Thursday, August 28, 2014

Safe Haven by Anna Schmidt

I really like this series by Schmidt. I have learned so much about WW II, while at the same time enjoying well written novels.

In this, the third in the series, FDR has arranged for nearly one thousand WW II refugees to come to America. Included in the group are some of those from previous novels. The main characters in this one are Suzanne, a journalist who needs to redeem her career, and Theo, a Quaker dairy farmer from Wisconsin and relative to one of the refugees.

This is a great continuation of the story. The refugees, many of them Jews who have escaped from concentration camps, were placed in a “camp” near Oswego, NY. Many locals were sympathetic to the needs of the refugees while some were suspicious and exhibited anti-Semitic feelings. The director of the camp wanted to see to the immediate needs of the refugees but also help them to prepare psychologically for life after the war. The refugees had signed an agreement to return to Europe when the war was over but that became a political issue as many wanted to stay.

I love it when I learn some history as I read a historical novel. And that is the case here. The Fort Ontario Refugee Shelter, also known as Safe Haven, was the only refugee center established in the U. S. during WW II. Schmidt has crafted an excellent novel based on these historical facts. We readers get to experience the anxiety of the refugees, their hesitation at being in a foreign country, and their celebration when the war was over.

To add interest and a framework for the historical narrative, Schmidt has added an investigative reporter, a bossy congressman, a wonderful Quaker farmer, and other well developed characters. This is a very good WW II novel and is part of a very good WW II series. I highly recommend it.

Anna Schmidt has three times been a finalist for the coveted RITA award for romance fiction and has twice been recognized by Romantic Times magazine with their Reviewer's Choice Award. She has written twenty five novels. Find out more about her and her books at www.booksbyanna.com.

Barbour Publishing, 320 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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