By: Naomi Musch
Publisher: Barbour Publishing
Publication Date: June 2022
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: June 27, 2022
Naomi Musch’s shines a bright light on character Fannie O’Brien, a woman of substance in Season of My Enemy, the latest book in her Heroines of WWII series.
Barely a year ago Fannie O’Brien’s hopes and dreams for her future were promising despite the war that raged on in Europe. It’s 1944 and with the sudden passing of her father and two older brothers currently fighting the war overseas, she finds herself taking the lead and doing most of the men’s work on their 200-acre farm nestled in the beautiful countryside of Wisconsin. It was difficult to find help with the harvest. The men were either too young or too old given the heartiest were away at war. Imagine Fannie’s shock when her mother informs her and her younger brother and sister that she has a solution for additional help on the farm.
When Fannie and her younger brother Jerry take a break from the fields for lunch, their mother has an announcement. There are German prisoners on American soil who are more than able to lend a helping hand on the O’Brien farm. Granted, they come equipped with armed guards, but that doesn’t assuage Fannie’s resistance to allowing the ‘enemy’ on her family’s farm. The fact her two older brothers are in Germany fighting the egregious war only manages to fuel her dissent further. Sometimes things aren’t as they seem and when the reality hits that the prisoners will assist with the harvest, the turn of events in the days to come are moments even Fannie couldn’t fathom would have happened.
Naomi Musch has an obvious knack for blending history with a storyline that has wonderful flow. Her characters are rich and her ability to stage a scene that fits perfectly with the moment in time is exceptional: "Fannie O’Brien stepped inside through the back porch screen door. It clattered shut against a sinking sun that cast long, dripping gold rays across the turned black earth in the western field..." I have an admiration for a writer who can instantly transport his/her audience to a period that enables them to sense the mood as much as envision the scene. The era surrounding WWII is layered with a vast array of topics to write. The perspective of the women having to tend to the rich farmlands while the men went off to war is the theme of this story. Ms. Musch richly depicts the tenacity and perseverance through the development of her character Fannie O’Brien. She paints the soft side as well as the strength and forbearance Fannie must embrace to hold onto the O’Brien family’s legacy. Well done Ms. Musch; a fulfilling and enjoyable read.
Quill says: Season of My Enemy is a terrific portrayal of the convictions and fortitude of a women who shuns the notion of ever bowing down to a challenge.