Christophe Brecht has lost everything but his rock-solid faith. In the fall of 1918, he returns home from the Great War to find his family's home as empty as his heart. His brother died in a battle that Christophe just barely survived; his parents died from the heartache of losing their youngest son. Exhausted, discouraged and battered, he looks forward to seeing his sister. Instead, he finds a note saying she fled to America.
When he visits the Durays, old family friends, he discovers more bad news. Their oldest daughter Giselle, Christophe's former love interest, died when the Durays' arms factory caught fire. Their youngest daughter, Annaliese, has run off to Munich, determined to alienate herself from her parents. The Durays hire Christophe to bring Annaliese home --- a mission that will impact two lives, two hearts, and one lost soul.
Christophe has no idea who or what he will find upon arriving in Munich. The heart of Germany is bruised by the failed war and torn between socialism and communism. He hopes the heated political scene has not placed Annaliese in danger, if she is even there at all. If she is still alive. When he discovers she is a strong voice for socialism, working side-by-side with noted party leader Jurgen, Christophe joins the group in an effort to stay close and convince her to return to her parents. Munich is clearly on the verge of an uprising, and Jurgen is looking at Annaliese with eyes that want more than political support --- too much more. Despite knowing Annaliese doesn't share his religious or political beliefs, Christophe isn't going to let her out of his sight. And it isn't because her parents hired him.
Annaliese is unaware she's been misled in almost every significant way. She blames her "capitalist" parents for their role in supporting the war; Christophe for instigating her sister's death; and God for abandoning the starving and broken people of Germany. Her trust and hope for the future lies with Jurgen, whom she believes will help make Germany a country in which all people are equal; where the rich share with the poor and everyone has a voice. To be his political peer as well as his girlfriend would be a dream come true. But something about that dream doesn't feel right. Her heart knows Jurgen doesn't want a wife; he wants someone to warm his bed.
With each passing day, the idea grows more tempting…until Christophe enters the scene. When she discovers he had nothing to do with Giselle's death, she begins to see him in a new light. But each time their hearts draw together, their different views pull them back apart. And why must he keep bringing God into the picture? The question nags at Annaliese, who finds herself thinking more and more often about the God she left behind.
History, politics, passion, loyalty and danger swirl together to create an intriguing story of love and self-discovery in SPRINGTIME OF THE SPIRIT. Award-winning author Maureen Lang doesn't disappoint with this historical tale of romance in post-war Germany. The extensive research necessary to write this novel is seamlessly woven throughout the story, transporting the reader to another place and time. Historical fiction fans and others will enjoy this compelling novel's continuous undercurrent of danger and romance, beautifully combined with a riveting plot and likable characters.
Reviewed by Susan Miura on March 1, 2011