Code Name Edelweiss is a historical fiction novel set in Hollywood in 1933 amidst the rise of anti-Semitism. The story follows Liesl Weiss, a German-American who finds herself caught between her loyalty to her German heritage and her desire to fight against the oppression of the Jewish people. After losing her job at MGM, Liesl agrees to work with Leon Lewis, a Jewish lawyer intent on thwarting the rise of Nazism in America, and his operative, Agent Thirteen, to spy on her friends and neighbors and infiltrate the Friends of New Germany to uncover their plots.
I found Code Name Edelweiss to be a captivating and well-researched read that shed light on a little-known spy network in Hollywood before the start of WWII. The author, Stephanie Landsem, did an excellent job creating a compelling storyline full of suspense, action, and historical accuracy. I particularly enjoyed the split point of view between Liesl and Agent Thirteen, which added depth to their characters and allowed readers to understand their motivations and thought processes.
Although history records the devastating loss of six million Jews during the Holocaust, it is essential to remember that over 100,000 people risked their lives to save Jews. Liesl and Agent Thirteen’s stories are a powerful reminder that we must not wait for change to happen before acting to stand up against injustice and oppression.
“If not us, who? If not now, when? It must be us, and it must be now. I would fight this war. I would not be silent!” ~ Stephanie Landsem
While there were some moments where the plot felt slow, overall, I found Code Name Edelweiss to be a fascinating and engaging novel that will appeal to anyone interested in WWII history, espionage, and suspense. However, be aware that the story does touch on some heavy themes related to anti-Semitism and racism. As someone who usually reads WWII novels from a Jewish point of view, I was taken aback by the number of anti-Semitic slurs at the beginning of the book. However, as the story progressed and I got to know Liesl and Agent Thirteen, I realized the importance of these elements in the storyline. They serve as a stark reminder of the hate and discrimination that the Jewish people faced during that time and highlight the bravery of those who worked to resist it.
*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me an advance copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.*
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