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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Night of Flames by Douglas W. Jacobson (Book Review)


Title: Night of Flames: A Novel of World War II
Author: Douglas W. Jacobson

Publisher: McBooks Press

First sentence: Anna Kopernik slept on this hot, muggy night, but it was a restless sleep troubled by strange dreams.

My synopsis: Anna and Jan Kopernik were a young married couple in Poland when the Germans invaded in 1939. Jan was a Major with the Wielkopolska Cavalry Brigade and was in the field when the Germans bombed Warsaw. Anna was in Warsaw with her good friend Irene and her son Justyn to take care of everything since Irene's mother had just passed away. Irene's husband Stefan was in the cavalry with Jan.

After narrowly escaping the bombs that fell on Warsaw, Anna, Irene and Justyn make their way back home to Krakow. When their driver is killed and Anna injured they end up staying with an older farm couple, the Berkowicz until Anna is recovered. When they finally make it back to Krakow, it has been taken over by the Germans, but Anna's father Thaddeus is still safe. He is a professor at the local university. It isn't long before all the professor's are rounded up and sent to a prison camp in Germany. Since Irene and Justyn are Jews, they are forced to wear the Star of David on their sleeves. Anna knows they must escape and through contacts of her father's she is able to secure visas for the three of them to Italy.

The story continues of Jan's endeavors during the war and how he is eventually recruited as a spy since he speaks fluent German. He takes the chance to return to Poland so he can search for Anna. Meanwhile, Anna inadvertently becomes involved in the resistance in Poland and the Comet Line, which escorted fallen aviators out of the country. Will they both survive the war? If they do, how in the world will they ever find each other again?

My review: While I am not a WWII buff, this book was a great read! You did not need to know a lot about the war to be able to appreciate the sacrifices that everyday people made in the name of freedom. It was a very engaging read and I was instantly invested in the outcomes of Anna, Irene and Justyn. The author told the story in a very easy manner, going back and forth from Anna and the Resistance to Jan and his involvement. In this way, you moved through the war and actually got two different perspectives - one of the actual fighting, and one of the behind the scenes sabotage efforts. I wish that I would have taken some notes along the way though, as there were a lot of characters, and when they would go on a mission, they would use different names, so sometimes I wasn't sure who was who! It was still a really good story though!


*This book was provided for review from Dorothy at Pump Up Your Books.*

Night of Flames
Publisher/Publication Date: McBooks Press, Oct 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59013-166-4
384 pages


5 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I've discovered recently that I really enjoy WWII books even though I really know little about it. Great review.

HODGEPODGESPV said...

understanding that i normally do not like steinbeck, i have a book to recommend to you by him, THE MOON IS DOWN. it is about a little village in norway, its people, and the nazies...all characters, from a german enlisted man to the mayor are all well drawn. while you may not know what they will do all the time, it always makes sense. the characters are all so very real. not glorified, just regular normal people.

Kaye said...

I just loved this book too. It was so well written. That book HodgePodge just recommended sounds great.

Have a good week and happy reading.

Kaye said...

I just loved this book too. It was so well written. That book HodgePodge just recommended sounds great.

Have a good week and happy reading.

Serena said...

We've linked to your review at the War blog here: http://warthroughthegenerations.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/reviews-night-of-flames-by-douglas-jacobson/

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