Book Review: War, Spies, And Bobby Sox by Libby Fischer Hellmann
May 17, 2017
Libby Fischer Hellman draws a poignant portrait of those who walked in the long shadows of war believing they were sheltered with peace.
It was not a war to end all wars but a war to magnify the horror of war as it affected the lives of the innocent, the nameless, the unknown who were the lost victims of a tragic time in our history.
World War II had the face of evil, a Nazi madman whose thirst for power threatened to destroy man’s very existence. We all know about or have read about Hitler’s bloody and violent march across Europe.
But in War, Spies, And Bobby Sox, Libby Fischer Hellman creates a spell-binding trilogy of stories that brings the war home to America’s own shores, where battles were fought, lives were lost, love was trampled, and hardly anyone ever knew that the emotional arrows of war were touching their hometowns, their neighborhoods.
It was a bitter time.
It was a fearful time.
And Libby draws a poignant portrait of those who walked in the long shadows of war believing they were sheltered with peace.
War was so far away.
War could never touch them.
And all the while, war was tightening its grip and suffocating the unsuspecting.
Libby grabs the reader by the throat with the first paragraph of the first story The Incidental spy.
She writes: Lena was sure they were going to kill her when she climbed into the car. There were two of them this afternoon: usually it was only Hans. The second man sat in the back. He was holding a knife or gun or even piano wire, but there was something chilling about him . . . She felt like a ghost who’d somehow slipped into the passenger’s seat.
The prose is stunning.
The emotion is as chilling as the man sitting in the back with a knife, or gun, or even piano wire.
The tension is unbearable.
Lena had fled the political dangers of Germany and found a measure of peace in the United States.
But her husband has died.
Her boy is threatened.
She becomes an incidental spy, and her life hangs in the balance.
Can courage and determination alone save her?
In the story titled POW the enemy has a face, an innocent face.
German prisoners of war are held in an American camp. Some are sent to harvest apples, and love blossoms between Reinhard and a young farm girl, Mary Catherine.
There is a sense of danger and excitement in the clandestine affair.
Both are partaking of forbidden fruit.
But can love chase the threat of war away for both of them?
Or, for Reinhard, is it only a charade?
He only wants power.
She is left with a broken heart.
Mary Catherine is sent away in disgrace.
Reinhard murders a fellow prisoner and escapes.
Love turns bitter.
Love becomes a broken promise.
No one will ever be quite the same again.
The final story, The Day Miriam Hirsch Disappeared, cuts you to the quick with a razor blade of emotion.
War has not yet erupted.
But it is boiling over in Europe.
And it simmers just below the surface in America.
Neighbors look at each other strangely?
Who can you trust?
Or can you trust anyone?
A beautiful woman is recruited to spy on a German sympathizer.
What is he hiding?
Is he dangerous?
Or is he simply German?
No one knows.
But who would dare kill the beautiful spy?
She was only caught up in a tangled web of suspicion and espionage, trapped in time, fate, and circumstance.
Someone wants revenge.
Others will die.
Retribution exacts a terrible price.
Libby Fischer rips open a tragic layer of life that has remained hidden far too long. Her words, her stories, will stun you and shock you and make your grieve, but they force you to look at another time, as it existed, and see a troubled nation when gripped it was with the repercussions of war.
Is her novel really a war story?
I don’t believe it is.
I believe Libby Fischer Hellmann has written a masterpiece of the human soul.
Please click HERE to purchase War, Spies, And Bobby Sox.