Let me start off by saying just how disappointed I was with this book. Why? Because it ended.
All joking aside, this author is another first for me, and another that I will keep reading.
Code Name Edelweiss is a story based on real events during the Great Depression, leading up to WWII. I had so many notes for my review, but I couldn’t add everything. You will just have to read the book and uncover all the amazing details yourself.
Code Name Edelweiss releases March 7th. Preorders help authors!
“What I am looking for―what I desperately need, Mrs. Weiss―is a spy.”
Adolf Hitler is still a distant rumble on the horizon, but a Jewish spymaster and his courageous spies uncover a storm of Nazi terror in their own backyard.
In the summer of 1933, a man named Adolf Hitler is the new and powerful anti-Semitic chancellor of Germany. But in Los Angeles, no-nonsense secretary Liesl Weiss has concerns much closer to home. The Great Depression is tightening its grip and Liesl is the sole supporter of two children, an opinionated mother, and a troubled brother.
Leon Lewis is a Jewish lawyer who has watched Adolf Hitler’s rise to power―and the increase in anti-Semitism in America―with growing alarm. He believes Nazi agents are working to seize control of Hollywood, the greatest propaganda machine the world has ever known. The trouble is, authorities scoff at his dire warnings.
When Liesl loses her job at MGM, her only choice is to work with Leon Lewis and the mysterious Agent Thirteen to spy on her friends and neighbors in her German American community. What Leon Lewis and his spies find is more chilling―and more dangerous―than any of them suspected.
Code Name Edelweiss is based on a true story, unknown until recent years: How a lone Jewish lawyer and a handful of amateur spies discovered and foiled Adolf Hitler’s plan to take over Hollywood.
Questions. That is what inundates Code Name Edelweiss by Stephanie Landsem. So many questions, sent out in many different directions. Within a world where Nazis are doing everything they can to infiltrate Hollywood with their anti-semitic propaganda, the biggest question that comes to light is, “Who can you trust?”
When Liesl Weiss lost her job at MGM Studios despite being the best at what she does, she desperately searched for a new job where she could continue to support her family. This desperate search led her to Leon Lewis, a Jewish lawyer who employed German American citizens to spy on the Nazi regime, bringing back information that could help shut down their evil plans. Liesl had a hard time believing what Leon had told her was happening in her own backyard, but the offer of a steady income had her signing up.
When she volunteered for the Friends of New Germany, she questioned Leon even more. Those people had shown her nothing but kindness, and they wanted to create a better America. Who could’ve blamed them for that? Were they truly as bad as Liesl had been led to believe?
And then she realized the truth, and the next question arose. “Why would God let this happen?”
Liesl questioned God throughout the story, yet she had to answer her own question when it was asked by her daughter, Tess. The answer? God can use evil for good.
Another of Leon’s operatives, Thirteen, had also pondered this question. What he realized was that God could use good people to end the evil. Even if he himself would rain down fire and brimstone like Sodom and Gomorrah, God chose a different way. A better way. And Thirteen was a part of that.
Silence was also prominent in this story. When to be silent, and when to speak up. Liesl regretted remaining silent when she could have spoken up for her friend, Miriam, a Jewish woman who lived next door with her husband and daughter. She lost a friendship because she could not speak up for Miriam, and she was unable to find her voice to apologize to her.
But when she worked under the guise of Edelweiss, silence was key. Say nothing that would bring suspicion to your true intentions. Anything else could have cost Liesl her life and the lives of her family.
I loved this story and did not want it to end. I wanted more and even wished for this book to be turned into a series as opposed to a stand-alone. Honestly, I’m still wishing that now and have every intention to revisit this book multiple times.
Landsem created a riveting world of fiction based on history that actually happened. The Jewish lawyer who employed spies was real. The Nazis did try to infiltrate Hollywood with their propaganda. Landsem took that and brought us on an emotional roller coaster filled with highs and lows. She did not disappoint. And she weaved God into the story beautifully, showing His true character despite all the confusion and questions the two main characters struggled with throughout.
If you love WWII-era novels with flawed characters who want to do the right thing, read this book. It will not disappoint.
I received a copy of Code Name Edelweiss by Stephanie Landsem thanks to Tyndale and Netgalley. Opinions are my own.
Stephanie Landsem writes historical fiction for women, about women. Her newest novel, Code Name Edelweiss, is based on a true story: how a lone Jewish lawyer and his band of amateur spies discovered and foiled Hitler’s plan to take over Hollywood.
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