Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke

There are a few writers who stand out to me. Writers who pen to make a difference. They create a story that invites you in for a journey to another time and place. They are set apart by their writing style and the  research that goes into creating a masterpiece. Yes, as a writer, there are many writers I greatly admire. But, it's Cathy Gohlke that holds writing at a high standard. She truly weaves a story that is unlike the rest. She brings history alive. She opens the door for you to fall in love with history. This is a gift. 

In her newest work, it's this that I find to be her finest yet. Usually it doesn't take me long to finish a novel. I dive in and come out the end of the journey wishing for more. A gift that Cathy has is allowing the reader to feel complete as you close the last page. This isn't a story for the faint of heart. I can tell you that I cried through many pages. My heart was torn. I rarely dream of a book I've read. For the last few weeks I have dreamed of SS men and raids. I have dreamed of sweet Amelie. I know, this is probably unusual to put in a review, but I felt such a part of the story, I was so connected, that as I sat the book down, my mind still pondered. 

This is a book that needs to be in every school room and library. The history and attention to detail is so spot on that you feel as though you can hear, smell and see the surroundings. The characters are so richly woven that you come to know them as friends. You turn the pages eager to see what's next, but holding your breath at what could be. 

Cathy is a master storyteller. This novel is more than spectacular. I was so moved by this novel. I'm not sure it is one I will ever forget, but it is one that I will always encourage others to read. Through Saving Amelie, the reader feels every emotion possible. The happiness of freedom and the fear of Hitler's regime. Another time and place, but so much of this story relates to us today. For me, the most profound message I walked away with is that I do not want to walk in cheap grace. Powerful! 

Everything a book can hold is found within the pages of Saving Amelie. This is truly an astounding read that will challenge you. I must share something that was very haunting to me. The characters are listening to the radio. They hear the music of Silent Night. They begin to quietly sing along, but then realize the words have been changed. 

Silent Night! Holy Night!
All is calm, all is bright. 
Only the Chancellor, steadfast in flight,
Watches o'er Germany by day and by night,
Always caring for us. 
Always caring for us. 
Silent Night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright. 
Adolf Hilter is Germany's wealth; 
Brings us greatness, favor, and health.
Oh, give us Germans all power!
Oh, give us Germans all power!

Chilling, isn't it? I have to share with you one more part of the story. Rachel is having a conversation with the Curate. This left me speechless. 

"Nothing in Germany surprises me now, Curate."
"You are too cynical."
She shook her head, packing her small prop bag. "Just a realist. I've looked at the world through the glasses I was given. Now I've taken them off. It's surprising how distorting the wrong pair of glasses can be."
He sighed. "I suppose nothing like this could happen in America." "Banning prayer from schools? Stripping away crucifixes from walls? That would be like taking down the Ten Commandments in the United States. I've never been a churchgoer, but I can't imagine such a thing happening. The churches, even the people who aren't churchgoers, would never stand for having their rights stripped away like that." 

This is not a novel you want to miss. 

This book was a gift from Tyndale for sharing my review with you. 

Cathy Gohlke is a two-time Christy Award-winning author. She and her husband divide their time between Northern Virginia and their home on the banks of teh Laurel 'run in Elkton, Maryland. Visit her online at


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