“This was moving fast. Too fast. This was war. Not with guns and tanks, not yet at least, but with words and ideas, with ideology. And wasn’t that how war always started?”Stephanie Landsem, Code Name Edelweiss
Title: Code Name Edelweiss
Author: Stephanie Landsem
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian, Romance
Length: 12 hrs, 48 mins (Audiobook)
Publish Date: March 7th, 2023
My Rating: ★★★★★
Read: 2/23/2023 – 3/6/2023
Happy publication day!
This was everything I hoped it would be and more. Emotional, heartwarming, and infuriating at times, I was completely immersed in this story about the early days of Hitler’s reign. Instead of being on European soil, it’s set in America.
In the midst of The Great Depression, Liesl Weiss finds herself fired from MGM and without a job. Needing to provide for her two young children, her mother, and her brother, she takes the first job she can find — becoming a spy to gather information on the German American community. Also on her team is Agent Thirteen, although who exactly this agent is is something she has to discover for herself.
The character growth in this book is phenomenal. We get an uncomfortable look at the moral struggles Liesl faces such as her indifference to Hitler’s rise in Germany and denial of the anti-semitism in her own community (and later her response to it). There’s also a large focus on family, particularly between Liesl and her brother Fritz. Lastly, there is a hint of romance, however, I use the word loosely as it’s such a minor element of the story.
The narrators of the book do a nice job, although I had trouble understanding Agent Thirteen at the usual speeds I listen to. Not a huge issue, but I did have to keep going back and forth to adjust it.
Thanks to NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for providing a free audio ARC of the book to read and review!
Likes & Dislikes:
What I liked:
- Watching the character growth from start to finish. This growth wasn’t only on the protagonists. We also see a great deal of the side characters evolve.
- The terrifying look at the influence Hitler’s rein had over the entire world, not just Germany.
- The terrific flow of each plotline. Thinking back there was a lot going on in this story, but it came through naturally.
What I didn’t like:
- It took me until almost the end of the book to really care about Agent Thirteen’s perspective. For the most part, it didn’t seem like his POV was needed especially with how staggered his chapters were. The book is predominantly about Liesl.
The timeline makes me a bit curious. I haven’t read much into the effects of Hitler’s anti-semitism in America at that time, but it almost felt like it was too early (1933) for such extremities in this part of the world. Maybe a year or two down the line. I’m only basing this off of other areas of this time that I’ve studied. The extent of what was being done to Jewish people didn’t fully start coming to light until after the war. However, that’s not to say people connected to that party weren’t in the know. This is just curious speculation. It’s certainly made me want to look into this more regardless.