Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Book Review for The First Spark of Fire by @MarionKummerow @Bookouture

This book gives an inside look at what it must have been like in the years leading up to Hilter rule and after it took hold. Beforehand people were going about their lives, some struggling much more than others. Even those more influential such as Julius, one of the main characters, was quick to dismiss Hilter as an actual threat. With that said, we have the benefit of hindsight to know that danger and extreme hardship was coming, especially to Jewish people and any who resisted the new movement. 

This story moves along at a good pace and is told through a few people's points of view. You have a wealthy couple, who haven't experienced any financial hardship, though their marriage is growing increasingly distant. They belong to the top echelons of society. This is Edith and Julius, a born jew but baptized Protestant, who owns a bank. Then there's Edith's brother, Joseph, who believes Hilter is the solution to a better Germany. The third perspective belongs to an old classmate of Edith's. Her and her husband have felt the financial impact of an unstable economy. They have two young children to provide for, and he is of Jewish background. 

It's so sad to see how blinded people were by Hilter's point of view and outlook. It blows me away that so many just fell in line to blindly follow after him. Just because Hilter said something, it must be true. How sad to think of all the horrendous acts conducted at this time in history under the guise of improving the world. Beyond violent acts, people lost their jobs and their homes. Equally sad is how it pitted family members against each other and tore marriages apart. 

I recommend this read for deep thinkers because it does get one thinking--and angry. But, sadly, history has taught us little. Even though Hilter is long dead, prejudice and hate crimes still exist and those seen as "different" are persecuted and outcast. This can be for any reason, no matter how slight. It may be due to a person's background, lifestyle, religion, appearance... Essentially anything that makes a person uncomfortable has the potential to wreck havoc. Honestly, in the present day, there is much more prejudice and stereotyping than most want to admit. 

I also saw the reflection of history repeating itself with the recent pandemic. While it wasn't stereotyping, people back then tamped down Hitler's impact at the beginning, refusing to see what was coming even when it was right in front of their faces. With Covid-19, the warning signs were there and ignored or dismissed as being of little consequence. As a whole, humankind tends to downplay our instincts. Where would the world be if more of us listened to our voice inside and followed reason? Then who is to say what is right and wrong? But what if we decided to stand in our own power, thinking for ourselves rather than blindly following the masses? 

The above line of thoughts are only only two I'm sharing. This book would be an excellent choice for a book club. I can only imagine the colorful and lively discussions. While this book didn't have a neat and tidy ending, we know from the history books where it was heading, and still recommend. 

Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. 

Book blurb:

Germany, 1930s: Edith holds the letter in a trembling hand, her eyes fixed on the eagle carrying the terrifying symbol in its claws. The summons from the Gestapo is everything she has dreaded for months. She tells herself she has nothing to fear. She has done nothing wrong…

In this heartbreaking story based on real events, it will be up to one woman to fight for her love in a world that wants to destroy it.

When beautiful, shy Edith married her elegant, banker husband Julius, she believed that their union would be forever. In spite of her humble background, they have loved each other since the minute they met at a dance. As she learns how to behave in the high society world Julius has opened to her, she is determined to enjoy every moment.

But the Nazi party is growing in power, and her marriage comes under increasing strain. Julius is of Jewish origin—and even some of Edith’s closest family believe their relationship is an abomination, demanding she divorce him.

Julius refuses to see the risk, insisting his powerful friends will protect him. But Edith finds herself scared that her husband may be declared her enemy. And if that happens, how will she protect him?

Soon, she finds herself plunged into a world of revolution and danger, where everything she knows can be changed at the stroke of a pen—or the strike of a fist. As the peril grows, can she find the fire in her heart to fight for what is right, at the cost of her own safety?

A totally devastating, powerful, and ultimately uplifting story, perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, My Name is Eva and Sold on a Monday.

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Read and reviewed by CAROLYN ARNOLD. Expressions and opinions are her own. She is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has several continuing fiction series and has many published books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy mysteries, police procedurals, and thrillers to action adventures.