First Impression Friday: “The Ragged Edge of Night” by Olivia Hawker

Welcome back to First Impression Friday, where I give my thoughts on a book I’ve just recently started reading. This was started by JW Martin at Storeys of Stories. This week’s book is an Amazon First Kindle Book entitled The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker. I picked it up for two reasons: (1) it had the highest number of five-star reviews and (2) it was compared to The Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See, both of which are on my list of top books.

From GoodReads:

For fans of All the Light We Cannot See, Beneath a Scarlet Sky, and The Nightingale comes an emotionally gripping, beautifully written historical novel about extraordinary hope, redemption, and one man’s search for light during the darkest times of World War II.

Germany, 1942. Franciscan friar Anton Starzmann is stripped of his place in the world when his school is seized by the Nazis. He relocates to a small German hamlet to wed Elisabeth Herter, a widow who seeks a marriage—in name only—to a man who can help raise her three children. Anton seeks something too—atonement for failing to protect his young students from the wrath of the Nazis. But neither he nor Elisabeth expects their lives to be shaken once again by the inescapable rumble of war. 

As Anton struggles to adapt to the roles of husband and father, he learns of the Red Orchestra, an underground network of resisters plotting to assassinate Hitler. Despite Elisabeth’s reservations, Anton joins this army of shadows. But when the SS discovers his schemes, Anton will embark on a final act of defiance that may cost him his life—even if it means saying goodbye to the family he has come to love more than he ever believed possible.

The Ragged Edge of NightI’m not even sure where to begin with this one. I’ve only read a little bit into it, but I’m certainly interested. The writing is in present tense, which I’m not a huge fan of (Hunger Games is the last book I read that did that, if you want to get a feel for how much I don’t like present tense). I’ve only reached the part where Anton (our main character) has met the woman who put out the ad for a husband. He doesn’t tell her right away that he’s a priest and has taken a vow of celibacy, but instead tells her that he’s impotent, and she relaxes. (As the preview up above mentioned, she’s looking for a sugar daddy/husband-in-name-only, and most likely doesn’t want more kids.)

I’m interested to see if Elizabeth and Anton eventually do end up falling in love. I’m pretty sure they will, but I don’t think Anton is going to “lose his life” by the end of the book. Elizabeth may, but I don’t think so.  The way the summary is set up makes me think that there will be a relatively happy ending. I know that World War II books don’t usually have happy endings, but the way I see it, there are two options: (1) Anton ends up dead, or (2) Anton has to sacrifice being Elizabeth’s husband in order to keep her and the children safe and they never see each other again. There may be a third option in which everything goes right and they get to live happily ever after, but I doubt it.

I think this book should be an easy four stars, and I’ll let you know when I finish!

And as always, keep reading.

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