I have to say, this book is best read in such conditions: with a full belly, in a warm and safe home, and with a loved one within arms reach. Do not read when feeling : sad, vulnerable, bummed. Because this book will not help those feelings.
Katherina and Peter get married,though they are hundreds of miles apart, and have never met. (And here I thought that a bride and groom in the same room was a necessity for a wedding.) They each have their own motivations, Katherina will get a widow's pension if something happens to Peter, and Peter gets a week's leave from the brutal conditions on the Eastern front.
The time they spend together is short, but memorable. But before long Peter is back in the war and Katherina continues to struggle with her overbearing parents and the struggles of the home front during war time.Her struggles seem to pale in comparison to Peter's horror stories at first, but as the war progresses it gets worse on the home front too.
There are a couple of things that I really liked about this book. There was no sugar coating about how terrible the conditions were during the siege of Stalingrad, and pretty much the whole Eastern front. They were incomprehensibly bad. I liked that it was from German's perspective. So much of the books out there are exclusively from the Allied perspective. I thought it was an interesting writing choice that there are big gaps of time in the narrative where we get to draw our own conclusions about what happens that we aren't told about. Not an easy read but a good read, 3 stars!