A former professor descends into darkness in this provocative story of a Nazi soldier torn between duty and conscience.
East Prussia, Nazi Germany, 1939. History professor Erik Mueller is a model citizen and a family man. He’s also a decorated sergeant in the Gestapo. Proving his courage on the battlefields of Poland and the Soviet Union, and proud of the German army’s victories across Europe, he embraces what he thinks is the righteousness of the Third Reich’s cause.
But his loyalties are soon tested when he crosses paths with his old university friend Trude Bensheim. Forced into unemployment for being Jewish, Trude and her husband start a secret organization to help Jews escape Germany. But when they are betrayed by someone they thought they could trust, their lives hang in the balance.
**Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC copy of A Bitter Rain**
This story broke my heart and then mended only half of it in the end. This was my first historical fiction book that wasn’t a Ruta Sepetys novel, and while it didn’t have that special Ruta touch it was still heart breakingly good. Once you start reading and get introduced to these two German families, one that is Jewish and the other that is part of the SS, and you will feel bad for both families; six people total. However, in the end you will end up only feeling bad for four people; and hate two people.
Shipman’s writing is so raw and he doesn’t hold anything back. You will feel the pain and the heart break that his characters feel. But you will also feel immense hatred by the time you turn the last page.
I felt pure hatred towards Corina, she is a selfish, disgusting women. I felt happiness and irritation towards Trude. I felt nothing but sadness for Erik and while I was angry with Johannes past actions, I still felt sad for him as well. Corina was a horrible human being the entirety of this book. I had a feeling that she turned Trude and Britta in, but to found out that she ACTUALLY did made me want to rip her head off. She is horrible to Erik the entire book and then she tops it off by escaping Germany with their family friend, leaving him and his parent behind. What?! What kind of monstrosity leaves her husbands parents at a shipyard while she gets on a ship with her daughter and the man she has been committing adultery with?!
At the end of this book I feel like the two men of the story, Johannes and Erik got the short end of the stick for sure. They both lost their lives with no help from the action of their wives.
I definitely recommend this book! Worth the read.