Title: False Heroes: Held Hostage by Heritage
Author: Christine Brandon
Genre: Personal Development / Biography
False Heroes: Held Hostage by Heritage is a poignant biography about Diana, who is now looking back on her life with a critical eye. The book follows her story, from her childhood during World War II in a small German village, through a decade serving as a nun in a convent, and finally to her life today.
This book discusses Diana’s long-standing struggles with self-esteem, finding freedom in her life, her unwavering, though at times tumultuous, link to God, and her relationship with authoritative figures. The author provides readers with this deeply personal journey in the hope that it will be a healing experience for those struggling with the ghosts of their past.
False Heroes begins with a descriptive recount of Diana’s childhood in rural Germany. Though she did not know life to be any different, her family was extremely poor, often times not knowing where their next meal would come from. The details she provides about her upbringing, so very different from the life many readers live today, will prove not only interesting from a historical standpoint, but deeply touching. Readers will find themselves asking the same questions that Diana has struggled with all her life: Who am I? What do I want in life? Am I free?
If readers have dealt with any of these problems, this book may help with the healing process and recognizing that it’s okay not to be okay. For readers who do not share this particularly difficult background, they will surely be drawn into Diana’s story of conflict, buried emotions, and healing.
Through Diana’s experiences, the author demonstrates German ideals at the time. Pride was the one thing that could never be taken from the people, so they steadfastly held onto this throughout their difficulties. Diana struggles with balancing the nationalism that was ingrained in her from birth with the stark fear that she developed at the hands of her own people during WWII. The conflicted emotions she carries about her German heritage will provide readers with a unique and riveting perspective of this time in world history.
Diana’s struggle with religion and her relationship with God is something many readers may associate with. As something that was engrained in her, first by her parents and continuing through her ten years served at the convent, religion became both her savior and her prison. After divorcing her abusive ex-husband, the novel discusses Diana’s feelings of alienation and strife.
The author’s writing style is clear and easy to read, though the book could have used one final read-through to correct errors and typos, such as improperly capitalized terms, missing punctuation, and changes from third-person to first-person. Additionally, although the author’s final reflections were appreciated, the ending could have been concluded in a more succinct manner. The story moves enough that it speaks for itself.
False Heroes is a poignant story filled with thought-provoking passages that will move readers and challenge them to question the motives which drive their actions. This novel will speak to anyone who struggles to combat constricting principles that were instilled in them at an early age. Readers of False Heroes will truly understand what it means to find freedom.
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