The Good at Heart

  • From the Publisher
March 6, 2017

Based on the author’s dis­cov­er­ies about her great-grand­fa­ther, this stun­ning debut nov­el takes place over three days when World War II comes to the doorstep of an ordi­nary Ger­man fam­i­ly liv­ing in an idyl­lic, rur­al vil­lage near the Swiss bor­der.

When World War II breaks out, Edith and Oskar Eber­hardt move their fam­i­ly — their daugh­ter, Mari­na; son-in-law, Franz; and their grand­daugh­ters — out of Berlin and into a small house in the qui­et town of Blu­men­tal, near Switzer­land. A mem­ber of Hitler’s cab­i­net, Oskar is gone most of the time, and Franz begins fight­ing in the war, so the women of the house are left to their qui­et lives in the pic­turesque vil­lage.

But life in Blu­men­tal isn’t as idyl­lic as it appears. An ego­tis­ti­cal Nazi cap­tain ter­ror­izes the cit­i­zens he’s assigned to pro­tect. Neigh­bors spy on each oth­er. Some mys­te­ri­ous­ly dis­ap­pear. Mari­na has a lover who also has close ties to her fam­i­ly and the gov­ern­ment. Think­ing none of them share her hatred of the Reich, she joins a Protes­tant priest smug­gling Jew­ish refugees over the near­by Swiss bor­der. The lat­est pack­age” is two Pol­ish girls who’ve lost the rest of their fam­i­ly, and against her bet­ter judg­ment, Mari­na finds she must hide them in the Eberhardt’s cel­lar. Every­thing is set to go smooth­ly until Oskar comes home with the news that the Führer will be vis­it­ing the area for a con­cert, and he will be mak­ing a house call on the Eber­hardts.

Based on the author’s dis­cov­er­ies about her great-grand­fa­ther, this extra­or­di­nary debut, full of love, tragedy, and sus­pense, is a sen­si­tive por­trait of a fam­i­ly torn between doing their duty for their coun­try and doing what’s right for their coun­try, and espe­cial­ly for those they love.

Vis­it­ing Scribe: Ursu­la Werner

What My Nazi Great-Grand­fa­ther Taught Me About the Oblig­a­tion to Act

The Enter­prise of Read­ing Anne Frank as a Writer

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