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Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
Sally Anabelle Stephenson's "Wildflowers" is the story of Helena, a daughter of a top Nazi official, and Edith, a half Jewish girl, during the 1940's. When Hitler came to power, their lives became entangled together. Edith and her family had been hiding their identity and sheltering other Jews at home. Her mother became a teacher to Helena with Edith as companion so they lived with Helena's family. Edith's German father was finally imprisoned together with Kaspar and her mother, the Jews hiding in their home. Kaspar and Edith had vowed to elope to Paris and eventually got married and later, Helena and Edith developed a strong friendship that turned into a love relationship. The events that followed forced them to escape to Switzerland with their mothers and finally to London, and their love for each other was subjected to many trials.
This is a heartbreaking story of lesbian love set in wartime Europe, written like private diaries of Helena and Edith. Sally Anabelle Peterson was able to dissect the minds of the two young girls. Their innermost feelings were laid bare for everyone to see. A historical fiction, "Wildflowers" begins when Hitler came to power in Nazi Germany and the plot develops until the declaration of war between England and Germany. So much has been written about these turbulent times and a lot of novels have also been published with Nazi Germany as setting but this is the first book I came across that deals with lesbian love in those days. This is the reason why it is still an interesting read. The development of the plot is also unique with Helena and Edith taking turns in telling their stories. "Wildflowers" is a compelling story of two women in love, caught in the horrors of the Second World War.