Based on the true story of two young people who became heroes, winner of eight awards - Surviving the Fatherland is the triumphant, epic tale of two youths whose courage and resilience stands for the forgotten childhood of an entire generation.
"This book needs to join the ranks of the classic survivor stories of WWII such as 'Diary of Anne Frank' and 'Man's Search for Meaning'. It is truly that amazing!" InD'taleMagazine
Spanning thirteen years from 1940 to 1953 and set against the epic panorama of WWII, author Annette Oppenlander's SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND is a sweeping saga of family, love, and betrayal that illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the children's war.
Solingen, Germany, 1940: When her father goes off to war, seven-year-old Lilly is left with an unkind mother who favors her brother and chooses to ignore the lecherous pedophile next door. A few blocks away, twelve-year-old Günter also loses his father to the draft and quickly takes charge of supplementing his family's ever-dwindling rations by any means necessary.
As the war escalates and bombs begin to rain, Lilly and Günter's lives spiral out of control. Every day is a fight for survival. On a quest for firewood, Lilly encounters a dying soldier and steals her father's last suit to help the man escape. Barely sixteen, Günter ignores his draft call and embarks as a fugitive on a harrowing 47-day ordeal--always just one step away from execution.
When at last the war ends, Günter grapples with his brother's severe PTSD and the fact that none of his classmates survived. Welcoming denazification, Lilly takes a desperate step to rid herself once and for all of her disgusting neighbor's grip. When Lilly and Günter meet in 1949, their love affair is like any other. Or so it seems. But old wounds and secrets have a way of rising to the surface once more.
2017 National Indie Excellence Award, 2019 Gold Global eBook Award, 2018 Indie B.R.A.G. Award, 2017 Winner Chill with a Book Readers' Award, Finalist 2017 Kindle Book Awards, 2018 Readers' Favorite Book Award, Discovered Diamond Historical Novel, An IWIC Hall of Fame Novel, 2020 Skoutz Award Midlist (German translation)
About the Author
Annette Oppenlander is an award-winning writer, literary coach and educator. As a bestselling historical novelist, Oppenlander is known for her authentic characters and stories based on true events, coming alive in well-researched settings. Having lived in Germany the first half of her life and the second half in various parts in the U.S., Oppenlander inspires readers by illuminating story questions as relevant today as they were in the past. Oppenlander's bestselling true WWII story, Surviving the Fatherland, has received seven awards/nominations, including the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award, the 2018 Indie B.R.A.G. and the 2019 Global eBook Award. Uniquely, Oppenlander weaves actual historical figures and events into her plots, giving readers a flavor of true history while enjoying a good story. Oppenlander shares her knowledge through writing workshops at colleges, libraries and schools. She also offers vivid presentations and author visits. The mother of fraternal twins and a son, she recently returned to her home, Solingen, Germany where she lives with her husband. Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes history come alive. When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no longer a date or number, it turns into a story.
"This book needs to join the ranks of the classic survivor stories of WWII such as "Diary of Anne Frank" and "Man's Search for Meaning". It is truly that amazing!" InD'tale Magazine
"fast-paced and emotively worded and features a great selection of characters, flawed and poignantly three-dimensional." Historical Novel Society
"...eye-opening and heartbreaking..." San Francisco Review of Books
"I would heartily recommend this book as an engrossing and well-researched story with two of the most engaging protagonists I've read for a while." Jessica Brown for Discovering Diamonds - Independent Reviews of the Best in Historical Fiction
"I for one am glad she shared her story with us as it gives us a look at a different perspective from those who endured this tragic time in history. "Surviving the Fatherland" by Annette Oppenlander is highly recommended reading!" Carol Hoyer for Reader Views
"...simply beautiful." Readers' Favorite Book Award