The Moon Looked Down
Grand Central, Jul 2009, $19.99
The Heller family fled Germany for America. They settled in Victory, Illinois where they were welcomed by their new American neighbors.
A decade later, the neighbors some of whom befriended the family a decade ago when they moved here and remained friends throughout suddenly think they are German sympathizers. Angry over the growing threat to her family, twenty years old Sophie Heller wants it to end, but cannot figure out how to do so as vigilantes harass her and her loved ones because of their German heritage. A train wreck occurs nearby leading to many neighbors suspecting the Heller brood as Nazi saboteurs. When Sophie meets schoolteacher Cole Ambrose they are attracted to one another. He understands hatred as he has received his share for not serving though his leg kept him out of the military. Now the locals have a new cause, keeping the couple apart.
This is a warm WWII on the home-front romance starring two likable lead characters. The support cast especially the anti-German antagonists are super with what today would be hate crimes; they make the tale fun to read. Although the psychological impact on the Heller family and the mob mentality of much of the townsfolk towards German immigrants they have known for years is shallowly explored leaving THE MOON LOOKED DOWN as a gripping historical worth reading that could have been a classic.