Under the Same Blue Sky by Pamela Schoenewaldt. How does WWI impact German immigrants living in the US? Pamela answers in this poetic & poignant book. 4*
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Under the Same Blue Sky by Pamela Schoenewaldt Review & GIVEAWAY!

Under the Same Blue Sky by Pamela Schoenewaldt Review & GIVEAWAY!

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
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Genres: Drama, Fiction, Historical, World or cultural
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Your Favorite Indie Bookstore* | Barnes & Noble* | Amazon Kindle* | Amazon Paperback*


“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.”

My Thoughts:

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 

Blog Tour:

For other bloggers’ reviews, visit the TLC Book Tours schedule page and see what others have to say.


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? 


About Pamela Schoenewaldt

Pamela Schoenewaldt lived for ten years in a small town outside Naples, Italy. Her short stories have appeared in literary magazines in England, France, Italy, and the United States. She now lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her husband, Maurizio Conti, a physicist, and Jesse, their dog.


  1. This is my favorite genre, so I’m adding it to my “to read” list, though it is almost July, and I haven’t started reading all the books I am hoping to get to this summer! I love to read, and even though I teach high school literature, I haven’t had much time to read for my own entertainment in months! (Shhh…don’t tell my students! 🙂 ) Just entered your giveaway, which BTW is the first one I’ve ever entered! Have a great week, Tanya!

    1. Well the author just contacted me and wanted to give a copy of this book away to a teacher so you’ll have another chance to win it!!

  2. I love character driven stories, as I love being invested in the characters and worrying about them when I’m not reading. I’m so glad this book was such a hit for you. Thanks for being on the tour!

  3. This historical novel interests me greatly. The characters, the setting and the era are extremely interesting and the story is captivating. I enjoy this author’s novels very much since they are moving and unique.

  4. Dear Tanya,
    Thank you for your review and your willingness to take on a “war story.” Like you, I really don’t want to read about all the military strategies and fancy hardware for killing people. I want to look at what happens to people like us when a few politicians take it into their heads to start a war. And what happens to those in a new country who are suddenly considered “the enemy”? I wanted to know and in some ways, Under the Same Blue Sky is my effort to try to understand these questions.

    1. This was a very unique read and I love that you highlighted the immigrant experience. As an American born daughter of Indian immigrants, I could put myself in the Renner family’s shoes. I sound American though my skin color gives me away. I faced discrimination and bullying as a kid because of my skin color. In our modern day wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, I can empathize with those immigrant families living in the US. Just because some extremist Muslims are threatening our national security, does not mean that all Muslims believe the same. I imagine it’s hard being part of an ethnic group considered to be “the enemy.” Thanks for the opportunity to read your book and share it with my readers!

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