THE PLUM TREE
This title is an extraordinary debut novel in which the author’s childhood trips visiting family in Germany impart a heartbreaking realism. A Holocaust story told from the unlikely perspective of a German teenage girl in love with a Jewish boy, it explores the horrors and fears of innocent citizens on the homefront, as well as the risks they were willing to take to do the right thing. Ultimately a story of human survival and enduring love despite insurmountable odds, it’s an original and important addition to the World War II canon.
Seventeen-year-old German housekeeper Christine is overjoyed when her Jewish employer’s son Isaac confesses that he shares her feelings. But just as the pair are exploring their romance, Hitler’s regime threatens to tear them apart forever. The young couple maintains the relationship in secret until it becomes too dangerous. Christine’s love for Isaac eventually threatens her family and takes her all the way to Dachau, but that love also gives her enough hope to stay alive through the worst atrocities of the war. (KENSINGTON, Jan., 400 pp., $15.00)