The novel On the Wings of Hope by Ella Zeiss is not easy to read. It’s not a novel to relax after a busy day. This novel will make you angry, cry, shake! It will make you think, to contemplate, to put yourself in the place of all those who are so masterfully presented through the pages of this novel.
The novel is divided into two parts, which follow the story of two families, two young people, the same hope and destiny during WW2. What a man can do to a man will shake you to the core. The tribute of war, which is most often paid by the innocent. Yes, both parts will equally awaken a spectrum of emotions in you. In the first part, you read about young Yvo and Harry, innocent children who were forced to grow up far too soon, to fight with all their might to survive each day. It will hurt your soul as you read how families are torn apart, children are snatched from their mothers’ arms, exhausted people cry for a piece of bread, a piece of hope that they can open their eyes the next morning. Accepting the destiny you see is too painful for you to be able to accept it, and hope is too small to expect a better tomorrow. And how can you find hope in those camps, where death is simply palpable, where the value of the human being is reduced to just an ordinary number, the labor force needed to serve the purpose.
In the second part, your heart will ache as you watch these people try to collect the pieces and continue to live. How they look forward to small things, a roll of raisins, a mattress with straw, the opportunity to stand and enjoy the warmth of the sun. But the tax is still here, and it must be paid, regardless of whether it is deserved or not. And we see how a tender love develops, love as a hope for the future, a love that is enough to heal their wounds and make you continue to fight …
And after you finish the last page, you sit in the darkness and think about all those who simply perished without a trace in the flames of war, no matter whether at the front or behind it. You look at the characters in front of you, and you try to understand the greatness of their will to live, to survive. You will think about them long after the last page is over and you will feel grateful for the roof over your head and the food on the table.