Dobson (Catching the Wind) delivers another era-hopping tale that pairs a contemporary sleuth with a secretive plot to escape the Nazis at the end of WWII. In 1938 Austria, overrun by Hitler’s Anschluss, Max Dornbach, now in his mid-20s, yearns for Jewish Luzi Weiss even as his childhood friend, Annika Knopf, yearns for him. Max’s family, for whom Annika’s father works, owns the massive Schloss Schwansee estate on Lake Hallstatt, deep in the Alps and far from Vienna, where Max spends most of his time. Luzi, a gifted violinist living in Vienna, becomes frightened that she will be executed as the Nazi march nears the capital. After promising his Jewish friends he would hide their possessions, Max convinces Annika, a woman of deep faith, to help him, but without revealing he also plans to hide Luzi—a decision that could get them all killed. Dobson intertwines their story with that of Callie Randall, co-owner of Magic Balloon Bookshop in Mount Vernon, Ohio, who receives a copy of Bambi with an inscription to Annika Knopf dated 1932. Along with a doctor who believes Nazi treasure is buried in Lake Hallstatt, the two embark on a journey to uncover what happened to Annika, and on the way discover the full history of Max, Luzi, and the sprawling estate where they lived. This exciting tale will please fans of time-jump inspirational fiction.
Star-crossed, forbidden love and the disappearance of family members and hidden treasure make a compelling WWII storyline and set the stage for modern-day detective work in Dobson’s latest time-slip novel. [This] is Dobson at her best.
A stunning family mystery, this novel is poignant, resonant, and long after the last page, its breathtaking twist will have you asking, ‘What would I have done?’
[A] glorious treasure hunt, uniting past and present with each delightful revelation. Dobson celebrates faith and the strength of human spirit in true-to-life settings, high-stakes decisions, and heart-gripping characters. It’s must-read historical fiction that left me pondering well-crafted twists for days.
With great skill and grace, Melanie Dobson weaves the past and present together in a beautiful story of love . . . [with] an unpredictable and completely satisfying ending.