Love In The Time Of War

Today’s Post by Ellen Marie Wiseman, author of THE PLUM TREE | @EllenMarieWise

We’ve got a copy of THE PLUM TREE up for grabs today. Just leave a comment on this post and you’ll be entered.

Ellen Marie Wiseman

Update: the winner of this giveaway is Faith Hope & Cherry Tea. She has been notified by email. Thanks to everyone who entered! Check back soon for more giveaways!

When it comes to love during a time of war, there are millions of stories waiting to be told. In my novel, The Plum Tree, a poor, young German woman, Christine Bölz, falls in love with Isaac Bauerman, the son of her wealthy Jewish employer, in Nazi Germany on the eve of WWII.

When I wrote The Plum Tree, I could have focused on any number of family stories as the foundation for my plot.  My grandparents’ story sounds straight out of a romantic movie— “Devoted husband and father of three is drafted into the German Army during WWII and sent to the Eastern front, where he is captured and sent to a POW camp. For two years his family has no idea if he is dead or alive, until he shows up on their doorstep one day. ”

In the photo taken before my Opa is sent off to fight, my grandparents are smiling as they pose with my mother and uncles. I often wonder what was going through their minds at the time. Did they worry that this could be the last time they would be together? Did they wonder if the war would come to their small village and threaten their children’s lives?

During the four years Opa was gone, Oma repaired damaged military uniforms to bring in a small income. She stood in ration lines for hours on end, made sugar out sugar beets, and bartered beechnuts for cooking oil. She cooked on a woodstove, made clothes out of cotton sheets, raised chickens and grew vegetables to keep her children fed. Under the cover of night, she put food out for passing Jewish prisoners and listened to illegal foreign radio broadcasts—both crimes punishable by death. She put blackout paper over the house windows so the enemy wouldn’t see their light and, night after night when the air raid sirens went off, ran down the street to hide with her terrified children inside a bomb shelter.

I could have based the story on my maternal great grandparents, who survived WWI only to have my great-grandfather killed in WWII while trying to save the family home during an air raid. A burning wall from a neighboring barn fell on top of him, and my great-grandmother was severely burned trying to save him.

I could have based the book on my mother, who, after reading American magazines left behind by occupying Allied soldiers, took a ship to America alone, at the age of twenty-one, to marry an American soldier she barely knew.

These stories and more were the inspiration behind The Plum Tree. But by inventing the love story between Christine and Isaac, I was able to tell them all. Imagine my surprise when, after I named my main character Christine, my mother told me that my great-parents’ names were Christine and Christian. I guess it was meant to be!

Ellen Marie Wiseman  was born and raised in Three Mile Bay, a tiny hamlet in Northern New York. A first generation American, Ellen has traveled frequently to visit her family in Germany, where she fell in love with the country’s history and culture. A mother of two, Ellen lives peacefully on the shores of Lake Ontario with her husband and three dogs.

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About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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54 Responses to Love In The Time Of War

  1. Jayne D. February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like a very interesting story and I would love to be able to read it.
    Thanks

  2. Wanda February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Moving this to the top of my ‘want to read’ list. Thanks!

  3. Rachel February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    What a lovely concept for a novel

  4. Paula Dolin February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I love historical love stories. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  5. Billie February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Love historical fiction…can’t wait.

  6. kay February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Putting this on my reading list!!

  7. Verla Powers February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Stories based on WWII are favorites of mine. I think that is because I was a child during that war and remember the newscasts, the fear I felt during air raids, and the relief in knowing the war had ended. I live in a military town and have met some of the “war brides,” elderly now, and still happy with their decision to marry an American soldier.

  8. Jeanne S. February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    The book sounds wonderful–would love to win a copy!

  9. Heather Marsten February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Looking forward to your novel. My sister-in-law grew up in Germany during the war. She had a tough life. Her father was forced to kill himself by Hitler, then given full military honors. They struggled to survive. Once they lost their food ration coupons and had to live on potatoes and pine needle tea for a month. She doesn’t eat potatoes now. I’m interested to see how the characters in your novel will play out for you added the extra factor of a Jewish husband to a German wife at a tough time for Jews. Have a blessed day.
    HM at HVC dot RR dot COM

  10. Delinda Mauney February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Used to read a lot of historical fiction. This book might turn me back to that being my favorite reading group. Thanks

  11. jane February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    this sounds like the type of book i love!

  12. Myra February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like a wonderful story!

  13. Shay February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I don’t know if I love these kinds of story because I am a military wife or if it’s the historical atmosphere. I guess it could be both.

  14. diana mack February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    its such a horrible time in history but the stories that come out….

  15. Denise Kaiser February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    What an amazing life story! Sounds like a book I would love to read.

  16. Brenda February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds full of intrigue! I would enjoy reading this! Thank you for the chance to win a copy!

  17. Nancy Terry February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    What interesting background info !
    I would love to win the copy to give to my GRANDdaughters! ((They would be amazed that Mimi finally won something!)
    I will but a copy for myself.

    Congratulations on what sounds like a delightful read!

  18. Deb February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    This sounds like a powerful story. I would love to win a copy to read.

  19. Carol Grayshock February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    The Plum Tree sounds like a good book, thanks for the chance for a free book.

  20. Ruth O February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    What a rich heritage, and sounds like a great read. I’m going to add it to my ‘to-read’ list. Thanks for showing us another author, too.

  21. amyc February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like a delightful read. Thanks.

  22. Brooke February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Being someone who does not know their family history, this sounds very interesting. Thank you for the sugestion.

  23. Brooke February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    *suggestion

  24. Katherine Jones February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    My historical fiction tastes are selective, but this one sounds just right. Crossing my fingers. Thank you for sharing with us.

  25. shannon brown February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    I love any story based on WWII, so this will be a must read!

  26. Gwyn February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    I think reading historical fiction is my favorite!!! This book is on to read list!!

  27. Julie Kibler February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    This is a WONDERFUL book! I got to read an early copy, and it’s one of my favorites of 2012 (Christmas day, ALMOST 2013!). Ellen’s beautiful writing is a force to be reckoned with, and this story is gorgeous and compelling! And Ellen? She is a gem. (Obviously, I don’t need to be in the drawing! I’m just gushing to see her here today!)

  28. cammih February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds like a wonderful read!! A good one to pass around!!

  29. Carl February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    I had previously read about this book on David Abrams’ blog The Quivering Pen. It sounds very good, and the cover really is lovely, after all. Thanks for the giveaway, I’d love to win a copy.
    carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

  30. Ellen Marie Wiseman February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Wow! Thank you for all of your wonderful comments! I truly appreciate your kind words and hope all of you get a chance to read THE PLUM TREE! Nothing would make me happier. Thanks also to Julie Kibler for her lovely compliments. CALLING ME HOME is a stunning novel, (talk about a force to be reckoned with!) so her endorsement means a lot! And a thousand thanks to She Reads for having me here. This made my day!

  31. Linda Stott February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    This book sound like a wonderful read. One you would not put down until the last page was read!

  32. AnitaL February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    I have a copy of THE PLUM TREE, won from The Debutante Ball, and I am really anxious to read it!! Ellen’s family history makes her book all the more interesting, thank you so much for sharing it.

  33. Jaime Boler February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    I want to read this!

  34. Kathy February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    I’m intrigued by how the author’s family history inspired the story of “The Plum Tree.” This book has all the marks of a great romance, sprinkled with history and bit of mystery of how to survive in war-torn times. I would enjoy reading this book.

  35. Sue February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Your family history is so interesting.
    If it influenced your book at all, I know it will be a good story. would love the chance to read it.

  36. Kim February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    This sounds like a great story to read! I love the fact that she is bringing in her own family history too.

  37. Melissa Crytzer Fry February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    I’ve heard so much about this book and can’t wait to read it! The family background makes it an even more fascinating read, I think.

  38. Bonnie K. February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Glad Ellen Marie Wiseman learned about her family history. I think it’s important to be reminded of the struggles our ancestors dealt with and how many were able to survive. I would love to read this book.

  39. faith hope & cherrytea February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Fabulous! can’t wait to read this. luv the surprise you rcvd from your mom & the confirmation of God with you in the writing/tellling… blessings on your success and the advancing of His kingdom thru you…

  40. Susan Coster February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    My dad fought in WWII. This would be a wonderful tribute to him.

  41. Jackie February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Wow, this seems like a fantastic story! I will certainly be reading the book! Such a wonderful background for a story involving love that could not be broken and history.
    I hope to be reading this book soon.

  42. Lois Hudson February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Beautiful concept. I look forward to reading it.

  43. Vanessa February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    This sounds like a great story. Love the story behind it!

  44. Becky S February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    I love to read historical fiction, especially love stories!

  45. Ellen Marie Wiseman February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Thank you so, so much for your comments! I hope you ALL get to read THE PLUM TREE! :)

  46. Lana February 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Love historical fiction. Intrigued by this era of history.

  47. Ann Ellison February 9, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Would love a win a copy of this book. Thanks for the chance.

  48. rhonda February 9, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    This book sound perfect for.me.thanks for giveaway

  49. Jacki schell February 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    The book was highly rated by NY Journal of Books. I have had the pleasure of reading it and have shared it with my family. After you have read it , you will be fans, too. If you don’t win a copy, treat yourself by buying a copy.

  50. Susan @ The Book Bag February 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    If it’s not too late, I would love to be entered in this giveaway! I love reading stories that take place in this time period. Thanks for the chance to win your fabulous sounding book!

  51. Ellen Marie Wiseman February 11, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Thank you everyone for your great comments! And thank you Jackie Schnell for the wonderful endorsement! It’s truly appreciated!

  52. Lisa Hughes February 11, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Have heard wonderful things about this book and am looking forward to reading it!

  53. Dawn February 11, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    May Adoni bless you and keep you, may He make His face to shine upon you, and give you Peace!

  54. faith hope & cherrytea February 12, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Absolutely delited!
    TY so much for the giveaway generosity.
    I will be anticipating the post :))

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