I’ve been lost in folktales and 19th-century Scotland for a long time now. I decided to take a break and visit a very different era and location. All That Shines and Whispers by Jennifer Craven is set in Switzerland and Austria during the time of the Nazis.
We meet Marlene and her doctor husband Gerald in Switzerland after their escape from Nazi-held Austria. There they are working hard to re-establish their lives with their many children, from 18-year-old Lara to baby Erich. Marlene is a loving stepmom who has managed to soften Gerald’s hard edges. There are a few gentle nods to The Sound of Music, though this is a very different story.
The loving family is hiding a big secret, one which I will not reveal here. I will say, though, that the book worked better for me once I found out what was going on. Up until then I struggled with it a bit. After, though, I was hooked.
The strengths of this story lie in the family relationships and willingness to stick together. The love of a parent knows no bounds in this story, even when that parent makes a poor decision out of that love.