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My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Lost Love

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A staggering love illuminating the dark corners of a Nazi prison Renowned German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for his resistance to the Nazi regime and for his allegiance to God over government. But what few realize is that the last years of his life also held a love story that rivals any romance novel. Maria von Wedemeyer knows the realities of war. H A staggering love illuminating the dark corners of a Nazi prison Renowned German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for his resistance to the Nazi regime and for his allegiance to God over government. But what few realize is that the last years of his life also held a love story that rivals any romance novel. Maria von Wedemeyer knows the realities of war. Her beloved father and brother have both been killed on the battlefield. The last thing this spirited young woman needs is to fall for a man under constant surveillance by the Gestapo. How can she give another piece of her heart to a man so likely to share the same final fate? Yet when Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an old family friend, comes to comfort the von Wedemeyers after their losses, she discovers that love isn't always logical. Dietrich himself has determined to keep his distance from romantic attachments. There is too much work to be done for God, and his involvement in the conspiracy is far too important. But when he encounters a woman whose intelligence and conviction match his own, he's unprepared for how easy it is to give away his heart. With their deep love comes risk--and neither Dietrich nor Maria is prepared for just how great that risk soon becomes. Based on detailed historical research and including photos from both Maria's and Dietrich's lives, this is a true love story at once beautiful and heartrending. My Dearest Dietrich sheds new light on a world-famous theologian . . . and the woman who changed his life.


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A staggering love illuminating the dark corners of a Nazi prison Renowned German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for his resistance to the Nazi regime and for his allegiance to God over government. But what few realize is that the last years of his life also held a love story that rivals any romance novel. Maria von Wedemeyer knows the realities of war. H A staggering love illuminating the dark corners of a Nazi prison Renowned German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for his resistance to the Nazi regime and for his allegiance to God over government. But what few realize is that the last years of his life also held a love story that rivals any romance novel. Maria von Wedemeyer knows the realities of war. Her beloved father and brother have both been killed on the battlefield. The last thing this spirited young woman needs is to fall for a man under constant surveillance by the Gestapo. How can she give another piece of her heart to a man so likely to share the same final fate? Yet when Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an old family friend, comes to comfort the von Wedemeyers after their losses, she discovers that love isn't always logical. Dietrich himself has determined to keep his distance from romantic attachments. There is too much work to be done for God, and his involvement in the conspiracy is far too important. But when he encounters a woman whose intelligence and conviction match his own, he's unprepared for how easy it is to give away his heart. With their deep love comes risk--and neither Dietrich nor Maria is prepared for just how great that risk soon becomes. Based on detailed historical research and including photos from both Maria's and Dietrich's lives, this is a true love story at once beautiful and heartrending. My Dearest Dietrich sheds new light on a world-famous theologian . . . and the woman who changed his life.

30 review for My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Lost Love

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rachel McMillan

    One of the most impeccably researched books I have ever read in any genre in my reading life.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Tagg

    Oh my goodness, this book! First of all, can I just say how amazing 2019 has been for books that blow me away? I mean, I read a lot. And I'd say each year, there are quite a few books I really, really like...and maybe 10 or 12 that make me think, wow, that was even better than expected...and 1 or 2 that I just can't stop talking about for the rest of the year. This year, I think there's been 3 or 4 already that are in the latter category. And this is one of them! My Dearest Dietrich is gorgeously w Oh my goodness, this book! First of all, can I just say how amazing 2019 has been for books that blow me away? I mean, I read a lot. And I'd say each year, there are quite a few books I really, really like...and maybe 10 or 12 that make me think, wow, that was even better than expected...and 1 or 2 that I just can't stop talking about for the rest of the year. This year, I think there's been 3 or 4 already that are in the latter category. And this is one of them! My Dearest Dietrich is gorgeously written and impeccably researched. It makes Dietrich Bonhoeffer--a man I've read enough about to admire greatly--into a "real" man rather than just a pretty sweet historical figure. And it makes Maria a real and vibrant and lovable person, too. She's not just part of Bonhoeffer's narrative...she has her own rich journey. This history is vivid and heartbreaking. I'll admit I kept putting off reading the ending because I knew enough of Bonhoeffer's story to know where it was going...but once I got there, once I turned the last page, I knew the story was far from over—in reality and in my own heart. I can't possibly recommend this highly enough. A poignant and thoughtful masterpiece from Amanda Barratt! Just a side note - I also really appreciated the author's addendum at the end, giving updates on what happened to various characters and letting us know which pieces of the story were fact (the majority were) and which were author liberties. She did a truly outstanding job not just incorporating real events, but making those events the story while weaving in just enough fiction to make this truly feel like a novel (and a romantic one, at that) versus, well, a recapping of history.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn Green

    As beautiful as it is brave, My Dearest Dietrich is an illuminating novel that both exposes the darkness and chases the shadows away. This is a multi-faceted story of the highest stakes and the deepest loves, and Amanda Barratt has proved herself worthy of its telling.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sundin

    Beautiful and inspiring! Amanda Barratt brings these two historical figures to life in truly lovely prose, and the description of life in Nazi Germany is well-researched and harrowing, highlighting the heartrending choices faced by people of conscience. If you’re already familiar with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the novel will illuminate a soft side of this greater-than-life man. And if you aren’t, you’ll want to learn more. Either way, don’t miss it. This is a powerful novel, and I highly recommend it Beautiful and inspiring! Amanda Barratt brings these two historical figures to life in truly lovely prose, and the description of life in Nazi Germany is well-researched and harrowing, highlighting the heartrending choices faced by people of conscience. If you’re already familiar with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the novel will illuminate a soft side of this greater-than-life man. And if you aren’t, you’ll want to learn more. Either way, don’t miss it. This is a powerful novel, and I highly recommend it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    "Always remember. It is only space that separates us." It takes an extraordinary writer to pen a story whose ending is eternity and whose beginning brings it back to life for all the world to see. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who arguably possessed one of the most brilliant theological minds of the last century, fought bravely and loved deeply. Who knew? Through letters written back and forth to his young fiance, Maria von Wedemeyer, we glimpse Bonhoeffer's passionate faith, a faith that pervaded his ver "Always remember. It is only space that separates us." It takes an extraordinary writer to pen a story whose ending is eternity and whose beginning brings it back to life for all the world to see. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who arguably possessed one of the most brilliant theological minds of the last century, fought bravely and loved deeply. Who knew? Through letters written back and forth to his young fiance, Maria von Wedemeyer, we glimpse Bonhoeffer's passionate faith, a faith that pervaded his very being and overflowed into his heart. "What was faith if it was not living fully and completely in all of life - its joys and sorrows, burdens and blessings? . . . . . 'I have given you so little, but if my unending love is worth anything, then it is yours. Know that what ever comes, it is and always will be . . . yours.'" Yes, this story is filled with times and places, events and circumstances; recounts of lives that were snuffed out prematurely at the whim of a diabolical regime, but mercifully it paints a picture of loveliness and light in the midst of darkness and inconceivable brutality, so that we may proclaim with boldness, "Auf Wiedersehen" our dearest Dietrich and Maria. "It is only space that separates us." I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    “I hold your picture in my hand every night, and tell you lots of things—lots of ‘do you remembers,’ and ‘later ons’—so many of them that I finally can’t help believing that they’re only a small step away from the present. And then I tell you all the things that can’t be put into writing—certainly not if other people have to read my letters—but things you already know without my writing them down.” ~from Maria von Wedemeyer to Dietrich Bonhoeffer~ As a fan of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I applaud Amanda “I hold your picture in my hand every night, and tell you lots of things—lots of ‘do you remembers,’ and ‘later ons’—so many of them that I finally can’t help believing that they’re only a small step away from the present. And then I tell you all the things that can’t be put into writing—certainly not if other people have to read my letters—but things you already know without my writing them down.” ~from Maria von Wedemeyer to Dietrich Bonhoeffer~ As a fan of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I applaud Amanda Barratt for making his story available and relatable to all readers through this beautiful historical fiction novel! Through her writing, Bonhoeffer’s admirable qualities—his bravery, commitment, eloquence, kindness, faithfulness—shine, yet we also see him as a man in love, hoping for a happy future surrounded by wife and children. This makes his willingness to risk his life and personal happiness in order to stand against evil even more poignant and powerful. If you’re not familiar with the story, during WWII, Bonhoeffer, “a balding bachelor of thirty-six” fell in love Maria von Wedemeyer “a beautiful eighteen-year-old who could take her pick among any aristocratic young man she fancied.” Perhaps what made an impression on him was that the first time he met her, she was disheveled and mud-covered from taking a stand against the neighborhood bully to protect an innocent. Maria was a “muddy, Goethe-quoting girl who’d swept into the room, disordering it—and him—in a matter of seconds.” As a man who “didn’t have a regular income, lived with his parents in Berlin and his aunt when in Munich” and had “written few books, preached lots of sermons, and now worked daily in a conspiracy that could just as easily get him killed as not,” Dietrich had little to offer her. Yet Maria found herself drawn to him. Wise beyond her years, she at first believed: “Though she didn’t yet love him in the way of a woman on her wedding day, she knew beyond anything that she would.” However, through letters and visits to Dietrich while he was in prison, their bond grew. Maria claimed: “Is there a limit to how much one heart can miss another? If so, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I haven’t found it.” Their relationship shows how friendship can grow into love. This is a thoroughly researched story of love, sacrifice, courage, family bonds, duty, romance, and—above all—faith. At times gripping, at times sweetly romantic, it’s a great read! I’ve already started giving hard copies of this book as gifts. Can’t wait to share this story with my students! Thanks to Amanda Barratt, NetGalley, and Kregel Publications for giving me the opportunity to read this book. Quotes I like: “I admire anyone seeking to defend the defenseless. Even if she did go about it in a rather … interesting manner.” “‘Only from a peaceful, free, healed heart can anything good and right take place.’ A beautiful sentence. She wanted to own it for herself, to be peaceful, free, and healed when everything around her was at war, constrained, and broken.” “We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds; we have been drenched by many storms; we have learnt the arts of equivocation and pretense; experience has made us suspicious of others and kept us from being truthful and open; intolerable conflicts have worn us down and even made us cynical. Are we still of any use? What we shall need is not geniuses, or cynics, or misanthropes, or clever tacticians, but plain, honest, straightforward men…. There remains for us an experience of incomparable value. We have for once learnt to see the great events of world history from below, from the perspective of the outcast, the suspects, the maltreated, the powerless, the oppressed, the reviled—in short, from the perspective of those who suffer.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer~ “Fear had imprisoned her. And she wanted nothing more than to rip off the chains . . . she wouldn’t withhold herself from contacting her fiancé any longer. If danger came to her, so be it. She was ready for it. They all faced danger daily. Wasn’t it right and good to meet it with those who mattered most?” “She tilted her head to look at him. How different he seemed now, simply a man walking beside her instead of the great pastor in the pulpit. And she, no longer the little girl relegated to playing with her brothers and sisters, could be free to converse with him on equal terms. Tonight had the texture of hope in it, brought on perhaps by the presence of this man who seemed to emanate it. As if the fragrance in the air and the shades of the sky gave them permission to temporarily forget about all that went on in the world outside Klein-Krössin.” “There was this church I attended. Abyssinian Baptist. Church in America is an entirely different experience than here in Germany . . . It was there that I learned, perhaps for the very first time, what it was to be not just a theologian but an actual Christian. Someone who took the gospel out of dusty pages and ancient cathedrals and applied it to day-to-day life and everyday people, while still maintaining the truth of that gospel, without attempting to dilute it into something weak and popular.” “Their country was being destroyed. Not only by battle and bombs, but by an all-encompassing allegiance to a regime that spread its poison like a toxin through the country’s veins. Lethal. She didn’t want any part in it. Though she may be forced to continue her national service, she’d not let the Vogels rule her. She’d continue to feed Boris, tell the little girls bedtime stories about a Lord other than Adolf Hitler. She’d resist. Even in the small ways.” “I don’t believe in allowing another to do what I cannot, simply to absolve myself of guilt. You asked if I would be willing to take up arms and assassinate Adolf Hitler?” Dietrich swallowed, throat suddenly dry. “I know I would have to resign from any position I held in the church. But ja, I would. Guilt must not be left to others, but taken upon ourselves.”

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This is a hauntingly beautiful tale- the kind that haunts the reader long after the last page has been read. It is a poignant love story of two people who become extraordinary during a dark time in history. It is a story of faith and how that faith becomes a beacon of light within such darkness. Amanda Barrett, a new to me author, has landed a spot on the top of my author list. Her prose is poetic and historical research is impeccable. Her skill in weaving the two into a story that will impact th This is a hauntingly beautiful tale- the kind that haunts the reader long after the last page has been read. It is a poignant love story of two people who become extraordinary during a dark time in history. It is a story of faith and how that faith becomes a beacon of light within such darkness. Amanda Barrett, a new to me author, has landed a spot on the top of my author list. Her prose is poetic and historical research is impeccable. Her skill in weaving the two into a story that will impact the reader is that of a master storyteller! Bravo! A couple of my favorite quotes: "God will give us the strength at the time we require it. Not a minute before." "Death is not the end...It's the freedom and light and promise. Its grace...Ours to accept of our own free will. Without Christ it is cold and dark and empty, but with Him.....death is beautiful. He transforms it." "Ultimately it wasn't about him. It was about submitting to the will of One greater than himself, seeking that will more than he sought anything else. Valued anything else. Even his own life." I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susie Finkbeiner

    Review to come. I'm too wrecked and amazed to write one now.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susan Snodgrass

    'It was what it all came down to in the end. He wanted to live, to see his parents and marry Maria, but ultimately it wasn't about him. It was about submitting to the will of One greater than himself, seeking that will more than he sought everything else. Valued anything else.' How in the world do you start to read a book you know is going to end in tragedy? I could not bear to start for a while because I knew what was going to happen. It was going to break my heart. I have long admired Dietrich 'It was what it all came down to in the end. He wanted to live, to see his parents and marry Maria, but ultimately it wasn't about him. It was about submitting to the will of One greater than himself, seeking that will more than he sought everything else. Valued anything else.' How in the world do you start to read a book you know is going to end in tragedy? I could not bear to start for a while because I knew what was going to happen. It was going to break my heart. I have long admired Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was one of the greatest theologians of the last century and gave his life for Christ. Bonhoeffer refused, in the face of Nazism, to compromise the values of the Bible and of Christ to Hitler's evil machinations. And he paid with his life. He knew that was a distinct possibility, yet he forged on, knowing that he was following the right path. Amanda Barratt took on an admirable task when she made the decision to write about Bonhoeffer's life. And she gave us a deeper look at his life, concentrating on not only his incredible faith and bravery, but his love for his fiancé, Maria von Wedemeyer. The fiancé he would never be blessed to marry, but who he would carry in his heart all the way to the gallows. And Barratt writes this so well, so well indeed, that the reader's heart just weeps with what they know is to come. Her research is impeccable and she manages to convey such deep emotion that I nearly weep every time I just look at this book. Well done! And one quote from Bonhoeffer just stirs my soul: 'Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine.' May we all have this view. *My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kailey

    “Nein, Maria. Nothing is ever godforsaken. He is in everything ... In the giving and taking of life. In all of our moments, even this one.” It’s so hard to find the words to do this book justice. It’s such a wonderfully beautiful and haunting story of love and loss. Amanda Barratt did such a great job telling the love story of Dietrich and Maria. Their story came to life right on these pages. There was so much going on. It’s best to read this book slowly so you can savor each moment. This book fi “Nein, Maria. Nothing is ever godforsaken. He is in everything ... In the giving and taking of life. In all of our moments, even this one.” It’s so hard to find the words to do this book justice. It’s such a wonderfully beautiful and haunting story of love and loss. Amanda Barratt did such a great job telling the love story of Dietrich and Maria. Their story came to life right on these pages. There was so much going on. It’s best to read this book slowly so you can savor each moment. This book filled my heart and challenged me. I found myself asking if I could stand strong in my faith if it gets tested. I definitely recommend this book! I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kate Breslin

    It is not often I read a novel that lingers with me long after I’ve finished the last page and closed the book. My Dearest Dietrich is just such a story. Author Amanda Barratt combines stellar writing and craft to create a world based on truth, and infused with such intimate knowledge of her characters, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Maria von Wedemeyer, as to make them come alive for me on the page. I also loved learning about the little-known history of the silent battle going on in Hitler’s Nazi Ger It is not often I read a novel that lingers with me long after I’ve finished the last page and closed the book. My Dearest Dietrich is just such a story. Author Amanda Barratt combines stellar writing and craft to create a world based on truth, and infused with such intimate knowledge of her characters, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Maria von Wedemeyer, as to make them come alive for me on the page. I also loved learning about the little-known history of the silent battle going on in Hitler’s Nazi Germany, and was inspired by one man's unwavering faith and conviction. This is a must-read for fans of both historical fiction and Christian romance!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Abby Breuklander

    Love love and love this story. Loving someone is one of the easiest and the hardest things we will ever do. It's promising to stay beside someone through everything, not just the happy moments, but the heart-wrenching, gut-punching, take- your- very- breath rough stuff too. It's letting someone see the very heart of you, flaws and all. Your hopes, dreams, fears, and every other bit of you. It also means letting them open up to you as well, an invitation to see the real person they are. Love is h Love love and love this story. Loving someone is one of the easiest and the hardest things we will ever do. It's promising to stay beside someone through everything, not just the happy moments, but the heart-wrenching, gut-punching, take- your- very- breath rough stuff too. It's letting someone see the very heart of you, flaws and all. Your hopes, dreams, fears, and every other bit of you. It also means letting them open up to you as well, an invitation to see the real person they are. Love is hard, there's just no easy way to put it. But real love is able to grow stronger despite the things that life tries to throw at us. Things that are meant to break apart are the prefect opportunity to grow closer together. It's so hard sometimes, but real love and the people in our lives are always worth it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Baker (A Baker's Perspective)

    Barratt has written a beautiful, poignant story about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. My first recommendation is to read it slow. I am usually a speed reader, but with this story I purposefully took my time. First of all, there is so much history to be learned. Barratt's desire to stay true to history was so evident, and she packed in so much information that I wanted to make sure not to miss a thing. Don't mistake that for a boring read - Barratt doesn't info dump. No, instead she presents the facts metho Barratt has written a beautiful, poignant story about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. My first recommendation is to read it slow. I am usually a speed reader, but with this story I purposefully took my time. First of all, there is so much history to be learned. Barratt's desire to stay true to history was so evident, and she packed in so much information that I wanted to make sure not to miss a thing. Don't mistake that for a boring read - Barratt doesn't info dump. No, instead she presents the facts methodically, perfectly and in a way that only enhances the story line. War stories really intrigue me, but this was different than any I've ever read. No, you do not see Dietrich on the battle lines per se, but you do see his battles. When you think about the time of Hitler, it doesn't too often cross your mind that just maybe some of the Germans were not on Hitler's side. At least not me. But here was a man who was more concerned about what the Lord thought, then bowing down to Hitler who considered himself a god. What an example not only to the other characters, but to us as readers. Sometimes taking a stand has its consequences (as Dietrich learned in the latter part of the book), but that didn't stop him. Nor should it stop us. As believers in Christ, we should not be afraid of the consequences of standing up for Christ, no matter what punishment the world offers. Amongst the history, the emotions, the fear, is a love story that had my attention from the beginning. Maria is an extremely strong character. Not only because of enduring the long distance relationship (well, by the time they actually called it that), but because of the sacrifices she made as his girlfriend/fiance. She put herself in danger for him. She kept secrets for him. And although their time together was scarce, her love for him never wavered. I was not familiar with Dietrich's story, so I was not really ready for the ending, (yes I had tears) but I was okay with it. Not all love stories have the ending we want. But they do have the ability to speak to our hearts, and stay with us for a very long time. This book absolutely blew my socks off. It was everything I wanted and so much more. It exceeded the every single expectation I had for it. But again, take your time reading it. There is so much to be gained, and every single word is important to the story. I can see this book easily becoming a classic years from now. It's a book I know I will revisit many times! I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    I have mixed feelings about this book. It is very well written and very well researched. The characters were developed well. Barratt really gave a sense of the dilemma Christians felt when the leader of their country went horribly wrong. Some felt it was their duty to serve their country, such as in the military. Others felt they needed to stop Hitler, as did Bonhoefffer. I also got a very good sense of the pain and agony Christians experienced at the loss of their loved ones. Part of the charact I have mixed feelings about this book. It is very well written and very well researched. The characters were developed well. Barratt really gave a sense of the dilemma Christians felt when the leader of their country went horribly wrong. Some felt it was their duty to serve their country, such as in the military. Others felt they needed to stop Hitler, as did Bonhoefffer. I also got a very good sense of the pain and agony Christians experienced at the loss of their loved ones. Part of the character development included dialogue and actions. Barratt notes at the end of the book that almost all of the events she portrayed actually happened. She said she did create a German military officer who tried to force Maria into a relationship. And that bothers me a bit. Authors of historical fiction must imagine the thoughts, words and actions of real people, such as Barratt did with Bonhoeffer. As I read the book, I kept wondering if Bonhoeffer would really think that or say that or do that. It was a distraction for me. Something else I found distracting was the odd use of a few German words in dialogue when nearly all of it was in English. I know they spoke German and the book is in English. When I read something like, “...vater and brother,” I wonder why Barratt would use the one German word yet not the one for brother. (2430/6248) I do recommend this book as it portrays the dilemma Christians experience when the leader of the country goes wrong. One could have some good discussions around that issue. Just remember this is a novel. I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

    I think every reader starts a book with certain expectations. I expected this book to be good because I knew about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Haven’t most? This book wasn’t just good, it was unforgettable. I found it amazing how enthralled I was with the story, knowing the outcome. It takes a special kind of writing to want to enjoy and savor a book where there really aren’t any spoilers. I knew the ending ; yet I so enjoyed the journey, the blessed journey of this couple..so beautifully written. The s I think every reader starts a book with certain expectations. I expected this book to be good because I knew about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Haven’t most? This book wasn’t just good, it was unforgettable. I found it amazing how enthralled I was with the story, knowing the outcome. It takes a special kind of writing to want to enjoy and savor a book where there really aren’t any spoilers. I knew the ending ; yet I so enjoyed the journey, the blessed journey of this couple..so beautifully written. The scenes are painted with intricate detail...as they tried to visit in prison with others looking on, the reader can feel the tension and the hesitancy of the actors, the characters. They are alive...so real and vibrant. I knew the happily ever after would never come, that darkness was abundant. However, it doesn’t overtake the beautiful love story, and the love God gave these two for each other. This book makes Mr. Bonhoeffer more a man than a minister human, and more relatable. The book has prose as beautiful as poetry, and tells of a beautiful love story...but in a way that I’ve never quite read before. This book finds its place on my forever shelves, and I definitely plan on visiting Maria and Dietrich again! I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sydney

    Amanda Barratt has written a page-turning and beautifully haunting love story of Bonhoeffer and his Maria von Wedemeyer in her novel My Dearest Dietrich. From page one the story and the characters spring to life through the story and the historical details, which have obviously and meticulously been researched to great lengths. Readers will feel as if they are right there with the characters, almost feeling like they are the characters. This is an amazing and powerful love story that shows the d Amanda Barratt has written a page-turning and beautifully haunting love story of Bonhoeffer and his Maria von Wedemeyer in her novel My Dearest Dietrich. From page one the story and the characters spring to life through the story and the historical details, which have obviously and meticulously been researched to great lengths. Readers will feel as if they are right there with the characters, almost feeling like they are the characters. This is an amazing and powerful love story that shows the darkness of the time during WWII, as well as the deep emotions of true love. This novel has all the feels. Readers will be touched and powerfully moved by this beautiful and inspiring story! Genre: historical, WWII Publisher: Kregel Publications Publication date: June 9, 2019 Number of pages: 360 A review copy of this book was provided by the author via her launch team. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are my own.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Alfveby crea

    Oh my, I just finished this most beautiful story! Absolutely a FIVE STAR read. So many words come to mind when thinking of thinking of My Dearest Dietrich, these are just a few: brave, tender, lovely, moving, sad, horrific circumstances, evil, courageous, faithful. I knew little about Dietrich Bonhoeffer before reading and loving "My Dearest Dietrich" by Author Amanda Barratt. That's what I love about well written historical fiction, it always makes me want to learn more, in fact I just ordered Oh my, I just finished this most beautiful story! Absolutely a FIVE STAR read. So many words come to mind when thinking of thinking of My Dearest Dietrich, these are just a few: brave, tender, lovely, moving, sad, horrific circumstances, evil, courageous, faithful. I knew little about Dietrich Bonhoeffer before reading and loving "My Dearest Dietrich" by Author Amanda Barratt. That's what I love about well written historical fiction, it always makes me want to learn more, in fact I just ordered one of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's books, and also Maria's book of their love letters while he was in prison, both found on the author's "for further reading" list. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was a German theologian and pastor who tried to fight the brutality and the evil of the Nazi's in his own quiet, yet potentially dangerous way. It really makes one think about how important it is to fight evil where it exists in our day as well. Amanda Barratt did an impeccable job with her research, and seamlessly wove real history into this beautiful tale. I have at least a dozen pages earmarked with quotes I want to revisit. One in particular sticks out to me "...where the gospel permeates every aspect of one's life......the whole of it-work, family, marriage -should be given over to God in its entirety." That is certainly the goal. This is an excellent book, I highly recommend it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    It took me a few days to digest what I read, like when I went to the Holocaust Museum it is almost to much to take in. This book is a treasure trove of nuggets waiting to be mined and applied to your life. It has the ability to change you and make you a better person, because of what Christ can do when we face the hard times. Ms. Barratt tackled a difficult subject with the ability to draw you in and immerse you in the lives of Dietrich and Marie. You will need tissues, especially during the dan It took me a few days to digest what I read, like when I went to the Holocaust Museum it is almost to much to take in. This book is a treasure trove of nuggets waiting to be mined and applied to your life. It has the ability to change you and make you a better person, because of what Christ can do when we face the hard times. Ms. Barratt tackled a difficult subject with the ability to draw you in and immerse you in the lives of Dietrich and Marie. You will need tissues, especially during the dance scene, which is one of the most tender, haunting scenes I have ever read. This book deserves an award of excellence for its research, accomplished writing, and interpretation of the characters. This is an emotional and prismatic journey that leaves you thinking about it for days afterwards. Recommended reading for everyone. I received a complimentary copy from the author/publisher. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Fiction Aficionado

    *blows nose, dabs eyes, and takes a deep breath* Wow. Where do I start? This book is beautifully written, impeccably researched, and as inspirational as it is heartbreaking. If you want to know the cost of discipleship, read this book. I mean, you could read Dietrich’s own words as well, but he LIVED that cost in a way most of us will never have to experience—Praise God! And reading his story—living his story—as it’s presented in these pages is a powerful experience that will never leave me, all *blows nose, dabs eyes, and takes a deep breath* Wow. Where do I start? This book is beautifully written, impeccably researched, and as inspirational as it is heartbreaking. If you want to know the cost of discipleship, read this book. I mean, you could read Dietrich’s own words as well, but he LIVED that cost in a way most of us will never have to experience—Praise God! And reading his story—living his story—as it’s presented in these pages is a powerful experience that will never leave me, all the more so for the depth of love that grew between Dietrich and Maria at such a difficult time. The choices that Dietrich, Maria, and their families had to make will also linger with me. It’s rare to find a story that gives the reader so much cause to consider what it would have been like to have been German and opposed to the Nazi regime. And if there was one thing that came through strongly as I read this novel, it was that there was no easy answer to the question of, “How should we respond?” In fact, the only answer was for each man and woman to prayerfully follow his or her own conscience, regardless of the cost—knowing full well that the cost would be high regardless. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s story is truly remarkable, and I cannot recommend this novel highly enough. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chris Jager

    When you have heard of one of the great men of faith your whole life it is hard to imagine him as just a man. Barrattt does a great job of reminding us that Dietrich was just that, a man trying to do what he believed was right, loving a woman he wanted to marry. As he did those simple tasks he just happened to change the world.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I’m assuming most Christians know the basics on Dietrich Bonhoeffer — German Christian pastor who was part of a conspiracy to bring down Hitler; was found out, imprisoned, and executed in a concentration camp. When I saw that a new novel was out which featured the relationship between Bonhoeffer and his fiancee, Maria von Wedemeyer, I was eager to read it (thanks, NetGalley, for a review e-copy). We open with 18-year-old Maria working for a (fictional) Nazi family. “Nobody cried anymore. There was I’m assuming most Christians know the basics on Dietrich Bonhoeffer — German Christian pastor who was part of a conspiracy to bring down Hitler; was found out, imprisoned, and executed in a concentration camp. When I saw that a new novel was out which featured the relationship between Bonhoeffer and his fiancee, Maria von Wedemeyer, I was eager to read it (thanks, NetGalley, for a review e-copy). We open with 18-year-old Maria working for a (fictional) Nazi family. “Nobody cried anymore. There was just too much sorrow and not enough time.” “Happy moments were like hummingbird wings, flying by. Crucial ones trudged on as if weighted with lead.” She meets Dietrich while helping her grandmother recover from eye surgery. However, Dietrich is twice her age, and this gives everyone pause. This book mainly tells the story of the couple’s growing relationship. They become engaged, and shortly thereafter Dietrich is arrested and imprisoned for the remainder of his life. “As a young theology student, he’d welcomed the prestige of being top of his class, the darling of all the professors. He’d wanted to make something of himself. The years, even these last months at Tegel (prison), had convinced him of the falsity of such a desire.” I found this book well written overall. The sense of tension, especially in the scenes where Dietrich is arrested and when he and Maria have their final meeting, was excellent. I did, however, find the book to be a slow read overall; I’d expected a faster pace given the topic. And, I’m always pretty wary reading historical fiction such as this, with lots of dialogue. We can’t really know what any of these people would have said to each other. Be aware too that this is basically a story of a romance — you won’t learn a lot about the historical Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Recommended? Maybe, depending on your reading goals.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    A lovely look at Bonhoeffer's fiance, a lady many of his fans might not know about. It's a beautiful and stirring look into the quick but powerful love affair. Well researched and inspired by the many letters Maria and Dietrich shared, especially while he was imprisoned. I highly recommend!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Suzie Waltner

    A couple days after finishing this book, I am still wrecked. Words cannot do this novel justice because it’s such a heart-level story, but I’m going to try anyway. As someone who grew up in the church, I knew of Dietrich Bonhoeffer as well as bits and pieces of his life and death. But in My Dearest Dietrich, Amanda Barratt’s immaculate research and stunning prose puts skin on this man, this paragon of faith. Seriously, how can an author write such a beautifully moving novel at twenty-three? I admi A couple days after finishing this book, I am still wrecked. Words cannot do this novel justice because it’s such a heart-level story, but I’m going to try anyway. As someone who grew up in the church, I knew of Dietrich Bonhoeffer as well as bits and pieces of his life and death. But in My Dearest Dietrich, Amanda Barratt’s immaculate research and stunning prose puts skin on this man, this paragon of faith. Seriously, how can an author write such a beautifully moving novel at twenty-three? I admit, it’s hard to start a book when you already know there will be no happily ever after—at least not until eternity. But, as someone who would also never pick up a 600 page non-fiction tome about the man, this was an excellent education into the life of Dietrich—his faith, his family, his work in the resistance movement to rid Germany of Hitler and his tyranny, and his romance with young Maria von Wedemeyer. And don’t the people who sacrificed everything—those they loved most, their hopes and dreams of a future, their lives—deserve to have their stories told as much as, maybe even more than, those who survived? Yes, I realize I am sharing very little about the actual content of this novel. One, because it’s one you have to savor, to experience, and to reflect on where your own heart and faith stand. It’s a book that will make you question if you would put everything on the line for the lives of others who have had their voices stolen away. Do yourself a favor and block out an afternoon or evening to sit down with Dietrich and Maria because you will come out the other side with a full heart. And, like me, your list of people you hope to meet in heaven may grow by at least two (mine grew to include the entire Bonhoeffer and von Wedemeyer families). Disclosure statement: I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    Given the huge impact the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer have had on Christianity, he has obtained somewhat of a "Protestant Saint" status. Due to the myth and legend that exist concerning his life, many individuals do not think about the rest of his life and that he was a human being who had relationships and a fiancee. The new book My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Lost Love will change that. My Dearest Dietrich is a heart-wrenching book simply because the reader knows the Given the huge impact the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer have had on Christianity, he has obtained somewhat of a "Protestant Saint" status. Due to the myth and legend that exist concerning his life, many individuals do not think about the rest of his life and that he was a human being who had relationships and a fiancee. The new book My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Lost Love will change that. My Dearest Dietrich is a heart-wrenching book simply because the reader knows the outcome from the beginning. Even if a reader is not familiar with the story, the first chapter sets up the outcome. However, Bonhoeffer and his eventual fiancee Maria experience numerous other obstacles that keep them from spending time together or even corresponding. Reading the story of how they are placed together and how their love grows even when others try to keep them apart in the midst of a horrific world war is a wonderful testimony of the power of love and God. This book is highly recommended and due to its subject matter would appeal to a larger audience than most traditional "Christian romance." Author Amanda Barratt borrows heavily from the actual correspondence between Bonhoeffer and Maria von Wedemeyer as recorded in Love Letters from Cell 92. Many readers will wish to obtain a copy of this work to read as a follow-up to My Dearest Dietrich. While noting the story is a fictional account and indicating where the story line was "adjusted," Barratt certainly did her research for this book and lists several excellence resources for further reading. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received My Dearest Dietrich via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jenni

    Words cannot portray the immense impact this story has left. Deeply moving and emotional, Amanda Barratt’s novel My Dearest Dietrich will leave an impression long after the pages are read. “Our love was destined to begin just when we parted... You felt you “couldn’t go on.” So tell me, can you go on without me? And if you feel you can, can you still do so if you know that I can’t go on without you?” My Dearest Dietrich is the illuminating novel of the life and love of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Maria Words cannot portray the immense impact this story has left. Deeply moving and emotional, Amanda Barratt’s novel My Dearest Dietrich will leave an impression long after the pages are read. “Our love was destined to begin just when we parted... You felt you “couldn’t go on.” So tell me, can you go on without me? And if you feel you can, can you still do so if you know that I can’t go on without you?” My Dearest Dietrich is the illuminating novel of the life and love of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Maria Von Wedemeyer. German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a man who's unyielding devotion to God refused to compromise his beliefs even in the face of evil. He dared to defy the Nazi regime's ideologies and stand on the principles of scripture, his faith never wavering. The author tells the little known story of the last years of Dietrich's life and the deep love that he had. From the first moment Dietrich meets the high spirited Maria, he is inexplicably drawn to her. For Maria Von Wedemeyer, the war has taken so much. Heartache seems to be her constant companion. She soon finds herself in love and engaged to Dietrich just months before his imprisonment at Berlins Tegel prison for his involvement in a conspiracy against Hitler. Over the course of two years the couple meets only seventeen times. But behind the bars of cell 92 a deep love grows and despite the fragility of a world outside, the two begin to hope. Hope for Germany, for its people, and hope for a future together. Beyond all sensibilities, within the prison walls amidst darkness and longing, Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a source of comfort and peace to his fellow prisoners. I was struck by the remarkable faith and joy this man possessed even in the face of death. In My Dearest Dietrich, author Amanda Barratt writes an incredible piece of literature, inspiring and thought provoking both beautiful and tragic. A breathtaking love story profound and emotionally stirring that brings light into the darkest corners. Well done!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Patti Whitson Stephenson

    From the time I first read that this book was going to be published, I wanted to read it. Yet when I got my copy, I did not immediately begin reading it. I knew there was not going to be a traditional happy ending to Dietrich and Maria’s story. Even after I started reading it, I’d read for a little while, and then find that I had to put it aside and read something a little lighter before I could go continue reading again. I’m not quite sure how Amanda Barratt wrote such an extraordinary novel, b From the time I first read that this book was going to be published, I wanted to read it. Yet when I got my copy, I did not immediately begin reading it. I knew there was not going to be a traditional happy ending to Dietrich and Maria’s story. Even after I started reading it, I’d read for a little while, and then find that I had to put it aside and read something a little lighter before I could go continue reading again. I’m not quite sure how Amanda Barratt wrote such an extraordinary novel, but I am so glad that she did. Her research for this book was extensive and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s story is well known. This author made these people step out of history for me and feel that these events were happening just outside my door. This book is so many things and all of them can only be described through emotion: It’s sorrowful, yet joyful. There’s despair, and yet there’s hope. There’s self-sacrificing love for others, and a total disregard for the sanctity of human life. Those were the things that Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Maria Von Wedemeyer experienced in their short time together. Their love for each other and their faith in God in horrendous times is an example to all of us. This is one of the most compelling historical novels that I’ve ever read about World War II and this one will linger in my mind for a long time. I think this is an award-winning book, and I’d be happy to nominate it for one if given an opportunity. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marie Pinkham

    “Overhead, there was no sky.” So begins this haunting and heart-wrenching tale of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Maria von Wedemeyer. Amanda Barratt pens a novel borne of years of research and meticulous attention to factual details. That she holds great respect for the subjects of her book shines through in every riveting sentence. How does one tell a story where the end is known to many, yet still hold your interest from the very first page until the last? Though I knew what was coming, my heart was b “Overhead, there was no sky.” So begins this haunting and heart-wrenching tale of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Maria von Wedemeyer. Amanda Barratt pens a novel borne of years of research and meticulous attention to factual details. That she holds great respect for the subjects of her book shines through in every riveting sentence. How does one tell a story where the end is known to many, yet still hold your interest from the very first page until the last? Though I knew what was coming, my heart was broken to see the end of the story. From the beginning we see glimpses of the love the two had for each other, sensing the tremendous odds against their love coming to a joyful conclusion. I’ve not read many novels set in World War II. Perhaps growing up during a time when movies about this horrifying era were endless, made me leery of reading more. But this novel captured my heart and made me want to know more about the heroic, selfless people who dared to stand up against Hitler and his inhumane acts against innocent men, women, and children. I am honored to have had the privilege to read this stirring account. I was provided a copy of this book by the author and was asked only for my honest opinion. All thoughts were my own.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Andi

    I do not have adequate words to do this book justice. It is beautiful, haunting, and reads like a love song with poetic prose. This is one story that I will not forget anytime soon. I'd heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer but didn't know much about him. I definitely didn't know he was a spy and I'd never heard of Maria von Wedemeyer. Their love story is one for the ages and clearly not one that is well known. Living in WWII Germany had to be one of scariest places ever, and Ms. Barratt brings that acro I do not have adequate words to do this book justice. It is beautiful, haunting, and reads like a love song with poetic prose. This is one story that I will not forget anytime soon. I'd heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer but didn't know much about him. I definitely didn't know he was a spy and I'd never heard of Maria von Wedemeyer. Their love story is one for the ages and clearly not one that is well known. Living in WWII Germany had to be one of scariest places ever, and Ms. Barratt brings that across clearly. Both Dietrich and Maria are portrayed real and in full color for the reader. Ms. Barratt's research is evident on each page. In our world today where our history keeps to remove the horror of the Holocaust books like Amanda Barratt's is sorely needed for not only the generation of today but future generation. I highly recommend this book! It is a definite must read and will be on my list for the top books of 2019. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via the publisher as a part of Amanda Barratt's street team. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Diana Guz

    Ever since I found out about Amanda Barratt’s novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I knew I had to read it. I had high expectations for this one, and all of them were met through the skilled writing and heartfelt storytelling of Barratt. The mesmerizing way with words that Barratt has shines in this novel, gently layering a somber but hope-filled tale of Nazi Germany. I found it almost difficult to read in terms of content, but nevertheless I wouldn’t have wanted the author to brush over any of the hor Ever since I found out about Amanda Barratt’s novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I knew I had to read it. I had high expectations for this one, and all of them were met through the skilled writing and heartfelt storytelling of Barratt. The mesmerizing way with words that Barratt has shines in this novel, gently layering a somber but hope-filled tale of Nazi Germany. I found it almost difficult to read in terms of content, but nevertheless I wouldn’t have wanted the author to brush over any of the horrific realities of the time. In the darkness of WWII, the life of Bonhoeffer offers us a ray of hope—and how beautifully Barratt shows us his faith in God, his strength of character, and his intelligence! I was not able to grasp it with just one reading, because so many weighty themes and truths were presented throughout the novel. Barratt weaved much of Bonhoeffer’s own writing into her novel, making it an excellent introduction to his life and works, and giving us a glimpse into his heart. The love story, of course, on which the book somewhat focuses on, was gentle and sweet, but not without pain and separation. It was penned realistically and it touched me deeply. My Dearest Dietrich is book for the keeper shelf, to be returned to and savored over and over. I get the feeling I will see new things every time I pick it up and turn the pages. Highly recommended for all lovers of history!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Wow! My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Lost Love by Amanda Barratt is a stunning read! It is one that is unforgettable and this is a book that I want to savor because the journey of this book is impeccable! Really, it is! Trust me. It is so beautifully written. In the scenes of the book, I felt that Amanda did a fantastic job of giving the reader intricate details, so the reader can place themselves in the story. The plot and characters have depth, while the reader is learnin Wow! My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Lost Love by Amanda Barratt is a stunning read! It is one that is unforgettable and this is a book that I want to savor because the journey of this book is impeccable! Really, it is! Trust me. It is so beautifully written. In the scenes of the book, I felt that Amanda did a fantastic job of giving the reader intricate details, so the reader can place themselves in the story. The plot and characters have depth, while the reader is learning about history through the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a fiction way. As a reader, I was so moved by this book. This is a book that will be on my shelf forever, that I will visit from. time to time. This is just a phenomal read! Grab your copy today, you will be changed by the power of this book! I promise.

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