Series: Of Love and War Series
Publication Date: June 2014
Publisher: Hatchette Book Group
ARC from Netgalley.com and Hatchette Book Group
Hope at Dawn is a novel set in 1918 during World War I in rural Iowa and based on a small slice of American history. The story promotes an awareness of the prejudice that exists during times of war against people of the opposing nationality. The small town of Hilden, Iowa was settled by a large number of people of German American descent. Many of these people were born and raised in the United States; however, during this war, the townspeople who saw themselves as “true” Americans discriminated and harassed the German American population.
The story describes the conflict that arises when a young woman whose brothers are fighting in France at the time falls in love with a young German American farmer in the community. I enjoyed the historical aspects of the novel and the authenticity of the details she uses in the story. Her author’s notes in the beginning offer some insight into actual events that she uses in the story. I enjoyed having a clear idea of what the story was based on before I actually started the book.
Livy Campbell is a lovely young woman who had to give up her college hopes after one year in order to come home and help on her family’s farm when her two older brothers leave for the war. Livy hears about a teaching job at a dance where she has gone to celebrate her birthday with her boyfriend Robert, who fails to show up. Friedrick Wagner offers the lonely Livy a dance, and he mentions a teaching position open in his small town. The story of Livy and Friedrick begins this night and continues as Livy becomes a teacher in Hilden and Friedrick becomes the school’s maintenance man.
Friedrick Wagner is dedicated to his family and has a deferment from fighting in the war due to his ailing father and their farm. Friedrick suffers a great deal of harassment for no other reason than the fact that he is young and healthy and not fighting. Added to the issue is his German American heritage. He is a caring and devout young man who works hard to take care of his dying father and young siblings in spite of the prejudice.
The characters face many trials throughout the story, several based on actual historical events. The story is interesting and definitely keeps the reader’s attention. Many characters exist in the story allowing an easy transition into the next book in the series, A Hope Remembered. I believe readers of historical fiction that enjoy this time period will enjoy this novel, as well as those readers who enjoy inspirational historical fiction.
This ARC copy was received from Hatchette Publishing Group and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.