Thursday, August 27, 2015

Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke

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I'm not really sure what to say about this book, but "Wow"!! I started to read it over the weekend and then D's oldest niece started it as well and read it and she couldn't put it down.  I didn't want to put it down either, but duty did call and so I just now finished the book.

The story is written in two different time frames: one by the daughter Hannah seeking to understand her mother Liselotte and the other by Liselotte herself telling what she went through in Germany during WWII. She was the daughter of a prominent officer who would offer the Jews false papers, etc. in exchange for their wealth and then he would turn them in and they would be captured and taken to concentration camps or wherever, but not offered freedom. Liselotte was involved in trying to help the Jews in hiding and apparently her father was following her and turning these same people in.  I don't want to say more because it gives away too much of the story.

It's a story of redemption and forgiveness.  Nothing undoes the crimes and atrocities committed during World War II; nothing can bring back those killed in horrible ways. But forgiveness must still happen, but as humans we are not able to forgive in our own strength-- God must forgive for us.

Listen to a few portions from the book. This first one was taken when Liselotte was concerned that her daughter may be the product of a rape and not from the love of her and her husband and this is the "Sister's" response: "My dear," she laughed softly. "We're all trash. It's only His love and grace, His forgiveness, that makes us clean. And it's only by forgiving that we can be free of that poison that would steal our life. Don't hate, my child. That's a prison worse than Ravensbruck."

So true, but so hard to do sometimes. Cathy also weaves in a bit of Corrie ten Boom's story into the plot lines. In the end Hannah meets Corrie and Corries tells her story of needing to forgive the SS officer who had been one of her guards.  Forgiveness was able to bring peace.  I need to remember that in my own life. My inability to forgive will hurt myself more than it will hurt the one I cannot forgive.

The book is excellently written. I will not hesitate next time to get a book by Cathy Gohlke.

This book was given me by Tyndale House for the purpose of reading and writing a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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