Fifteen Words by Monika Jephcott-Thomas ~Goodreads~
Published by Clink Street Publishing 2016
Paperback edition 290 pages ~Book Depository~
I was sent this by the publisher for an honest review as part of a blog tour.
Two young doctors form a profound and loving bond in Nazi Germany; a bond that will stretch them to the very limits of human endurance. Catholic Max – whose religious and moral beliefs are in conflict, has been been conscripted to join the war effort as a medic, despite his hatred of Hitler’s regime. His beloved Erika, a privileged young woman, is herself a product of the Hitler Youth. In spite of their stark differences, Max and Erika defy convention and marry. But when Max is stationed at the fortress city of Breslau, their worst nightmares are realised; his hospital is bombed, he is captured by the Soviet Army and taken to a POW camp in Siberia. Max experiences untold horrors, his one comfort the letters he is allowed to send home: messages that can only contain Fifteen Words. Back in Germany, Erika is struggling to survive and protect their young daughter, finding comfort in the arms of a local carpenter. Worlds apart and with only sparse words for comfort, will they ever find their way back to one another, and will Germany ever find peace?
As soon as I was sent the synopsis I just knew I had to be part of this blog tour, anything to do with Nazi Germany takes my interest.
Anyhow, what grabbed me in this story is the fact that not all Germans wanted a war and not all of them considered themselves a Nazi. I think its very easy for us to see the prejudice view of all Germans being hypnotised into Hitler’s regime, and so this was rather refreshing to read. Our story surrounds Max and Erika, both doctors with different views of the leadership of Germany.
Max signs up to serve Germany in hope to save lives and not fight. Captured, and held as a prisoner of war he reflects on what led him to where he is now. He clings onto the thoughts of his wife to keep his hopes up, instead of giving up which he becomes ever so close to doing. With similar struggles, Erika is sickened by not knowing whether her husband is even alive. Despite this love, temptation wavers in both of them understandably during such a consuming time.
Their story really tugs on your heartstrings and makes you realise how both were effected by war. Full of twists and turns, and alternative perspectives it really is an intriguing read that I couldn’t put down. What makes Fifteen Words even more amazing is the fact its only 290 pages, and yet so much has been captured. I really enjoyed the writing style, it didn’t drag, but it wasn’t uncomfortably fast-paced either. Simply, wonderful.
Monika Jephcott Thomas grew up in Dortmund Mengede, north-west Germany. She moved to the UK in 1966, enjoying a thirty year career in education before retraining as a therapist. Along with her partner Jeff she established the Academy of Play & Child Psychotherapy in order to support the twenty per cent of children who have emotional, behavioural, social and mental health problems by using play and the creative Arts. A founder member of Play Therapy UK, Jephcott Thomas was elected President of Play Therapy International in 2002.