What happens when the sweet magic of childhood mixes with the grimness of war?
Year of the Angels is the type of book I love. Based on Erika’s personal experience it is a beautifully written story of a year in the life of a close-knit German family struggling to survive during the devastating conflict of Wold War Two. This unique book has heart, originality and is beautifully written. I read once that ‘A good book entertains, a great book informs’, or something similar to that. For me, this is a great book.
Erika was born and raised in the small town of Mainbernheim, Germany. As a young woman she moved to the Pacific Northwest where she raised her family. When her husband retired they moved to Camano Island, Washington, where she wrote a novel, Year of the Angels, a firsthand account of growing up in Germany during WWII. This was a surprisingly emotional journey for her. As an escape, she decided to write another book simultaneously a paranormal thriller, Cries from the Fifth Floor. Both books are available on Amazon.com and CreateSpace.com.
A member of the Hard-nosed Zealots Writers’ Critique Group of Stanwood/Camano (USA) Erika is a close friend of Gloria Mackay. Like most writers she finds invaluable the support and encouragement that exists between kindred souls. As writers we manage to remain sane when we meet regularly with fellow writers who are prepared to give positive feedback on our latest project. Especially if we are trying to write about deeply personal issues and traumatic memories.
Erika, like so many writers deals with the death of her supportive, imaginative brother, Deiter who helped her survive the trauma of being a child in Germany during Word War Two. Right at the start of Year of the Angels I knew that I was in the hands of someone I could trust with my complete attention as a reader. I was immediately fascinated by the story about her childhood in Germany during 1944 and desperately wanted to know what happened to children during World War Two on the opposite side of the world to my personal experience as a three year old child of German descent living in Australia . I knew first hand what a terrible affect war can have on fathers and how this impacts on the whole family.
What happens when people return in later life to the country of their childhood? ‘The deserted house welcomed an older Lisl and her memories were waiting.’ After marrying and raising a family in America, she found her thoughts were still in English, not German.
Erika’s childhood during World War II in Germany was one of deprivation and challenge. With the war effort of the mid-1940s, food, heating fuel, and clothing were becoming increasingly scarce, and the German citizens increasingly desperate. The Allied Forces were advancing on the small Franconian farming community where Madden’s family lived. Her father was away at war, and the future of her family uncertain. Madden called upon these childhood experiences as inspiration for her historical fiction novel, “Year of the Angels.”
Why are the coma patients on the fifth floor calling silently and persistently to hospital worker Claire Reed? Why do they draw her–against her will–to their bedsides? And why does she feel their pain and unrest, see fragmented visions of their last conscious moments?
Claire enters a terrifying world as she tries to unravel the mysteries that tie her to the fates of five strangers. The Claire Reed of yesterday no longer exists and her erratic behavior has her questioning her sanity.
It’s a cold Melbourne winter’s day and a lazy wind is blowing straight from Antarctica. It goes straight through you. Best to stay indoors curled up with a good book. I’m going straight to Amazon.com right now to get my copy of Cries from the Fifth Floor.