When Twilight Breaks

Written by Sarah Sundin
Review by Franca Pelaccia

It’s 1938 in Germany. Evelyn Brand is a foreign news journalist who is trying to write informative articles for an American audience. Her focus is on the growing tyranny in Nazi Germany and their treatment of Jews, but she walks a fine line. She is in a male-dominated profession and has to constantly prove herself by grabbing at newsworthy stories. Her stories can’t offend the Nazi government, or she could be expelled from the country. She is also three-quarters Jewish. The stakes could mean her life. Peter Lang is an American Ph.D. student and guest lecturer at the University of Munich. He is disillusioned by the lawlessness and disorder created by the Great Depression and is taken in with the prosperity and order of German society. But his vision changes when the brutality of the regime becomes evident. To make amends and do the morally correct thing, he acts as Evelyn’s informant and feeds her information from pro-Nazi meetings and associates.

When Twilight Breaks follows a stereotypical romance storyline. The plot is one-dimensional, as are the characterizations. Evelyn reminds me of a 1940s movie heroine who saunters into a male-dominated profession, demanding independence and respect and finally getting it, but at the potential cost of her life. Peter is the idealistic scholar who feels morally obligated to save the heroine while trying to respect her independence and courage. Even though the characters develop, they still remain flat, changing one organized way of thinking with another. The story could have been so much richer if it wasn’t so formulaic. That said, the details of the time and the events are remarkable. They are well-researched and written with clarity and precision.