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Author of AGAINST A DARKENING SKY, THE EMPTY ROOM, OUR DAILY BREAD, and others. Find out more at www.LaurenBDavis.com. I read as if my sanity depended upon it.. . . oh, wait, it does! Snort.

Skeletons at the Feast

Skeletons at the Feast - Chris Bohjalian This fine novel, set in 1945 Germany, at the end of WWII, was inspired by a journal kept by a family friend of Bohjalian'. The plot follows a group of survivors attempting to cross the ravaged remains of the Third Reich from Warsaw to the Rhine and the relative safety of the British and American lines. The main characters: The Emmerich family, aristocratic Prussians. Anna Emmerich, 18 years old and in love with Callum Finella, a 20 year old Scottish prisoner of war, brought from the POW camp to her family farm as forced labor. 26 year old Uri Singer, a German Jew who escaped from an Auschwitz bound train and has been posing as a German soldier since. Uri searches for Rachel, his sister, who he fears died in the camps. He is a stealth fighter, killing as many Nazis along the way as he can. Cecelia, a Jewish woman trying to survive a forced march from one of the stalags. All the components are here -- interesting, sympathetic and active characters, enormous conflict, even forbidden love. At times heart-breaking, at times inspiring, a gripping read from beginning to end.I would have given it five stars but for some problems with the actual writing. Now, I read the book on my Kindle, and perhaps that version is not as well-edited as the print version. Is that possible? I don't know. But the book was, in my opinion, poorly edited. Bohjalian has a fixation, it seems, with the word 'that' as well as unnecessary linking words. Example:"...he could smell the fires that were igniting in the woods." Why not simply, "he smelled the fires igniting in the woods.That sort of phrasing, once, is one thing, but unfortunately it's on almost every page. It's jarring, and snaps me out of what is, otherwise, a wonderful story.