Against the Wind
Bodie & Brock Thoene
Summerside, Mar 29 2011, $14.99
By 1940, the Nazis control much of central Europe. Jewish violinist Elisa Lindheim Murphy and her American newspaper reporter spouse John Murphy accompanied by their three kids manage to flee Germany in 1937 and soon after leave Vienna for London. However, Britain does not prove much safer as the German Luftwaffe Blitz the country. Hitler’s invasion seems imminent as the Battle of Britain rages in the sky and at sea.
John and Elisa send their twin adopted eight years old sons Charles and Louis Kroenberger and their seventeen month old baby Katie to live in America with his parents. As the North Atlantic turns deadly, Elisa decides to escort Jewish children to the States. In late October 1940 a U-boat sinks the SS Newcastle. Elisa and others manage to get on lifeboats, but ten days later their prayers have not been answered. She knows young Connor with his tin whistle is a hero that future books will never know of and thinks if she had her violin she would play Kol Nidre to tell people how it felt when the torpedoes hit the refugee vessel.
The latest Zion Diaries (see The Gathering Storm) is a deep WWII drama as the battle of Britain may have been the finest hour, but for years this is one of Europe’s darkest eras. Bombing of civilian populations; sinking of ships with children; killing people for their religion, race or color are the norm. The story line grips the audience from the start as Elisa on a lifeboat writes her last will and never slows down. The Thoene team provides a compassionate poignant historical as a few brave but frightened people poke an index finger in Hitler’s eye.