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Reviewed by Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers' Favorite
Gary R Hall's historical novel Sacrifice and Salvation: Mission GDR is set during the Cold War years. Gertrude "Trudi" Kehle and Peter Ackerman are ethnic Germans from Tachau, Czech Sudetenland. In WWII, the region was occupied by Nazi Germany and subsequently by the Russians. Ethnic Germans were expelled from the region. Peter escapes from Tachau after WWII ends. In 1958 he helps Trudi to escape to Gaissach, West Germany. Trudi and Peter accept a dangerous mission from the US Army to find Herman Nagle, a suspected war criminal from Tachau, and now in East Germany. Peter is with the US Army Special Forces Group; Trudi, prior to her escape, carries out espionage for the US. She is a gifted athlete and undergoes intensive training for Operation Seagull. The tension rises as Trudi and Peter, along with Zara, their trained Belgian Malinois, parachute into East Germany.
I was deeply moved by Gary R Hall's Sacrifice and Salvation because at its heart this is a story of hope, courage, and determination. I loved the character development of Trudi Kehle. She is 13 when WWII ends; she carries a heavy burden of remorse and guilt because her father was a Nazi sailor. She is determined that Operation Seagull should succeed: she is incredibly grateful to the US for her freedom and seeks redemption for her remorse. She risks her life to help Sarah Blumenstein, hiding in East Germany, to escape and rejoin her family. Trudi learns to draw on her inner strength to overcome challenges and perilous danger. I really liked the way Gary Hall turns Trudi's experiences, and those of other characters, to help others meet their own challenges. A thought-provoking historical novel indeed!