Hope at Dawn
Livy Campbell is the daughter of an all-American family; with two brothers fighting overseas, she desperately wants to help her family and accepts the first job she’s offered, as a schoolteacher in Hilden, Iowa. Friedrick Wagner, a handsome German-American living in Hilden, just wants to provide for and protect his family, but the fear and prejudice against people like him makes that increasingly difficult. Complicating things is his growing attraction to Livy, a match that can never be. With an uncertain future ahead of them, Livy and Friedrick must tread carefully to retain their faith and their freedom.
Condensing a timeline of real events in 1918-1919, including the liberty loan drives and a language law passed by the Governor of Iowa in 1918, Henrie sets the fictional town and characters of Hilden in a hotbed of anti-German sentiment and fear. While the romantic tension could be stronger and Friedrick’s rival more developed, Henrie keeps the plot simple and familiar. At its most ordinary, this is a romance novel that doesn’t whitewash the persecution against German-Americans during WWI, at its best; Henrie offers a compelling look at the danger of xenophobia, especially during times of war.