The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker is a passionate, elegantly written (maybe the most beautiful prose I have ever read), historical novel about amazing hope, redemption, and one man’s quest for enlightenment during the darkest times of World War II.
The setting is Germany. The time is 1942. The protagonist is Franciscan friar Anton Starzmann. The story finds Anton torn from his place in the world when his school is seized by the Nazis. He relocates to a small German hamlet.
The purpose of the move is a marriage of convenience. Anton needs a place to live. He weds Elisabeth Herter, a widow. She desires a marriage in name only to a man who can help support her and her three children. Anton seeks the union as a way to amend failing to shield his young students from the madness of the Nazis.
Neither Anton nor Elisabeth foresees their lives to be shaken once again by the inescapable rumble of war.
As Anton struggles to adjust to the roles of husband and father, he hears of the Red Orchestra. It is an underground network of militants plotting to assassinate Hitler.
While Elisabeth has reservations, Anton joins this army of shadows. As the SS discovers his schemes, Anton begins a final act of resistance that may cost him his life. He realizes his defiance to Hitler, the SS, and Nazis could cost him the new family he has come to love more than he ever thought imaginable.
The Ragged Edge of Night is the best book I read in 2018 and in years. Olivia Hawker has crafted a masterpiece for the ages.