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Lost Kin: A Novel (Kaspar Brothers) by Steve…

Lost Kin: A Novel (Kaspar Brothers)

by Steve Anderson

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This is a well-written book, but I had a hard time plowing through it. I didn’t like any of these characters. I expected to be riveted by the story since it took place in Occupied Europe in 1946, an era not addressed in most World War II fiction.

The German-born American officer Harry Kaspar is not a man of honor in my mind and his brother Max, who returned to Germany after the start of the war, is certainly no paragon of virtue. They get into a couple of tight spots together, from which they almost miraculously escape. The reader knows these two are not going to come to harm, so it takes the tension out of these tight spots.

The author wanted to make a moral point in this book, about Russians and other Soviet nationalities being forcefully repatriated after the end of the war. He uses the fictitious Ukrainian Cossacks, who fought with the Germans against the Soviets during the war as the focus for the reader’s sympathy. I didn’t feel any empathy or sympathy for them. They fought with the Germans – what did they think the Allieds would do? Reward them with homes in suburbia? The ploy of using their children as a reason for “saving” them from the Russians did not work – children are always affected by the actions and choices of their parents for good or naught.

It is easy for people born long after the war to feel outraged about the repatriation, but after all those repatriated were legally Soviet subjects and the rest of the Allied powers really had no authority to withhold them from the Soviets. There were millions of completely innocent displaced people who had to be accounted for, cared for, and resettled somewhere in the world. It was an enormous task. The entire world had just been through a brutal war that started in the late 1930s. Many atrocities occurred during that war but forced repatriation of Soviets pales compared to what 10s of millions of people suffered in my opinion.

The fact that Max Kaspar, in love with a young Cossack woman, was so deceitful in dealing with his brother, as was Irina, the young Cossack, did nothing to warm me to their cause. If the characters had been more likable and behaved more honestly with each other, maybe this story would have been more enjoyable. I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  MaggieG13 | Apr 27, 2016 |
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