”Maybe one day you'll learn that not all Germans are monsters and not all Americans are heroes.”
Summed up in --undoubtedly-- my favourite quote of the book, Lovers in Arms speaks of the capacity for humane and monstrous deeds in each and every human-- regardless of race, gender or religion.
This sweet and romantic story follows the ultimate forbidden relationship between a high ranking Nazi strategist, Johann, and American officer Frank. Despite the cruel and unforgiving circumstances, the romance which develops is surprisingly gentle and angst free.
Prior to actually beginning the novel, I admit I was expecting a little more... oomph. The set-up is quite literally the epitome of forbidden love and in context of such a infamous and tragic event, I believed that more emotions and thoughts could have been evoked. Simply put, the story fell a little flat. The overall message of the story -- summarised in the quote -- was illustrated well, however the romance, as sweet and lovely as it was, lacked any spark and the characterisation didn't have enough depth to place me in each character's shoes.
As mentioned in some other reviews, the structure of the story was quite off-putting at times. The past and the present plots were developed concurrently in alternating intervals and consequently, it didn't allow for much tension or suspense to build and there were many times where I was only interested in one plot line. The two plot lines were the Nuremberg trials of 1946 and 1943 with the meeting of Johann and Frank and the subsequent romantic development. Although I have no problem with flashbacks, I find that many authors fail to execute them properly by maintaining interest in both of the story-lines.
However, despite my criticism, Lovers in Arms was an enjoyable read. It was a pleasure following their romance develop and bloom and persevere in an environment that allowed for none to occur. It's quite miraculous that the author created a lovely feel-good book in such a difficult setting; not once did I doubt their Happily Ever After. If you're looking for a warm and relaxing read with an interesting context, I would definitely recommend this to you.
Rating: 3.25 - 3.5 STARS