Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Book Review: My Dearest Dietrich

My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Lost Love. Amanda Barratt. 2019. Kregel. 360 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: A dictatorship is like a snake. If you step on its tail, it will bite you.

My Dearest Dietrich is a fictionalized account of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his fiancee Maria von Wedemeyer. Bonhoeffer is perhaps best known as a German theologian. But he was a theologian who was also part of the resistance--a group of men actively seeking to kill Adolf Hiter and wreck the plans of the Nazis.

For those completely unfamiliar with the man or the times, the prologue sets you up for the unhappy ending. Which I think is the best way to tackle it. While I knew going into it that Bonhoeffer's fate was not a "happy" one by fictional romance standards, I suppose there will always be readers who aren't quite as aware of history or theology. This is not the kind of ending you want to "surprise" you.

I wasn't reading this primarily for the romance. I was reading for the history. I think that makes a difference in how much you appreciate the story itself.

It is an emotional read--at times. Not every scene is emotional--nor should it be. There is something both ordinary and extraordinary about this one. If these two had lived in another time, another place--not Nazi Germany--their love story would be ordinary.

I definitely liked it. Though "like" is an odd word ANY time you're reading about the second world war. I am glad I read it and would recommend it.

It is fiction. I think that's crucial to remember.

Dietrich didn’t belong to her. He never had, much as she wanted to cling to him and keep him with her after every aching farewell. He was God’s. God had only gifted her with the blessing of being able to share in his life. His future didn’t rest with her, but with Him. She chafed against it. Once Dietrich had written that it was an easy thing to say Lord; the difficulty came in saying dear Lord with all one’s devotion. Never had she felt it more than now.
Could she trust God to do what He would with Dietrich’s life? With her own? Trust that He had a plan far greater than the finite mind could comprehend? “I can’t do it in my own strength. If You can help me, then I can … try.” She breathed the words, as a tiny flame sparked in her heart. Trust? Perhaps. God had a plan for Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Whether or not his future included her, she’d been privileged to share a little of his present. A remarkable man, a once-in-a-lifetime kind of person. He’d given others so much. He’d given her so much. No matter what the days ahead would bring, she wouldn’t exchange those spent while loving him.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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