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Book Review: "Ella's War"

by Rusty Allen




This book was so interesting! I hadn’t been aware of how much naval activity there was along the East Coast of the US during WW II. This book not only chronicles the German U-boat submarines that plagued Delaware coastal shipping, fishing and passenger ship lanes, but that also proved a real threat to America’s capitol of Washington, D.C. Nor did I know almost 500 POW camps were built in the US, mostly in rural areas, and how prisoners were loaned out as laborers.


The story, set in 1943, is told through the perspectives of Ella and Lee, a young common law farm couple; their son, Reese; and Dieter, a German U-boat POW assigned to help Ella work her farm after Lee enlists and heads off to Europe.


The characters are wonderfully complex in their changing desires related to attraction, loyalty and ethics. I particularly loved the dialogue, which draws on words and sayings of the region and era and that allows each person to sound unique.


The author’s attention to detail is outstanding, whether related to farming, U-boats, air raid procedures of the time or even just items in Ella’s farmhouse. I’ve never been to coastal Delaware, but now feel I have.


This story achieves what great historical fiction should: you don't just learn history, you feel it!


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For updates about Martha’s forthcoming books, news and giveaways, subscribe to her website: MarthaEngber.com.


THE FALCON, THE WOLF AND THE HUMMINGBIRD a historical novel, Sept. 19, 2023


BLISS ROAD, a memoir


WINTER LIGHT, a novel


THE WIND THIEF, a novel


GROWING GREAT CHARACTERS, a resource for writers


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