About the Book
Only last year, Fannie O’Brien was considered a beauty with a brain, and her future shone bright, despite the war pounding Europe. With her father’s sudden death and her brothers overseas, Fannie must now do the work of three men on their 200-acre farm—until eight German prisoners arrive and, just as Fannie feared, trouble comes too. Someone seems intent on causing “accidents,” and Fannie is certain the culprit is one of the two handsome older Germans—or possibly both. Can she manage the farm, keep the prisoners in line, and hold her family together through these turbulent times?
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Season of My Enemy is the first book I’ve read by Naomi Musch. Based on this, I’m not sure I want to read another one. Season of My Enemy takes place in Wisconsin during World War II and is clearly well-researched. Ms. Musch also brings to life the scenery and it is very easy to see the setting and imagine what the characters look like.
However, the story starts off slowly and doesn’t really gain much momentum. The main characters are Fannie O’Brien, a farmer’s daughter in Wisconsin, and Wolfgang Kloninger, a German Prisoner of War who is working on her farm with some other prisoners, and there are some accidents that may or may not be sabotage.
I didn’t actually know that the Germans held prisoner in the US during World War II helped on farms and in factories, so that is an interesting historical detail. Ms. Musch has clearly done a lot of research and it helps the story feel more authentic.
There is a POV in the story that ruins the suspense of the accidents happening on the farm. I also wasn’t concerned that the story wouldn’t have a happy ending. Ms. Musch is a good writer and the characters feel alive, but there were no stakes. Honestly, I was more interested in what happened to her brothers, who are both off fighting in the war when the book opens.
“I know that evil men will have their just reward. I can’t judge the whole human race or even a small part of it by them. None of us can. There were Americans who did wrong too. It was war, and things like that happen in war. Awful things. Things that I hope to God some of those fellows will repent of. But it’s war. And it’s over.”
The above quote is the thesis of the book. It’s a book about the costs of war, at home and at war, and how we are all just humans trying our best. It’s a good message and Ms. Musch clearly gets that point across in the story.
I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. It’s well-written and well-researched, but the suspense of the accidents doesn’t materialize and I didn’t find the characters that interesting.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Barbour Books, through CelebrateLit and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
More from Naomi
Welcome to my wilderness – that’s what it says when you pop onto my website, because so many of my books take place in rural and wilderness settings. That’s where my heart lives too. Therefore, when I decided to write a World War II story, I gravitated to the home front, to rural America, where living out the war years meant a different kind of survival.
Before this story idea came to me, I knew that prisoners of war had been held in America during part of the war years. There are a number of other wonderful WWII novels out there set in North America involving POWs, and I adore the 2005 movie Sweet Land. Yet, until looking further, I hadn’t realized that so many German soldiers were held right here in my home state of Wisconsin! In fact, thousands of prisoners were sent to work in our country’s canning factories and on our farms. How could I have grown up and never been told that there had once been a POW camp right in my home town?
In fact, there were 38 such “branch camps” just in Wisconsin alone—camps that housed workers specifically for contracting work on farms and in canneries. Workers were contracted by farmers with the army and sent to labor in the cranberry bogs, cherry orchards, apple orchards; to farms picking beans, peas, corn, and to tend the other crops. By international treaty, prisoners had to be paid for their work, so they were allowed to earn scrip in the equivalent of 80 cents per day which they could spend in camp canteens on personal items.
Bingo! There was the seed that burst through the soil of my imagination for my novel Season of My Enemy.
My heroine Fanny O’Brien is a Wisconsin farm girl who left state teacher’s college to manage her family’s farm during the war. She never imagined herself coordinating the work of eight German prisoners in the process—or what the outcome of that task would be.
I believe a great story has to reveal strong yet subtle themes in order for the characters and their plight to feel real. In Season of My Enemy, Fannie uncovers a lot of prejudice both in her own heart and as her eyes are opened to the broader sphere around her. There are all kinds of prejudice in the world, and some of it revealed in this story may surprise you. In fact, my editor and several other authors of WWII fiction who read the book all said, “I didn’t know that!” (I won’t tell you what they were referring to, because you know…spoilers.)
Season of My Enemy isn’t all about history of course. It’s a heartfelt story of a man and woman who slowly yield their hearts to love amidst unpredictable times and unusual circumstances. They begin as enemies who finally look beyond their prejudices to find they have more in common than they first thought. To overcome terrific odds, they must depend upon their faith and rest in a powerful hope that touches their own lives as well as the lives of others surrounding them.
I hope you’ll read Season of My Enemy, and be sure and pop me a note to tell me what you think!
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deb’s Book Review, July 3
Book Looks by Lisa, July 4
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Betti Mace, July 5
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 6
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Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 7
Connie’s History Classroom, July 8
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To celebrate her tour, Naomi is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran.