The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman

December 24, 2012

Blurb

“Bloom where you’re planted,” is the advice Christine Bolz receives from her beloved Oma. But seventeen-year-old domestic Christine knows there is a whole world waiting beyond her small German village. It’s a world she’s begun to glimpse through music, books—and through Isaac Bauerman, the cultured son of the wealthy Jewish family she works for.

Yet the future she and Isaac dream of sharing faces greater challenges than their difference in stations. In the fall of 1938, Germany is changing rapidly under Hitler’s regime. Anti-Jewish posters are everywhere, dissenting talk is silenced, and a new law forbids Christine from returning to her job—and from having any relationship with Isaac. In the months and years that follow, Christine will confront the Gestapo’s wrath and the horrors of Dachau, desperate to be with the man she loves, to survive—and finally, to speak out.

Set against the backdrop of the German home front, this is an unforgettable novel of courage and resolve, of the inhumanity of war, and the heartbreak and hope left in its wake.

RHFL Classifications

World War II — Germany
Romantic Historical Fiction
Heat Rating: 1
Rating: Five Stars!

Review by Lizzie English

The Plum Tree is a deeply moving story about Christine Bolz, a teenager growing up in World War II Germany. The story is set against the entire war, which gives the reader a certain amount of heads up about what is going to go on in the novel, but even that doesn’t prepare you for the heartbreak that occurs in this novel. Christine’s life is just beginning at the start of the novel, she is in love with her employers son who shares those feelings and they plan to start a life together. Just hours later the anti-Jewish sentiments are thrown all over her neighborhood, and Christine’s hopes for the future are now for nothing.

Through the novel you see Christine go from an out-going, have to be outside because the inside is too restless, spirit to a woman who would just sit and stare from out of the back porch and mourn. It’s heartbreaking seeing this happen, it’s a gradual decline especially after all that she had been through but even through the worst of it all she tries her hardest to remain optimistic. She has her views and no Nazi Propaganda will change that, nor will it change her heart. Through the years that are covered in the book Christine remains faithful to Issac.

Her story with Issac is very, ideal, even for a time of Nazi Germany. Sometimes it seems too sweet to actually be happening. It makes the reader wonder if Christine is truly in love with Issac (even though she risks her life for him on numerous occasions landing in a concentration camp eventually as well) or if it’s just the first girl crushes. This mostly comes to mind because of some ill thought out decisions that she tends to make through out the novel. These moments leave the reader scratching their heads at a lot of her actions. It doesn’t seem plausible though some of the things she ends up getting away with.

The historical aspects of the story are very realistic. From the moment the book starts you’re submerged in the the time of World War II. From the starvation, to the bigotry, and the actions of the Nazi soldiers. It’s normally hard for me to be moved greatly by a book but I was finding myself crying a few times by this book. The descriptions are moving (although sometimes a bit repetitive) especially during the moments of high tension. It’s hard to describe the moments that a truly moving without ruining main moments in the book.

However, this story is powerfully moving and wonderful. It shows through moments of tragedy and hardship it talks courage and following your heart to get what you want the most.

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