Book Review: The White Rose Network by Ellie Midwood

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: February 9th, 2022
Pages: 281, paperback
Source: NetGalley

Sophie was born to be a rebel, raised by parents who challenged the brutal Nazi regime. Determined to follow in their footsteps, she leaves for university, defying Hitler’s command for women to stay at home.

On her first day in Munich, Sophie’s brother Hans introduces her to his dear friend. When she meets Alexander, with his raven-black hair and brooding eyes, she knows instantly that she isn’t alone. There are more courageous souls like her, who will fight against evil.

Together, and with others who also refuse to back down, they form the White Rose Network. In an underground vault, Sophie and Alexander conspire in whispers, falling in love as they plot against Hitler. Promising her heart to Alexander is the most dangerous act of all––with each risk they take, they get closer to capture.

As snowflakes fall on a frosty February morning, Sophie and her brother scatter Munich University with leaflets calling for resistance: “We will not be silent; we will not leave you in peace!”

But their lives hang in the balance, with the secret police offering a reward to anyone with information on the White Rose Network. It is only a matter of time before the Gestapo closes in… And when Sophie is imprisoned in an interrogation room, staring a Nazi officer in the eye, will she take their secrets to her grave? Will she sacrifice her freedom for love?

Fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Alice Network and The Lilac Girls will be completely gripped by this heartbreaking and addictive page-turner. Based on a true story, this inspirational tale shows that, in the face of evil, giving up is not an option…

Ellie Midwood’s The White Rose Network is a fictionalized account of Sophie Scholl’s involvement in a student resistance against the Nazis in WWII Munich.

When Sophie arrives in Munich in the Spring of 1942 to study at the university, she has no idea that her brother Hans, his best friend Alex, and their fellow students have started publishing leaflets denouncing the Nazis. Sophie, despite being engaged to a Wehrmacht solider, is already a rebel, being one of only ten percent of women allowed to attend university. Her family do not support the Nazi regime, so it is natural that Sophie joins their group, called “The White Rose” and begins writing her own tracts.

Midwood uses contemporary sources and actual quotes which demonstrate the bravery and conviction of these students. Sophie’s refusal to condemn the others to save herself, despite the best efforts of her Gestapo interrogator to get her to do so, shows that, even in evil times, there are good people, and it is worth it to try to change things.

It’s not an easy read. You know not all of the group will survive the war, and there are definitely uncomfortable parallels to the political climates in several places. The content is rich, though, and Midwood brings each person vividly to life.

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