Author: Gemma Liviero
Genre: adult, historical fiction, women's fiction,
Published: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
A Nazi doctor. A Jewish rebel. A little girl. Each one will fight for freedom—or die trying.
Imprisoned in the Lodz Ghetto, Elsi discovers her mother’s desperate attempt to end her pregnancy and comes face-to-face with the impossibility of their situation. Risking her own life, Elsi joins a resistance group to sabotage the regime.
Blonde, blue-eyed Matilda is wrenched from her family in Romania and taken to Germany, where her captors attempt to mold her into the perfect Aryan child. Spirited and brave, she must inspire hope in the other stolen children to make her dreams of escape a reality.
Willem, a high-ranking Nazi doctor, plans to save lives when he takes posts in both the ghetto and Auschwitz. After witnessing unimaginable cruelties, he begins to question his role and the future of those he is ordered to destroy.
While Hitler ransacks Europe in pursuit of a pure German race, the lives of three broken souls—thrown together by chance—intertwine. Only love and sacrifice might make them whole again.
* * *
This is easily one of my favorite historical fictions this year!
I picked up Broken Angels without expectations. I know it's historical fiction but I know nothing about the author's previous work - how she writes, if there were early reviews for this book or what. I just dig in.
"And, Elsi, it is not what the world will give to you - it is what you must give to the world that matters. If we all just give a little..." -loc199, eARC
Broken Angels is told in three perspectives (as mentioned in the blurb) - a Nazi doctor, a Jewish rebel, and a little Romanian girl. I like how their stories intertwine - just how they all meet, how I foresaw everything, and how well it was all written. It's a bit slow-paced in the begging. Patience is key, my friends. It pays off.
Anyway, it's slow-paced because there's a lot of introduction and I think that they are all very important. Liviero establishes the characters well and it is because of this that they all genuinely got stuck in me. I LOVE them all. They're all broken people but together, they found a way to live through everything - through the war, through the loss, through the difficulties. I also love how each of their relationships were slowly developed.
"Some girls are designed for greatness, and others designed for purpose." -loc1370, eARC
It's important that I tell you that this is a heartbreaking story. The things that they went through really broke my heart and many times it seems that everything is against them. Elsi's Jewish roots immediately make everything against her. Her life in the the ghetto was a bit hard and painful to read (but I'm used to it as I've read a few more historical fiction with painful stories). Matilda, a Romanian girl taken from her family, brought to an 'orphanage' where she's molded to become Aryan. I love her bravery and how much she stands up for the things she believes despite her young age. She felt like the most realistic character throughout the book - her fears, her doubts, and her choices. Willem, a Nazi doctor who hides under the name of his father, hates Hitler's ways. He's forced to do things that are completely against the things he believes but he finds his way.
Many times, I find myself completely absorbed in the story of these three. I did not expect it. I honestly thought that I'd get a bit bored or what but NO! It must be my interest in the story though. I strongly advice that if you're not exactly interested in historical fiction or WWII, just don't pick this up. It's a really wonderful read but may not exactly be for everyone.
"But now I understand things. I know that to know love, you have to feel pain first. That is when you can truly understand what it is and how to appreciate it." - loc3785, eARC
Not only did Liviero wrote the characters well. The setting was well explored - the things happening well explained, and the situations are told in full story. This made everything easier to imagine, think about, and sometimes be upset about (but that's part of reality). Liviero really brought me to the world of these three characters. I may not exactly feel what they feel and full understand their struggles but at the very least, I was able to somehow know why they do things and why they feel things.
Have I also mention how beautiful the ending is? It's completely unforgettable. It made me smile and feel so happy for everyone :)
She believes that everyone we meet influences us, that we need to hear their stories to learn more about ourselves. -loc5701, eARC
OVERALL, Broken Angels is a heartbreaking historical fiction. I think it's one of those stories that are not always told. I LOVE all the characters and how they struggle to remain hopeful despite everything they've been through and everything that's going on around them. This is easily one of my fave reads in 2016.
~I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review~