4 out of 4 stars
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Cotterena "Sonne" Becker was not spared from Nazi atrocities during the Third Reich. She was one of Adolf Hitler's fifteen food testers who were confined in the Wolf's Lair. Mesmerized by her beauty and family background, Adolf Hitler personally chose to have a baby with her through insemination.
With Adolf Hitler's command, European Jews were exterminated - including Josef Taffel - Rainer von Bauchelle's childhood friend. As a professor and connoisseur of fine art, Rainer was forced to work for the Nazis as a curator of the Amber Room in Konigsberg where he met the distressed Sonne. Rainer and Sonne fled the country, but can they run away from the aftermath of the Nazi nightmares?
The Center of Gravity by Patricia Brandon is a historical fiction set in Germany, East Prussia, France, and the United States from early 1933 to late 1975. Both prologue and epilogue are narrated in the first-person perspective of Rennie Easter (Rainer and Sonne's daughter). The fifty-four chapters are third-person narrations following Sonne, Rainer, and Rennie.
Among the vast characters mentioned in this story, I like Sonne the most. Aside from her desirable appearance, her resilience is very impressive. Her reactions to the aftermath of Nazi horrors make her character realistic. I admire the strong bond of friendship between Rainer and Josef. They are inseparable despite their difference in faith. The antagonists (the Nazis) are despicable.
My favorite quote is the Latin word "Memento Mori" which Patricia explained this way (copy-pasted as is): “It means to remember that you are mortal! That you should make your life count for good while you can!” She gives substance to the words which simply mean "remember death". I love her writing style and proficiency in cinematic storytelling. This fast-paced tale has perfectly braided twists and turns. Readers won't be able to guess what will happen next. This story will surely be among the blockbuster movies if filmed.
This book is Patricia's first take on writing, but she got me on the edge of my seat from the beginning of the story until the end. In one sitting, I reached the end page - five hundred nine. The story explored human emotions. I felt the thrill, fear, anger, contempt, uncertainty, despair, hope, love, and giddiness that the author masterfully peppered in the contents. The ending was superb, and I adored Patricia's expertise in tying up loose ends.
I found nothing unlikable in this book. However, the very descriptive brutalities of the Nazis and some sensual descriptions made this book not suitable for young and faint-hearted readers. There were mentions about Christianity and Judaism, but these could not limit the audience to Christians and Jews only. I saw punctuation, spacing, and typo errors that did not distract my reading flow. I rate Patricia Brandon's The Center of Gravity 4 out of 4 stars. Fans of historical fiction will love this book and long for more. Patricia, please write more books. You've got a fan in me.
The Center of Gravity
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