cover image Love and Hate: In Nazi Germany

Love and Hate: In Nazi Germany

Ryan Armstrong. LM Vintage, $11.99 trade paper (218p) ISBN 978-0-692-10726-3

This tense WWII love story between a Nazi guard and a Jewish prisoner from Armstrong (Back to the Start) follows a soldier seeking to make amends. Hans Beck is guarding a Jewish ghetto in Regensburg, Germany, when he is ordered to kill Lilo, a young captive who witnessed her father being bludgeoned to death. A silent dissenter, Hans disobeys the kill order and goes into hiding with Lilo in the ghetto, until Hans is arrested and taken to his brother, Erich, a sadistic Nazi general. After being branded with a Jewish star, Hans is allowed to take Lilo and leave, in order to be “hunted” down. The two set out for Switzerland but quickly separate—Hans returns to Regensburg to save a nun that Erich has kidnapped, while Lilo continues to Switzerland—and over the course of the novel, they struggle to reunite. The love story is a respite from Hans’s heavy-handed soul-searching: “When you’ve killed many men, your soul bleeds, and the more you kill, the more blood pours out of you, until you are a pale, washed-out thing.” The brutal scenes of beatings and rape might put off some readers, but the plot twist at the end will satisfy those who like a curveball. Armstrong turns in a decent WWII novel. (BookLife)