Leningrad, 1941. As Europe crumbles under the German war machine, the people of the Soviet Union watch. There are whispers of war but not loud enough for the civilians of Leningrad to notice. Instead, they keep their heads down and try to avoid the ever-watching eyes of their own oppressive government.
University student Tatiana Ivankova tries to look ahead to the future after a family tragedy that characterizes life under the brutal regime. But, when the rumors that have been circulating the country become a terrifying reality, Tatiana realizes that the greatest fear may not be the enemy but what her fellow citizens are prepared to do to each other to survive.
As his men plow through the Russian countryside, Heinrich Nottebohm is told to follow orders and ask no questions, even if such commands go against his own principles. His superiors hold over him a past event that continues to destroy him with every day that passes. But, when given the opportunity to take an act of defiance, Heinrich will jump at the chance, ignoring what the end results could be.
Leningrad: The People’s War tells the harrowing beginning of a war that forever changed the landscape of a city, told through the eyes of both sides in a tale of courage, love, and sacrifice.
“WE FOUND HER! Here she is! Here she is!”
Heinrich looked up from the disturbing reports he was reading about the Germans taking Pavlovsk and Pushkin and found that a number of his men had invaded his tent. Bechtold was at the front, wildly waving a Soviet newspaper in the air.
He slammed it down on the table in front of Heinrich and repeatedly poked the paper. “This is her. This is her.”
Heinrich found Bechtold gesturing to a large picture of a young woman with thick black hair. She wore an army uniform, gun swung over her shoulder, and looked at the
camera with a smirk. The headline stated ‘TATIANA IVANKOVA: A HERO OF THE PEOPLE!’
Heinrich removed the newspaper from under Bechtold’s finger. “Who is she?”
“The woman who destroyed that tank a few days ago,” Bechtold said breathlessly.
His partner Dinter came up next to him. “It’s true, sir! The soldier who survived the attack identified her this morning when he saw the picture.”
“We have a target.” Sauer was standing in the corner, arms folded across his chest, decidedly menacing in the poor lighting. “We must now take action.”
“Take action?” Schneider looked at Sauer.
“Of course! She must pay for what she did.” Sauer balled his hand into a fist and slammed it into his open palm. “Hang her from the street corner so everyone can see her.”
Heinrich’s eyes were still glued to the newspaper as the men continued to argue about the proper punishment. Heinrich was stunned. He had expected someone older, perhaps a mother with a murdered son wanting revenge, but instead he was staring at a young woman who was most likely university age and had probably never experienced hardship in her life. Why had the army recruited her? He was determined to learn everything about this woman. Somewhere, he would find the answers he was looking for.
“Gentlemen.” Heinrich’s voice rose above them, and they all turned to him while he got to his feet. He held the newspaper so everyone could see the woman’s photo. “We must be vigilant and keep our eyes open for this,” he looked back at the paper, “Tatiana Ivankova.”
“Nothing we can’t handle, sir,” Sauer’s sidekick, Hermann, gloated.
“Nevertheless,” Heinrich ignored him, “keep an eye open. If you are able to capture her along with her comrades,” he unfolded the paper and pointed to a smaller photo of the woman’s apparent comrades; another dark-headed beauty and a blond, “you are to bring them directly to me. You are not to harm them.”
There were murmurs of displeasure.
“She may have secrets,” Heinrich explained. “And I will not pass an opportunity that may save our men’s lives. Understood?”
The men exited the tent and Heinrich sat down, placing the paper on his desk. Returning to his initial reports, he continued to read on. Max’s unit had started to take the palaces inside Leningrad. They spoke of how they had found civilians inside, unaware the Germans were so close. Even more disturbing, they discovered some returning from the city, having been turned away by the police as they did not have residency permits. Why had they been so unprepared? Had they, in their arrogance, refused even to contemplate the idea the Germans could take
Overhead, Heinrich could hear planes heading to bomb the city again. Glancing back at the photo of the young woman, he began to think he would be doing her a favor by saving her from her government.
Rachel R. Heil is a historical fiction writer who always dreamed of being an author. After years of dreaming, she finally decided to turn this dream into a reality with her first novel, and series, Behind the Darkened Glass. Rachel is an avid history fan, primarily focused on twentieth century history and particularly World War Two-era events. In addition to her love for history, Rachel loves following the British Royal Family and traveling the world, which only opens the door to learning more about a country’s history. Rachel resides in Wisconsin.
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Thanks Rachel. Hope the blog tour is a great success
@HeilRachelR #HistoricalFiction #WorldWarII #Leningrad #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub