Author: Emily Ann Putzke
Source: Free review copy from author
Publication date: February 22nd, 2016
Blurb: Munich, Germany 1942—Hans Scholl never intended to get his younger sister involved in an underground resistance. When Sophie Scholl finds out, she insists on joining Hans and his close friends in writing and distributing anti-Nazi leaflets entitled, The White Rose. The young university students call out to the German people, begging them to not allow their consciences to become dormant, but to resist their tyrannical leader and corrupt government. Hans knows the consequences for their actions—execution for committing high treason—but firm in his convictions, he’s prepared to lose his life for a righteous cause. Based on a true story, Hans, Sophie and all the members of The White Rose resistance group will forever inspire and challenge us to do what is right in the midst of overwhelming evil.
Ever since reading Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place, I have become interested in resistance efforts during the World Wars, and was excited to dive into Emily Ann Putzke’s newest novel about the White Rose resistance movement.
What stands out most to me about Resist is how seamlessly the historical detail is incorporated into the story. Not once did I get pulled out of the story by a lack or an excess of historical detail-a fact that I didn’t realize until I finished the book because I was so deeply immersed in the story. That takes a certain amount of authorial skill and Emily has that. Her research is meticulous and it brought the characters and the time period to life for me, making the book resound with truth.
Speaking of characters, this book is character driven, and I loved that. Since this book is essentially a fictionalized retelling of the lives of real war heroes, the plot has already been laid out and documented, as have the characters. Capturing the essence of the characters and what they went through is a tall order but Emily stepped up to the task and mastered it.
Hans and Sophie Scholl, and the others whom they recruited to help them spread pamphlets about the dangers of Nazism and Hitler’s reign and to ignite a greater resistance, were brave people and true war heroes. The White Rose resistance group were a people united in their yearning for something greater than themselves, something so great they were willing to give up everything in order to save their whole country.
Emily could have portrayed Hans and Sophie and the other characters as inflated, pompous war heroes. But they were also real people, and Emily made sure to portray that as well. She showed the characters struggling with loyalty to the Nazis or doing what they knew deep inside was right. These weren’t perfect people-they still made mistakes.
Hans was selfless. It showed in the way he was never satisfied with his resistance efforts. After a time, simply writing the leaflets was not enough for him. He kept on reaching for more and more, ever throwing himself into more danger, and all because he wanted to see justice in his world and explore how far he could go. Just how much of himself he could sacrifice to help others. He wrangled with emotions-guilt, regret, fear the rush of adrenaline, joy-that were so true that I couldn’t help but feel them along with him. Emily did not shy away from the tough questions. She asked them and made the characters wrestle with them, and because of that, I found that I could connect with them at a much deeper level.
I loved the sibling relationship that Hans and Sophie had, and the friendships that they had with the other members of their resistance group. There was a even a sweet and tastefully written romance thread thrown into the mix. Sure, they were all united by their bravery, but they also had a soft side to them, a human side. They bonded over a love of literature because for them, it was a touch of sanity, of hope, in an insane world. While I sometimes found their dialogue to be a teensy bit unrealistic, most of the time I marveled at how it jumped off the page as snappy and humorous and real.
I also loved Sophie. She was a strong woman. Hans was a compassionate man and his love for others, including his sister Sophie made it difficult to pull them into the resistance effort. Nevertheless, she became involved with a fiery passion for spreading truth and she would stop for nothing. I loved how the men in this book actually respected women; they acted with chivalry towards them but at the same time gave them the room to be the brave women that they were.
And then there was the ending. That heartbreaking ending that stripped the characters to the bone and revealed just how brave they really were.
Resist was a stunning book. It pulled me deep into the story of a young group of people who refused to take the easy path in life by idly watching the machine of government spin round and round. I was pulled into a world of compassion and bravery that shone amongst the heartbreak. I was shown the power of literature, family and friendship. But most of all, I realized just how much of an impact a few people with a heart for being the change they want to see in the world, can make.
Resist is part tribute, part riveting story. And it’s one you don’t want to miss.
I received this book from the author for free in exchange for my honest review.
Have you ever heard of the White Rose resistance group? Thinking of picking this book up?