Merriam Press Historical Fiction HF11 (First Edition, 2015). This World War II novel takes place in 1944, during Germany’s retreat from the western Soviet Union. The story follows the lives of a Russian war widow, Elena, a dissident, Christian, and black marketeer, as she serves as a medic on the front lines, and a disillusioned German lieutenant, Halder, a former professor and concentration camp officer, as he fights in a losing effort. In time, Elena and others, are forced into service as temporary navigators in an all-female regiment to the Red Army air force. After Elena’s plane crashes, she finds the injured Halder from the squadron she helped bomb. As enemies, the injured Elena and Halder alternate between helping and nearly killing each other. Eventually, the desperate soldiers discover an unexpected bond. Together they embark on a turbulent journey as lovers and disheartened deserters.
Rating: 5 stars
Death Steppe (A WWII Novel) by Judy Bruce is brilliant. Her novel takes readers straight into the plot. WWII in 1944 was indeed a scary time…what’s scarier is actually meeting the person whom one has tried to kill…meeting the person considered as your enemy can take a toll on a person. However, Judy Bruce takes an unexpected encounter of two enemies during this war time and force them to meet. Both are surprised but also weary of the other. Thinking of killing the other one or to work together to survive their outcome is a big decision that neither can take too lightly.
Judy Bruce has captured the realistic historical time period down to every specific detail as well as creating characters who will never be forgotten. I love anything featuring history and showing readers how difficult it was like back then and how every decision has a huge impact on one’s life. Just one decision can change your future forever…can Elena and Halder make the right choice? This tale like many others that capture historical moments will make readers cringe atwhat really happened and how cold people can be during this time periods. Haunting, dark, but with some truth and accuracy…readers will be taken back to the front lines of WWII. Readers will feel like they are actually witnessing the events in this novel through their own eyes instead of the characters. Judy Bruce has created a maserpiece when she wrote Death Steppe. I loved reading this book, and I highly recommend it to readers worldwide.