First the story: The Munich Girl
Set in the times before, during and after World War II, using a sort of flasbback tecnique, The Munich Girl revolves around a favorite reading topic for me — World War II, this story offers readers a tiny cameo of Germany before and during World War II. Time is balanced in measure because the basic story teller has a February 29th — Leap Year birthday. Her treasured friend was also born during the Leap Year, but not on the exact day. Their story together seems to be paced in four year increments, while their lives go on day to day. Peggy and Eva meet, sometimes by plan and more often by accident, about every four years and know a perpetual connection and affection that permits them to take up and be togehter in the immediate moment.
We read their story through multiple lenses which are polished by Peggy’s daughter Anna. Anna knows that there is some connection between her mother and the friend, Eva Braun, but lacks details. Finding a journal manuscript after Peggy’s death opens a compassionate story — leading readers to ask “What if?” What is the story of the young woman from her photos and letters? Is it different from the canned reports that have been published? Anna’s intrigue with a portrait of Eva Braun that has been treated as a ‘war trophy’ leads to deeper research on the friendship and lives of each woman, plus the people who were part of their circle and family. Love in many facets from familial to friends to romance weave this story together. The characters are attracted to Munich — is this a city that says ‘home’ to Germanic people? Other locations figure in the story, but ‘all road’ lead back to Munich.
Phyllis Edgerly Ring‘s artistic spin on a ‘What if’ relating it to the human condition where some, often women, accept the stifling of their own lives to be the completion of someone else. Only to have that sacrifice go unacknowledged or arrogantly taken as opposed to accepted. I enjoy the times and the story through it as well as the way the lives are interwoven, threads appear to be cut, but then re-attached to the warp and weft of this tapestry — the tapestry is connected and decorated with special little memories, mementos and delightful touches for pleasure reading . All told gently, intelligently and with classy application to the historical romance style. Totally flinch free, but not stupid. There are some excellent photos of Eva Braun which are delicately placed in the book, to carry the story, but not dominate. Readers won’t want it to be fiction!
Is that color or is it the circumstances?
I found among the layers discussion of various social issues — these things are part of the color of the story and make it more memorable. Ring writes well — with implication over graphic reality to weave these ideas into the story. More pieces that readers will want to believe. Because the story is fiction above all, I am not going to deeply analyze the use of the incidents.
Another excellent book from a gifted author
I was so happy to be gifted a copy of this book. I read (and reviewed) Ms. Ring’s other novel, Snow Fence Road, finding it an inspiring, pleasant read that made one stop and think. I may have to pay the gift forward to others; I know i will be reluctant to lend the book and not be sure it comes back to my library! The link is to a purchase page at Amazon. I am not an Amazon affiliate, simply giving you an opportunity to buy the book.