Posted in 5 paws, Blog tour, fiction, Historical, mystery, Review on January 28, 2014

roses underneath

Genre & Subject:   Fiction / Historical / Mystery
Release Date:         January 28, 2014
Publisher:              Ypsilon & Co Press
ISBNs:                    9780615868363 (paper), 9780615883908 (Kindle)
Pages:                    411


It is August 1945 in Wiesbaden, Germany. With the country in ruins, Anna Klein, displaced and separated from her beloved husband, struggles to support herself and her six-year old daughter Amalia. Her job typing forms at the Collecting Point for the US Army’s Monuments Men is the only thing keeping her afloat. Charged with securing Nazi-looted art and rebuilding Germany’s monuments, the Americans are on the hunt for stolen treasures. But after the horrors of the war, Anna wants only to hide from the truth and rebuild a life with her family. When the easy-going American Captain Henry Cooper recruits her as his reluctant translator, the two of them stumble on a mysterious stash of art in a villa outside of town. Cooper’s penchant for breaking the rules capsizes Anna’s tenuous security and propels her into a search for elusive truth and justice in a world where everyone is hiding something.


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This was a wonderfully told story of post WWII Germany. If you have recently seen (or read) The Book Thief and The Monuments Men – this is like a combination of the two.  Throw in a little bit of mystery and you have a winner of a story.

The story focuses on Anna, her daughter Amalia, Captain Cooper and Oskar, a displaced child that was found in a villa where artwork was discovered. There are many other characters that add to the story – both good and bad – and create a setting that is fraught with lies, desire and hope.  The characters are no different than people you might already know in your life – some are honest, some are out to get whatever they can at the cost of anyone but themselves.

I felt that the author did a great job of providing the reader with an insight into what the German citizens went through at the end of WWII.  I would say it was probably very similar to what people experienced during the depression in the US.  It was also fascinating to read some history into a subject I am not familiar with.  I always enjoy learning something new and with The Monuments Man movie coming out, this continues that story and would be a great history lesson for everyone.  I know in the past, history was not one of my favorite subjects.  But as time has passed, I love learning new things about how we have gotten to where we are in the world.

I was surprised at some of Anna’s actions throughout the story.  While she started in the typing pool, she then started working for Captain Cooper as a translator.  Their big find was artwork in a villa, along with Oskar.  But as the story progressed, she would leave work, “borrow” a jeep and other actions that would get most people fired from a job.  Perhaps it was her growth as a woman and dealing with the reality that was handed to her and her desire to survive along with her daughter, Amalia.

We give this book 5 paws and highly recommend it!


About the author

Yetmen headshotCanan Yetmen began her career as an Editorial Assistant in the English department of Prestel Books in Munich, Germany, where she worked with editors and authors to facilitate publication of exhibition catalogues and artist monographs. She then worked as a freelance German translator and book researcher focusing on art history and architecture texts. While at Prestel and as a freelancer she worked on titles including Kandinsky, Watercolors and Drawings, edited by Vivian Barnett and Armin Zweite; Clyfford Still, edited by Thomas Kellein; and Architecture in Transition, edited by Peter Noever. She also completed bibliographical research for Keith Haring, edited by Germano Celant; and Josef Hoffman Designs, edited by Peter Noever; she was credited as a translator on Christo: The Reichstag and Urban Projects, edited by Jacob Baal-Teshuva.

Between 1994 and 2001 Canan was Associate Publisher and Publisher of Texas Architect magazine; she directed marketing and business management of the magazine as well as public outreach and communications efforts for the 5,000-member Texas Society of Architects (TSA). She was also responsible for the statewide TSA Design Awards program and TSA convention communications.

Her first book, The Owner’s Dilemma: Driving Success and Innovation in the Design and Construction Industry  co-written with Barbara White Bryson, was published by Ostberg Design Library in August 2010.  The Roses Underneath is her first novel.

Canan received her Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in German from the University of Texas. She has given presentations on architectural communications to the Texas Society of Architects Convention; AIA chapters in Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and Albuquerque; and the Lower Rio Grande Valley Regional Building Communities Conference. Her writing appears regularly in Texas Architect and Interiors Texas magazines and has been included in SMPS Marketer, Austin Home and Tribeza. She lives in Austin with her husband and daughter.

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