Monday, August 25, 2008

Copper Fire by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Copper Fire by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Copyright 2008
Vintage Inspirations
Inspirational Historical Fiction
285 pages
Author's Website

What led you to pick up this book?
I chose to read this book for a book tour because the excerpt was excellent and the setting was post-WWII. I'll read just about anything that has to do with the Second World War.

Summarize the plot but don't give away the ending. Louisa Gordon has settled into her home and life in Copper Springs, Arizona when a telegram from the International Red Cross arrives. Her young cousin, Elisabeth, has been released from Dachau concentration camp and Louisa is her only remaining relative.

Louisa is determined to bring her cousin home and, at the same time, discover the whereabouts of Friedrich Mueller, a Nazi sympathizer who brought death and financial ruin to Copper Springs. But, the last thing she expects is to meet the former love of her life, a man she cannot even bear to think about.

Note: This book is "inspirational", aka Christian fiction, although I think it's subtle. In fact, I completely forgot that it could be considered Christian, in spite of the fact that a minister is a key character. I saw the Christianity as a function of the time and place. Louisa is half Jewish and Elisabeth is a Jew, hence her imprisonment in Dachau.

What did you like most about the book? I enjoyed the fact that Louisa's family slowly grew, throughout the book, till it was a bit of a patchwork quilt of characters. I also thought it was a very readable book, with fluid prose. I found the story a bit of a page-turner.

What did you think of the characters? My favorite characters were Aunt Martha (Louisa's husband's sharp-tongued live-in aunt) and Louisa's stepson, William, who is extremely observant and wise in the way of a child who sees and states the facts. Louisa is a former German Resistance Worker and I felt like I personally needed to read the first book, Copper Star, to get a grip on how and why she ended up in Copper Springs, married to a minister. She never really grew on me, although I liked her and was interested in finding out what was going to happen to her. Elisabeth was extremely difficult as a character because she wasn't happy to have a warm, clean home to live in; she was very angry. I did not like the fact that Elisabeth's dialogue was written in vernacular (German-accented English), so that every "w" was written as a "v". That became really tiresome, after a time. But, at the same time, Elisabeth's behavior was well enough explained to make sense and I cared about her.

Share a favorite scene from the book: There isn't a particular scene that jumps out at me, but I particularly liked the action near the end of the book, when pieces of the Friedrich Mueller puzzle fall into place.

Recommended for those who are looking for an interesting story of small-town life after WWII, with a bit of intrigue.

In general, I'd call the writing "a bit pedestrian". There are no beautiful word pictures, no flowery prose. I didn't mark any passages that stood out. But, it has a good flow and, while I thought there were a couple of tiny snafus (a baby that is handed to the father who is already, in fact, holding the child), I enjoyed reading it and would like to get a copy of the first in the series to fill in a few of the bits I didn't quite understand -- probably due more to fatigue from commuting within Oklahoma, as opposed to any flaw on the author's part. I would definitely like to read the next in the series, when it's released.


  1. Thank you for the great review, Nancy. I tend to shy away from books labelled Christian fiction, but I have read a couple that were universal enough that it didn't matter. This sounds like one of those.

  2. This one sounds interesting. And if I may comment without having read the book - it would seem to me that anger from a survivor of something that horrendous would almost have to be angry to have survived.

    I hope Oklahoma wasn't too bad this time.


  3. Wendy,

    Till recently, I shied away from "Christian" fiction, even though I am a Christian! I think this particular book was definitely what you could call universal. When Christianity came into play, it was just through the characters explaining what they believe or trying to encourage each other, without any real sermonizing.


    Eventually, another character shows up and his attitude is very different, but it made sense to me that Elisabeth would have a lot of anger. Really, it was very well done, the way its shown how the character struggled with her emotions and the only way she could express herself was harsh.

    Oklahoma was better, this time, but I'm flattened. I hope the last trip home won't do me in. LOL

  4. I agree with this book being tend to forget about the Christian aspect as you are reading.

  5. I'm glad you're still reading and posting! It's been a while since I've had the pleasure of reading a bookfool post. And believe me, I understand if you are busy. Blogging can get pushed to the wayside easily.

    Thanks for the review. I love WWII or post WWII books as well.

  6. Tracee,

    Exactly. In fact, I forgot that it was a Christian book and had to go back to add the word "Inspirational" to this post. It never struck me as a Christian book as much as a work of historical fiction in which some of the characters were Christian.


    I wasn't expecting to commute from my in-laws' house, on this trip, but my sister had completely stripped the bathroom, removed the washer and dryer, and sold the fridge. So, it wasn't livable. I drove at least 2000 miles, this past week. Ugh. Hopefully, I'll be settled in a couple of weeks. Home has never looked so attractive!

    I'll read just about anything set during or around WWII. I think my interest was originally piqued when I read the story of a man and woman who had a phone friendship going during the London Blitz in a Reader's Digest magazine -- that was when I was a child but I've never forgotten it. It was incredibly moving and I was impressed with the courage of Londoners. That's never changed -- I'm still amazed at how they handled everyday life with bombs raining down around them.

  7. I think you would like 84 Charing Cross Road. It is short around 100 pages and I checked it out from the library. It starts after WWII but great mention is made of the conditions in London post WWII. It is nonfiction.

    I also read The Guenrsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. A Big part of the book is in Channel Islands WWII occupation. This one is fiction. :)

  8. Nancy -

    Thank you so much for understanding that rather fractured bit of nonsense I posted above. It's been one of those days. Glad things were a bit better and you've got the idea that it is the last trip that will help you get through.


  9. Brittanie,

    I'm pretty sure both of those books are on my wish list; I'll have to check. WWII is my favorite war to read about, although I'm fast becoming a Civil War nut. Thanks for the recommendations! :)


    The grammar was off, but I totally understood what you meant. I think there are two types of people who tend to survive that kind of torment: those who are driven by anger and those who don't give up hope. Sorry you had one of those days!

    I wanted to do the division of possessions slowly, but I think I've reached the point that I feel like, "Enough! Let's just get this business over with and move on." Everyone must have a line that they reach and my sister happens to have reached it just a bit sooner but I've caught up! LOL

  10. Hey everyone...thank you so much for your comments! I'm glad you all felt that the Christian element wasn't clubbing any one on the back of their skull. I wanted to show people what faith felt like rather than tell them. Hope you history buffs out there like the research in it. I really worked hard to be as accurate as possible!

    Thanks, Bookfoolery, for your thoughts and with sharing your way with words. ~Suzanne

  11. Suzanne,

    I had just read a bit about Dietrich Bonhoeffer before I picked up your book, so at least this chick appreciated the research.

    Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm glad you enjoyed the review. :)


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