Cover Image: A Light in the Window

A Light in the Window

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Member Reviews

Heart-wrenching, emotional and poignant, Marion Kummerow’s A Light in the Window is a mesmerizing wartime novel that will have readers reaching for the tissues on many an occasion.

Jewish housemaid Margarete Rosenbaum works for a high-ranking Nazi officer in Berlin. When his house is bombed, Margarete is the only survivor and when she is mistaken for the officer’s daughter, she sees this as her last chance at freedom. Her new identity unshackles her from the fear of persecution as a Jew, however, her bid for a fresh start is thwarted when she is tracked down by her employer’s son Wilhelm Huber. Margarete thinks that the game is up, but Wilhelm surprises her by playing along with her charade and by insisting that she comes with him to Paris and continues to pretend to be his sister.

Margarete’s back is against the wall and she has no other choice but to acquiesce to Wilhelm’s plan even though she is secretly terrified that at any minute, she will be found out. Why is Wilhelm protecting her? Why didn’t he turn her in? And what does he want from her? In fear for her life and terrified about what each day will bring, the future gets more and more uncertain with each passing day – especially when the Nazis begin rounding up the Jews in Paris and the Resistance steps up its efforts…

With the stakes higher than ever, will Margarete ever find the freedom and happiness which she desperately seeks? Or will she end up losing everything she has always wanted and paying the ultimate price for wanting to become the mistress of her own destiny?

Marion Kummerow’s A Light in the Window is a spellbinding historical novel about courage, sacrifice and love that is so beautifully written and evocative that readers will find themselves completely gripped by this nuanced, immersive and immensely enjoyable tale. A heart-wrenching tale that deftly evokes the pain, frustration and dangers of wartime readers won’t forget in a hurry, Marion Kummerow’s A Light in the Window is a superb historical novel from a master storyteller.
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I wanted to like this book so much and the first half i enjoyed but it lost me towards the middle part. this one came up short for me.

Thanks to NetGalley, Bookouture and Marion Kummerow for early access to this midsummer release
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Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture & Marion herself for approved this e-ARC in exchange for honest review.

4.25 stars

⚠️tw : sexual harassment & racism

At first, I don't really hope much but I have a faith on this book as previously I used to read 'Not Without My Sister' and rated 4 stars. Honestly, it attracted me at the first chapter. Why? Oh well ***swaping something yada yada*** can't tell others too much. But highly interesting as this is the first time I encounter this kind of plot. Like the survival part was just brilliant but dangerous. As the survival part was challenging, it made me wanna know more and more curious on what will happened next. Btw, Reiner in this book is a bad guy while in anime Attack on Titan, Reiner is more to morally grey character so I was torn 😂😂😂.

I also learned new things and facts that where Jews shouldn't shake hands with Aryan, Aryan women should not wear makeup but must serve her husband fully and burning books that deemed dangerous (against Hitler's leadership of course or Jewish books). Facts snippet also contribute to the attraction.

And then I was like, MC : Margarete will keep living her life dangerously but safe. However, her luck strike despite she was almost get sentenced. She's a Jew during Hitler reign. It was a fast paced story. I really like how the MC just jumped into a problem to another problem real quick. And I like Margarete, she's smart and be cunning in the future. Her character development made me love Margarete. It's not just Margarete that made me stay till the end and made me so curious. I already thought about the forbidden love. God, I LOVE THE FORBIDDEN LOVE PART THE MOST. However, it does not serve the justice if saving only one but let others suffers just because of having love interest. It can a sensitive issue but again hope in the sequel, Margarete deserve a better man. She was in a tight spot & in a moral dilemma of love, life and death. Luckily, she has the moral dilemma.

The ending has forced me to scream in frustration as it abruptly ended and will be continued in sequel. I was like WHAT WILL HAPPENED TO THEIR LOVE PLSSS.

Overall, it was an interesting WW2 story.

****reviewed in Goodreads separately due to technical error****
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I couldn’t put this book down.  Even in the early hours of the morning. Poor Margarete, was used by the Huber family as what we would call a modern day slave.  In a split second, her future was changed forever when the Hubers were killed in the bombing of their house.  Margarete, a Jewess came up with quite a complicated plan to avoid being caught and the atrocities which were being carried out by the nazis on Jews if she was caught.  She was a very quick thinking individual who has to think quick to survive.

We followed her to Leipzig where she escaped to her aunt’s and got a job but she was still in extreme danger if her plan gets discovered,.  Wilhelm Huber does discover her but he is the nicer of the two brothers.  I anticipated that feelings would grow between them but felt so upset for her at the end.

I think there is a follow on to this story and just hope that things will eventually work out for Margarete.  There are quite a complicated lot of twists to the story but it had  me riveted until I reached the end.

Thank you net galley .
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Right from the explosive opening page of Marion Kummerow’s new book, A Light in the Window, the story of Margarete unfolds at a breakneck pace with innumerable twists and turns that leads to an incredible story full of sacrifice and danger. Margarete works for the Huber family in Berlin and as she is a Jew is treated with nothing but contempt and disdain. She is viewed as a dirty Jew, nothing but subhuman filth and responsible for the all the problems and hardship that Germany has had to contend with. As the bombs fall on the city, the house where she works is destroyed. She wakes in the rubble and finds herself the only survivor. Herr and Frau Huber are dead along with their daughter Annegret. 

A sheer stroke of luck leads to Margarete’s survival but what price will she pay when she makes a brash, spur of the moment decision? She swaps her papers with those of Annegret’s and assumes her identity. She has gone from a Jew to being the daughter of an influential Nazi. The question throughout the book is whether she made the right decision? Should she have just fled instead of taking on a role fraught with danger especially considering the two Huber brothers, both of whom have important roles in Hitler’s government, will surely discover what has happened?

Admittedly, I did become confused at points as Margarete was switching between her own name and that of Annegret. The list of the tangled web of lies she created grew so long that when she was interacting with the brothers and trying to keep her story straight I think she was even beginning to confuse and doubt herself. But it's definitely worth sticking with as I found this to be almost like a mystery/thriller packed full of tension, suspicion and unease and with one false move the whole game could be up. I was visualising this on the big screen as I was reading and think it would make a great film.

Margarete travels to Liepzig and stays with an Aunt but still her cover must not be blown. Thanks to her new identity she gets work in a university library but everything she is tasked with doing goes against with how she has been brought up. She is used to being abused and mistreated and shamed in the streets but now as the ‘daughter’ of an important German she is afforded a different viewpoint even though when she returns home each night she is worried about being found out. Especially as suspicion grows when she fails to turn up for the funeral of her ‘parents’. Margarete struggles with the implications of her life changing decision and she grapples with the consequences throughout the book. Her own safety and freedom comes at an enormous price. She has to walk, talk and act like the very person she hated most in the world. As she is drawn deeper into the lion’s den in order to confront the devil, will she be able to stay strong and tell her tale?

I found there to be a lot of repetition initially as to how Margarete felt about the decision she had made. Literally the same thing was said over and over with just a few words changed. I felt it had been said once it didn’t need to be repeated again and again and it was like it was being used as a filler in of sorts. But once this stopped I found the flow of the story to be excellent and I existed in a constant state of fear for Margarete. She became a pawn in a disgusting game and even though she knows she is slightly better off in her new found situation rather than facing harassment, brutality and abuse in a camp still her conscience constantly plays at her as to whether she made the right decision? She was a strong, brave and admirable character but when her feelings begin to change you lose some respect for her but at the same time I did see where she was coming from considering how well pivotal male character had been written. Even I began to feel the way she did.

Wilhelm, the younger of the Huber brothers, was a complex character and my opinion of him swayed back and forth. He had a desk job in Paris and enjoyed a kind of playboy lifestyle. He abhors Jews and will do his bit to rid Germany and the world of them although he doesn’t play as an active role as his older brother Reiner who was the worst of people. Such malice and awful opinions Wilhelm could show but then at other times he demonstrated a more compassionate, caring, understanding and human side so much so that I was horrified to find myself almost warming to him. He is distraught to discover that the inheritance he had hoped for will not materialise until he marries and produces a male heir. 

Wilhelm has his goal of getting his inheritance at the forefront of his mind and as news of Annegret begins to emerge he delves that little bit deeper and discovers the truth behind what Margarete has done. To be honest I found this aspect of the story became implausible and quite far fetched at times. What German officer would do what Wilhelm did given their stance on Jews and the war in general? Would his plan really work? To mention specific details as to what unfolds would give away the main points of the story and this is where things did become a bit confusing but it didn’t always sit right with me that Wilhelm would be so accommodating. He was also placing himself in the firing line given the consequences if what was going on had been discovered. It didn’t bare thinking about if Reiner figured out what was going on but I suppose Wilhelm had his own clear long term goal in mind and was determined to achieve it but I guess he didn’t take into account his human emotions taking over at times.

A Light in the Window is a very quick read and it’s really edge of your seat stuff from beginning to end. I found the ending to be quite rushed. I was nearing the 90% mark of the story and I still felt there was so much more left to be explored. But upon finishing the story I discovered that there will be a sequel which makes sense. In the end notes by the author she explains how this book was inspired by a short story that she wrote and she wished to explore how Margarete’s story continued once the dust had cleared from the rubble. I did feel this read very much like a short story as the pages seemed to fly by and before I knew it I had reached the end. I still wonder would it have been better off continuing on where it left off rather than waiting for another book but on reflection I truly was left hanging and it has made me very eager to see how Margarete’s story is further developed. I enjoyed this book. It was different from the usual World War Two historical fiction books that I have recently read. It keeps the reader on their toes constantly guessing as to what would happen as the situation Margarete found herself in seemed to grow worse with each turn of the page. She played a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a moral dilemma at its very core. Is one person’s life worth more than another one’s? Read this intriguing book and decide upon the answer for yourself.
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It’s 1941 and World War II is raging on and Margarete Rosenbaum is working as a housemaid for a senior Nazi officer.  When the house she is working in gets bombed, she is the only survivor.  Margarete is mistaken for the officer’s daughter, and she sees it as her opportunity to finally be free.  But, when her former employer’s son, Willhem Huber tracks her down he keeps her identity a secret.  He wants her to move to Paris with him as his sister.  He will go to great lengths to protect her. Wow, this story was so unbelievably amazing, that I almost don’t know what to say.  I was so amazed by the endurance, risks and courage people will do to change a life.  To protect the one you love and make it through one of the most difficult times in history, is so well written in this story, it will have you flying through the pages unable to stop until the very end.  This unforgettable must read, is one that will definitely stick with you long after you finish reading it.  This book absolutely needs to be on the top of your to be read pile. 

Thank you Marion Kummerow for another emotional and wonderfully written story.  The characters were relatable and I highly recommend this book, it was absolutely amazing.
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Jewish, WW2, Germany, historical-figures, historical-novel, historical-places-events, historical-research, historical-setting, history-and-culture, triggers, secrets, subterfuge, lies****

A tough read. It highlights the very personal way Jewish women were subjugated and violated, even worse than the ordinary German wife or daughter. The cruelty of the men working for the Reich has usually been a given because they were either brainwashed or were sociopaths to begin with. It does reflect the constant fear of those who were ordered to wear the Star. The publisher's blurb gives a whitewashed overview but can alert the reader to some of the triggers. This is what I would call a horror novel, but it is well written.
I requested and received a free temporary ebook copy from Bookouture via NetGalley.
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Margarete, a Jew and the Hubers' house slave, unexpectedly escapes her life of servitude when a bomb destroys the house and kills the Hubers, giving her a chance to take on the daughter's identity. As Annegret Huber, a German, she starts a new life as a librarian - but her supposed brothers are looking for her, uncertain whether she is alive or dead. When Wilhelm finds her, he decides on an impulse not to betray her, instead taking her with him to Paris. There, the two gradually grow close - though surely love is impossible between a Jew and a member of the hated SS? And Wilhelm finds himself in a position where he must choose between a member of the race he disdains and fears, or his own family...

The premise sounded interesting, and the story kept me reading and mostly held my interest. However, while I didn't really either love or hate it, there were more negatives than positives when I thought back over what I'd read. For a start, I didn't like the (admittedly occasional) swearing and blasphemy, and while the details were kept off the page and it may be a realistic representation of reality, I didn't appreciate the fact that almost every character was clearly completely promiscuous. I also didn't really feel I could connect with any of the characters - they didn't feel real, and frankly, they did feel quite idiotic at times, being far readier to bury their heads in the sand than actually plan to meet or avoid problems. Finally, the ending didn't really feel satisfying to me. All in all, some people may love it this book, but I found it somewhat disappointing. 2.5 stars.

Note that I received a complimentary copy of the book from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review and this is my considered opinion of the book.
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Beautiful. Poignant. Heart rending. Stunning. Hopeful. Astounding. A wonderful, nuanced, beautiful written story about love and hope in the darkest of times.
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Lies, power, money. 

Margarete’s snap decision to take the identity of the dead daughter of the family she worked for, is made purely for survival; her only chance to be a German girl, rather than a Jew. As the book unfolded and I fell into the challenges of her new life, it soon becomes apparent that it’s not just her story that is based on an intricate web of lies. Lies are told to escape, to deceive, to assert power over others and to gain financial reward. The longer the lies are lived, the more lies are needed to cover their tracks and to keep others from finding out the truth. Margarete is living a difficult and dangerous life as she and Wilhelm attempt to convince everyone, including his elder brother Reiner, that she is their sister, Annegret, and although she soon realises that a life built on lies is not an easy one, the alternative for her would be much worse.
I loved watching Margarete grow in confidence and become someone strong enough to make decisions for herself. I even developed a soft spot for Wilhelm as he battled with himself over his feelings for Margarete and his loyalty to his family and the Fatherland. 

This is a cleverly crafted story that stirs some strong emotions as the different beliefs of the Jews, the Nazis and the Resistance are played out.
This book really drew me in as I wondered how it would end and how long the deception could go on, without being discovered. It didn’t end how I expected it to, but the fact it was left poised for a sequel made me very happy indeed.
This would be a great summer read for those of you who enjoy historical fiction, set in France during the Occupation, but with a different twist.
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Another World War II historical fiction, but again another angle that made the book feel unique even within this sub genre that has quote a plethora of work.  A bombing of a home changes the life for the Jewish housemaid who survives and takes on the identity of the daughter of the family to escape and hopefully start a new life where she can survive the wrath of the Nazi regime, but she doesn't account for the brothers that want to find their surviving family member.

This was an interesting combo of historical fiction with a little romance on the side.  Margarete is hiding in plain sight as she is trying to hide in a place where the identity she was born into is hated by many and she just wants to survive.  Without technology and the things we live with now, I wondered while reading this book how often people were able to take on identities and hide to escape what was going on.  I would love to read an article or a piece of non fiction that recounts the people who did something similar to Margarete to survive the war.  

I have read one other Marion Kummerow historical fiction books and I loved it also, so I hope to read more of her backlist and the books that are to come in the future.
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Adobe Digital and NG Shelf
Upclose Fictional Look at WWII Germany
Although this book is fiction, the portrayal of WWII Europe seems absolutely spot on. The degree of anti-semitism was probably accurate and totally nauseating. While Amazon and others do not allow us to use the other n-word when referring to WWII Germany, this portrayal of the belief of the Party and the everyday man is horribly accurate. The entire German culture was buying into the anti-Jew sentiment that they were considered sub-human and the source of all of society's woes. It was a despicably effective way to gain followers and build allegiance. The story is well done, accurate and haunting. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
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A heart pounding WWII novel involving a Jewish housekeeper that takes the identity of her employer’s daughter after a bombing to avoid being sent to a concentration camp.  Unfortunately, the dead girl’s brother continuously crosses her path until at one point he decides to use her deceit to his advantage.  

This is a very good story in which the reader will find themselves cheering for Margarete’s successes while crying for her inability to lead a normal life.  She is an excellent example of terrors imposed on the Jewish people during this time.  Although, her being protected by a Nazi officer at first seems preposterous.  As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that it doesn’t matter if the story seems plausible.  It is such a good story that it flows and takes the reader right along with it.

I enjoyed this story very much and highly recommend it.

I received an ARC from Bookouture through NetGalley.  This in no way affects my opinion or rating of this book.  I am voluntarily submitting this review and am under no obligation to do so.
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I fell in love with Marion Kummerow's writing style with "Not Without My Sister" . While her stories are set within a much written about time period, the concepts with which she portrays them are so unique and wholly original. They are not your usual run-of-the-mill tales re-telling the plight of the Jews. The premise of A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW was certainly an intriguing one that promised a fascinating tale to be told.

Berlin, 1941: The story opens with a bang - quite literally - an air raid on the city sees the Hubers scrambling to the safety of their cellar. An officer of high standing within the SS, Huber and his wife along with their daughter Annegret push their maid aside in an attempt to save themselves without sparing a thought for her. And why would they? She was nothing but a dirty Jew, employed as a housemaid to undertake their every whim and every chore...ableit unpaid. Her life meant nothing to the superior greatness of the German people.

But as the bombers disappear and the dust slowly settles, Margerete is the only one left standing in the rubble. As she crawls through the debris seeing the family she had slaved for laying dead, she wonders how she is to survive in a city where Jews are spit upon or worse, sent sent to death camps. As she passes by the lifeless form of Annegret, an idea begins to form. Before she can change her mind, she swaps identity papers with the dead girl and drapes her in her coat bearing the yellow star that identifies her as Jewish. And she becomes Annegret Huber in order to protect herself from the harsh atrocities of war and to stay alive. She steals away to Leipzig to her only surviving relative, Aunt Heidi, who is an Aryan but had married a Jew and gets herself a job at the university library.

Meanwhile in Paris, Wilhelm Huber is a low ranking SS officer who is enjoying the easy life in the French capital with throngs of beautiful women and delicious food when he is suddenly recalled to Berlin to attend the funeral of his parents. His elder brother Reiner is a high ranking officer in the SS who is faithful to the Furher and his cause. Although he has yet to produce a male heir, his two daughters are named Adolphina and Germania in honour to his faithfulness to Hitler. Whilst staying with Reiner's family, Wilhelm's eyes are opened to his brother's complete disrespect for women, including that of his own wife. But Reiner simply states that she just knows her duty is to serve her husband in every way and be a good German wife. That, however, doesn't stop him from bedding any other woman he may get his hands on...including raping his parents' Jewish servant girl.

Upon learning that Annegret has disappeared since the bombing that claimed their parents and their servant girl Margerete, word has reached Reiner that Annegret has been seen in Leipzig. Wilhelm decides to make the journey to see for himself but what he discovers is nothing what he expected. Instead of his sister he finds Margerete has been passing herself off as Annegret and is immediately angered. But before he can turn her in, circumstances take a different turn and Margerete flees the city for an unoccupied part of France whilst Wilhelm returns to Paris without his sister or revealing the subterfuge.

In Paris, Margerete awaits the connecting train that will take her to her destination when she comes face to face with Wilhelm once again. Instead of revealing her true identity, he introduces her to his friends as his sister Annegret citing that she has come to join him for Christmas. Margerete has no idea if Wilhelm will report her to the Gestapo and yet she knows that if he does he faces charges of treason himself for maintaining the deception. Instead, he has a proposition for her. She is to continue to live as his sister so that he can marry her off and gain control of her inheritance. All they have to do is to continue to hide her from his brother Reiner who will spare neither of them should he learn the truth.

As Margerete becomes Annegret, she battles daily with her conscience and her own identity feeling as in doing so she is betraying her people. But Margerete is fighting for her life and before long she finds that isn't the only battle she is up against. Over the weeks they have lived together, Wilhelm has shown her a kindness and respect she does not associate with Nazis. But how is she to survive trusting this man, a Nazi, with the only things she has left? Her safety, her life and even her heart? And instead of the freedom for which she longs, Margerete finds herself trapped with an impossible moral dilemma of love, life and death.

"Was one person's life worth more than another one's? And who got to decide which person was allowed to live?"

A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW is a heartwrenching tale of survival that is a compelling read you won't want to put down. It draws you in and has you questioning the moral dilemma of whether one human life is worth more than another. The despicable views of the Nazis concerning Jews and even the French people has you shaking your head with disbelief. The German people actually believed the brainwashing propaganda of the Nazis concerning their superiority and the unworthiness of the "filthy Jews". There were times when Wilhelm shook his head in disbelief when he was actually puzzled as to why the French did not welcome them with open arms. He actually believed the propaganda Hitler spouted.

This is a story of strength, courage and survival. A story of determination against all odds. A story that highlights the prejudices and bigotry whilst reminding us that there is hope. But it is also a love story...

A tale that is heartbreaking as well as intriguing, A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW is ultimately Margerete's story and her plight to survive the war. Does Margerete get her happy ending?

An emotional read from beginning to end. Recommended for historical fiction fans.

I would like to thank #MarionKummerow, #NetGalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #ALightInTheWindow in exchange for an honest review.
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A Light in the Window is a compelling and inspiring  read that takes place in very dangerous times.  

I was hooked from the first to the last page, holding my breath many times that Margarete can escape with her life.  

A Light in the Window is so well written you will feel that you are in France and Berlin along with Margarete and Wilhelm.

The pages flew by and I can't wait for Book Two in the series. 

Surprisingly this was my first book by Marion Kummerow but it won't be my last.  I am a fan.

Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for a read that will stay with me for a long time.
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Margarete in is an untenable position.  She is a young Jewish woman in Germany with no family and forced to work for the family of a high-ranking Nazi leader.  During her time in the Huber household, she finds the daughter, Annegret, to be spoiled and unpleasant, Annegret seems to make it her mission to treat Margarete as meanly as possible.  When the three family members are killed in an Allied air raid, Margarete makes a hasty decision to assume the identity of the daughter. 

When Wilhelm, Annegret's brother and a member of the SS, finds Margarete working in Leipzig using his sister's identity, he is enraged.  Wilhelm knows the eldest brother, Reiner who is an SS officer, will send Margarete to a relocation site.  Wilhelm brings Margarete (posing as Annegret) to live with him in Paris.
Wilhelm learns that not all Jews are the horrible people that Hitler has preached.  Margarete learns that not all Nazis are heartless and cruel.  When the two are in danger of being discovered by Reiner, Margarete plots with the Resistance to get out of Paris.

I appreciated reading about the degradations that the Nazis visited upon Jews and disenfranchised peoples.  It's hard to believe that Hitler was so successful in sowing hatred among the German population.  I didn't really like the way the book ended but, given the circumstances and climate of the time, it was really the only way to go.  

Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book.  Historical fiction set in WWII is my favorite.
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You can't fault Margarete for taking on the persona of Annegret.  It's 1941, she's Jewish, and the entire family she worked for (well, not all of them) has been killed in the bombing so she poses as the dead woman.  Until Wilhelm, son of the family and a dedicated Nazi turns up and realizes what she's done.  He offers her a devil's bargain because he wants an inheritance.  Now she's alive but always on tenterhooks.  It's a good read with good souls and evil ones.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  For fans of WWII fiction.
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An interesting and unusual WW2 plot in which Jewish maid Margarete takes on the character of her Nazi employer's daughter in the aftermath of a bombing on their Berlin house After a series of narrow escapes Margarete's path collides with  her employer's youngest son as he seeks to uncover the whereabouts of his missing sister.  The historical aspect of the plot was enjoyable and there were as expected several truly despicable characters to feel strongly about but sadly, and I can't pay my finger on why,  I just didn't feel any attachment with either Margarete or Willem.
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A Light in the Window by Marion Kummerow is Historical World War II Fiction set in Germany and France. The life of a Jewish Woman is changed by a bombing in Berlin by the British. There are many thrilling moments with plots, plans, and a love story. The characters are well developed including Nazis, the French resistance, Jews and many people fighting to survive this turbulent time. I liked the way the author portrayed the characters, some evil, others decent, some believing the National Socialist propaganda and others justifying what they think they must do to live. I found this book exciting and could not put it down. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  I appreciate the opportunity and thank the author and publisher for allowing me to read, enjoy and review this book. 5 Stars
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Having 14 books on my Kindle written by Marion Kummerow, “A light in the Window” was the first one I started reading.  Thoroughly enjoyed this story and the others have become a higher priority on my reading list.    If you ever wondered what it be like to live in constant fear this book will give you the sense of the emotional turmoil a person goes through.  Margarete escapes her predicament by taken the identity of her employer’s daughter killed in a bombing but quickly realizes it doesn’t solve the problem.  Finding herself at the mercy of a Nazi Officer does not improve the situation.  This is a story that you will keep on reading because you just have to know what comes next.
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