Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Guest Post: Drawing Inspiration from the Women Who Lived through the Third Reich by C.F. Yetmen, author of What is Forgiven

Please join me in welcoming C.F. Yetmen to Let Them Read Books! C.F. is celebrating the release of the second book in the Anna Klein series, What is Forgiven, and she's here today with a guest post about her real-life inspiration. Read on and grab the first book in the series, The Roses Underneath, for 99-cents!

The Anna Klein series

Wading through the suspicion, corruption, and uncertainty of 1945 Germany, Anna Klein clings to the hope for normalcy and returning to her pre-war life. But when her job as a translator for Monuments Man Captain Henry Cooper lands her in the position to right wartime wrongs, Anna realizes her future holds a much greater purpose.

What is Forgiven

At the end of 1945 in a shattered Germany, Anna Klein is faced with tough choices about her future. Her plum job working as a translator for Captain Henry Cooper, one of the American Monuments Men, means she has a house and an income, as well as hands-on access to some of the world’s most precious art. But her life is falling apart on all fronts: her family is displaced, the boy in her care is being sought by authorities, and she must resolve to finally end her marriage. When she realizes that someone has tampered with two important paintings taken from a Jewish collector—paintings she was charged with safeguarding—Anna is determined to solve the crime. But without hard evidence and no motive, she can prove nothing and as State Department big wigs threaten to shut down the Monument Men’s operation, she and her boss are under special scrutiny. As all signs begin to point to an inconvenient suspect in the crime, she must play it by the book to keep her job and return the art to its rightful owner, if she can find him.

Drawing Inspiration from the Women Who lived through the Third Reich 
by C.F. Yetmen

In 1945, my grandmother was a 28-year-old German woman with a five-year-old daughter. She was displaced, separated from her husband and her entire family, homeless, and destitute. Meanwhile, also in 1945, the US Army Monuments Men (officially the US Army Monuments Fine Arts and Archives Division) had in their possession the most valuable art collection, probably in the history of the world.

The idea for the Anna Klein series came to me when my interest in my grandmother’s real-life story converged with my interest in the Monuments Men’s race to save art during the war.

World War II is the most studied and storied of all wars, but there is very little information on what ordinary German women went through. How do they care for their kids, get food, keep their families safe, and deal with the necessities of life? What do ordinary women do to survive the horror of a war like the ones the Nazis waged on Europe? We know more and more about the stolen art from that time but still so little about the women who lived through the experience of the Third Reich.

My grandmother died in 1998 and only shared small snippets of that time with me. Like many of her generation, she wouldn’t talk about it. When I was researching The Roses Underneath, the first book in the series, my mother very gently introduced the subject with the few of my grandmother’s friends who are still living. At that point in 2010, some 70 years removed, they were ready to speak with me. Sitting in comfortable living rooms sipping coffee from pretty cups, they told me horrifying stories that gave me nightmares. Stories of small acts of courage and unspeakable loss, of terror and devastation. And surviving.

The story of Anna Klein unfolded from there. I hope Anna grew into one of those sweet, old ladies like the ones I knew. They were survivors who were able to recapture some meaning and beauty in the life that came after.

The kindle edition of the first book in the trilogy, The Roses Underneath, is currently on sale for 99-cents!

About the Author:

C.F. YETMEN is the author of The Roses Underneath, which received the 2015 IPPY Gold Medal for Historical Fiction, was named a 2014 Notable Indie Book by the Shelf Unbound Writing Competition, and was a 2014 Finalist in the  Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards. She lives and works in Austin, Texas. Visit www.cfyetmen.com.

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