Swagbucks Book Club – A Winning Suggestion

The summer heat hit the West coast this week so I made significant progress on our reading selection for the month of July – Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella.  Hopefully  you are enjoying this light-hearted read and can join us when we discuss it next Friday, July 27th. The Kindle version is available in the Swag Store or you can put those Amazon and Barnes & Noble Gift Cards to good use.  And your local, air-conditioned library will be glad to see you as well.

If a beach read is not what you are looking for right now, you may want to check out this suggestion from Swaggernaut klittlechild, Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum.  Don’t forget, if you have a book you would like to share with us write up a review and send it my way at bookclub@swagbucks.com.  If your review is featured you will receive 250 Swag Bucks, just like klittlechild.

Those Who Save Us – Jenna Blum
At first glance this book is another story chronicling the suffering and horrors of World War II; however, what differentiates Those Who Save Us is that it tells the story of Anna Schlemmer, a German woman living in Germany during the war. Anna’s wartime story is told in parallel with her daughter Trudy’s story, 50 years later. Trudy was only three years old when she and her mother were saved by an American soldier and brought to live in America as his wife and daughter. Trudy’s only clue to her past, and her early years in Germany, is an old photograph of herself, her mother, and a German officer. For 50 years Anna kept the secret of what happened during the war. Now a professor of German history Trudy undertakes a project that aims to document the stories of Germans living in Germany during the war. In the course of her research, Trudy uncovers her mother’s secrets.

Those Who Save Us is a heartbreaking tale love, survival, sacrifice, and a mother’s love; it is also a heartbreaking look at the enduring nature of shame and prejudice. Engaging and complex characters suck you in from the very start, making this book hard to put down. The overarching theme of this book is of survival: Anna’s unspeakable actions and sacrifices to save herself, the risks she took to save the prisoners in the concentration camp in the woods outside town, and the need of the town’s residents to ignore the atrocities committed in their backyard in order to survive themselves.

This book keeps the reader engaged and questioning. What would we do for love? How far would be go to survive? What would we sacrifice to save ourselves? What would we sacrifice to save our child? The German perspective also permits readers to confront the hard question of what would I have done if I had been there? Could I have ignored the Nazi’s crimes in order to save myself and my family?


Keep those reviews coming and I’ll see you next Friday.