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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Night Sky: A Journey From Dachau to Denver and Back by Maria Sutton

The Night Sky: A Journey From Dachau to Denver and Back by Maria Sutton
Johnson Books
ISBN: 978-1555664466
Published Oct 1, 2011
Hardcover, 240 pages

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Maria Sutton's well-written memoir of her life-long search for her birth father, a Polish officer who was a prisoner of war in Germany during WWII. I was drawn in right from the first page and captivated throughout as Maria puts the pieces together of what happened since the day the SS tore her from her home and into forced labor. How would her mother meet her handsome father? And why would he eventually abandon his young family?

These questions and more were the impetus that started the author on her life-long quest. Through her own experience as a federal government investigator and her travels to Europe to trace her parents' footsteps and to track the birthplaces of her relatives, Sutton puts together her parents' story. It is a heartbreaking story but also one of determination and courage. She tells it so well, not just because of her meticulous research, but also her storytelling techniques to the point that her parents came alive to me through her words. Sutton skillfully builds her memoir revealing her past piece by piece. She has created a beautiful book for her family.

I didn't know what to expect when I was given the opportunity to review this book, and I am pleased to have truly enjoyed reading it. I learned what the Slavic people went through during the Nazi invasion, what displaced persons had to endure, and what they had to go through to start over in America. As a second-generation Italian, I have an inkling of growing up different in North America, and I could easily sympathize with Sutton's first years in America. I have tremendous respect for those who suffered during the War and started over in another country.

There were a few scenes that had me in tears. One was what a mother in forced labor had to endure after her baby was born, and the second was the reunion between Sutton's mother and her long-lost brother. But I also smiled at the scenes where Sutton meets relatives she never even knew she had.

If you like memoirs and WWII stories, you will enjoy Sutton's account. Her honest and mixed feelings about her discoveries, her love of family, and her captivating writer's voice will make this a memorable read.

Note: This book is rated V = violence. There are factual descriptions of horrible things that took place during the War.
I will count this book toward the following challenges: TBR Pile Reading Challenge, A - Z Book Challenge

Reviewed by Laura

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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