Europe and all their ambitions crumble. German-Americans are suddenly the enemy, “the Huns.” Hazel herself is an outsider in her own home when she learns the truth of her birth.
Desperate for escape, Hazel takes a teaching job in a seemingly tranquil farming community. But the idyll is cracked when she acquires a mysterious healing power—a gift that becomes a curse as the locals’ relentless demand for “miracles” leads to tragedy.
Hazel, determined to find answers, traces her own history back to a modern-day castle that could hold the truth about her past. There Hazel befriends the exiled, enigmatic German baron and forges a bond with the young gardener, Tom. But as America is shattered by war and Tom returns battered by shell-shock, Hazel’s healing talents alone will not be enough to protect those close to her, or to safeguard her dreams of love and belonging. She must reach inside to discover that sometimes the truth is not so far away, that the simplest of things can lead to the extraordinary.
Filled with rich historical details and intriguing, fully realized characters, Under the Same Blue Sky is the captivating story of one woman’s emergence into adulthood amid the tumult of war.”
When war breaks out between cultures or countries, citizens show their clear patriotism and allegiance. What about immigrants who left their motherland and found a new, happier way of life in another country they call home? Where does their allegiance lie? How does war impact them when they are forced to choose between their motherland and their homeland? How are the immigrants treated when suddenly they are looked upon as the enemy?
Under the Same Blue Sky answers these difficult questions in a poetic, magical, poignant way. The Renner Family emigrated from Germany and have made a home in America, building a small business and raising their only daughter, Hazel. When WWI breaks out, the Renners are faced with hatred from their community and are torn between Germany and America. In a brutal war, the news is filled with soldiers dying on both sides and it takes its toll on the Renners and their community.
Normally, I don’t read too many war novels. I don’t typically enjoy the technical aspects and my attention strays when strategy is discussed (except for Unbroken, of course). While Under the Same Blue Sky is set during WWI, the war plays a secondary character in the story. We learn about the war as the characters learn about it in the newspapers. However, the emotional aspects of the war and the impact it had on the community, soldiers and immigrants alike kept me engaged and enthralled with the story.
I highly recommend for those who enjoy character-driven stories where they can connect to the story on an emotional level and for those who enjoy a unique perspective on the immigrant experience with a touch of magical realism. I loved Pamela’s poetic writing style and will definitely be reading other books by this author.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Galway and Dogwood
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I loved this book but don’t have enough room on my shelves, so I’m giving away my copy of the ARC for Under the Jeweled Sky. Make sure to read the Terms & Conditions of the giveaway before entering. Open to US only, sorry international friends, I wish I could afford the shipping!
What books have you enjoyed set in World War I or about the immigrant experience?