Thursday, July 31, 2014

Safe Haven by Anna Schmidt

Thanks to NetGalley, I was able to read and review book 3 in Anna's Peacemaker series: Safe Haven.

When journalist Suzanne Randolph hears about FDR’s plan to bring a boatload of displaced WWII refugees to America, she knows it may be her last chance to redeem her flagging career. Suzanne follows the story to Oswego, New York, where she meets Theo Bridgewater, a Quaker dairy farmer from Wisconsin who has come to reunite with his uncle and aunt and cousin. Theo’s fight to spare his relatives the return to Germany becomes Suzanne’s fight as she does everything that the “power of the pen” can muster to help win public sympathy for the cause.

I love discovering new things I hadn't known about during WWII! Safe Haven was an interesting read about a (true) camp in Oswego, NY for a small group of invited 'guests' (refugees) near the end of the war. I wasn't sure how Safe Haven was tied into the other two books of Anna's Peacemaker series, as I didn't recognize names on the back cover blurb.

But as I began to read, I recognized several of the characters! Theo's aunt and uncle, who have come to live at the camp, are Franz and Ilse Schneider – Beth's aunt and uncle from book 1 (that means: Beth is Theo's sister)! And, Gisele, the French actress from book 2 who helped Josef, Beth, and Anya escape, is also residing with the other refugees.

Even though the focus is mostly on Theo and Suzanne's story (new characters), I wouldn't read Safe Haven as a standalone. You should really know the history of the other characters – especially the mysterious POW outside the camp walls.

I loved learning about the camp – especially that the US was never planning to let the refugees stay, but had them sign documents promising to return to their home countries when the war was over). I even had to do a little research online on my own! As for the rest of the story, I felt the romance of Theo and Suzanne fell a bit flat and that disappointed me (although their ending was sweet, and I applauded Suzanne's decision). I enjoyed Anya and Peter's story from Simple Faith much more (it -and All God's Children- also had more of the action and intrigue that I prefer in my WWII settings)!

I'm not sure if this is Anna's final book for these characters – but, I hope not! The ending didn't leave me hanging, but I do wonder about Gisele...and Marta...and especially the next chapter for Herr Buch and his wife?

Also, a note to some of my readers: the main characters in each of these books are Quakers. The theology and practice of the Friends are written throughout the books, mainly their belief that 'the Light,' as they call it, resides in's just up to each person to acknowledge it; and the practice of their 'worship,' which is sitting in silence, palms upward, waiting for 'the Light.'

In most books, I skim over these references, because I know that, according to the Bible, these beliefs are not correct. However, I've given up the Amish genre because I got tired of reading that 'being good' is the way to heaven. So, if this is something that bothers you, please be aware that although the stories are good and the characters are religious, their beliefs are not biblical.

Thank you to Anna and Barbour Publishing/Shiloh Run Press through NetGalley for sending me a digital copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**
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