Reviewer Fran Lewis:
Fran worked in the NYC Public Schools as the Reading and Writing
Staff Developer for over 36 years. She has three masters degrees and
a PD in Supervision and Administration. Currently. She is a member of
Who's Who of America's Teachers and Who's
Who of America's Executives from Cambridge. In addition,
she is the author of three children's books and a fourth Alzheimer’s
book is Memories are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey: Ruth’s story
in honor of her mom. Fran
hopes to create more awareness for a cure of Alzheimer.
She was also the musical director for shows in her school and ran the school's newspaper. Fran writes reviews for authors upon request and for several other sites. You can read some of my reviews on Ezine.com and on ijustfinished under the name Gabina. Follow Here To Listen to Fran's Radio Show and Here
Author: Andy Andrews
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
I give this book five white roses. White roses are given to someone when you forgive them for what they have done
Author: Andy Andrews
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Imagine going into your backyard and digging up an old wax myrtle tree and finding something extraordinary underneath it. As author Andy Andrews dug under his old tree he found some buttons, medals and photographs linking back to WWII and Nazi Germany. While researching the origin of these buttons, medals and the photographs he uncovers a story that will open up some heavy wounds, bring tears to your eyes and remind you that it is never to late for love. This brings me to my review of The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances by author Andy Andrews.
In this rusted metal container hidden beneath this tree he finds Nazi memorabilia and a picture of Adolph Hitler and buttons and medals worn by the German Military. Determined to find the origin of these things and the owner, Andy Andrews researched the time period, questioned the people where he lived and found out the startling information that would create a story of intrigue, murder, hate, forgiveness, loyalty and understanding.
Hans Gunther Kulmann and Josef Bartels Landermann were friends ad young men and assigned to the same U-Boat. Kulmann was the commanding officer and Landermann his translator. As part of a group of men assigned to German subs that were dispatched to the Gulf of Mexico to sink U.S.Boats, which carried goods and fuel. These men and their crew committed a heinous crime in the eyes of one Joseph Schneider, a Nazi observer on their ship. They had forewarned the submarine’s commander before blowing it up. They did not kill the crew. When Josef and Hans are reproached by this man, he makes it clear that some type of action would be taken against Josef as a reminder that he was really in charge and for something that happened to him as Josef’s hand in the past. But, what this observer did not know was that Josef and his commander were best friends and Josef had saved his life, which explains the reason there was an Iron Cross in the metal container.
The Germans sank submarines in the Gulf and were quite successful. Texas, Louisiana, and Florida were attacked on their coastlines. Naval historians related that Germany concentrated war effort in the Gulf of Mexico in 1942 and early 1943. Author Andy Andrews describes these attacks and the U-Boat Captains who earned Germany’s Distinguished Iron Cross for their efforts as they disrupted U.S. oil and gas supplies for the first half of the war helping to remind the reader that WWII was fought on American soil too.
Forgiveness is not always easy to give when someone you care about and love is taken from you. Helen Mason was an angry and bitter woman who was always mad. The Germans leaving her bitter, alone and angry killed her husband. When Josef Landermann washed up on the beach, she could barely contain her anger when she found out he was a German soldier. Yet, she saved his life and kept him hidden in her cottage. Why?
Working in a small café in Alabama she and owners Margaret, Billy and their son Danny, who had Down syndrome, formed a strong bond. Danny was the one who realized Helen’s problem and he was the one he told her to forgive and let go of her anger for herself. He told her to give it to God hoping this would help her to release her anger. But, if anyone found out her secret, she feared for her life and that of Josef.
The author draws the reader into the lives of the characters in this small town and how their relationships affect one another. Flashing back to the events that led up to Josef meeting Helen and her life before, the reader begins to understand that both Helen and Josef need to understand the true meaning of forgiveness before they can move ahead.
The one thing that makes Andy Andrews stand above the rest is the way his stories draw the reader in from the first word on the first page. Keeping the suspense going throughout and adding a special bond between him and the characters making his books interesting, noteworthy and the reader wanting for more.
As Helen and Josef begin their journey together and shared their pasts and their secrets their lives began to settle into a normal rhythm and routine the inevitable happens. The past resurfaced and their world would be shattered in a blink of an eye. Josef spots the one man who could ruin it all and take everything away from him including his life. Secrets are about to unfold and truths will finally be told as one Nazi spy helping a second comes face to face with the unexpected. One deputy sheriff who proves loyal, faithful does the unthinkable to try to right a wrong and create a better present.
With an ending that will keep you holding your breath until the very end. Surprises that you will not expect and three people whose lives would never be the same. Andy Andrews takes us on a journey back in time and brings it full circle into the present.
I give this book five white roses. White roses are given to someone when you forgive them for what they have done.