POVone: The First Person Perspective

Rants and Reviews on Novels Written in the First Person Point of View

Book Review: Under the Same Blue Sky by Pamela Schoenewaldt

Author: Pamela Schoenewaldt
Title: Under the Same Blue Sky
Genre: Historical; Literary
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Number of Pages: 352
Narrator: Hazel Renner
Quality Rating: TBD

Under the Same Blue Sky by Pam Schoenewaldt

What’s It About?

Hazel Renner is the daughter of German immigrants, living in Pittsburgh at the onset of the first World War. As she grows, her family realizes that she possesses a miraculous gift of healing. Although she denies the ability and brushes it off as coincidence, her parents believe she is destined to become a doctor.

As the war breaks out and lines are drawn, German-Americans fall under scrutiny. Hazel’s family becomes increasingly torn between their new home and their heritage across the sea. To escape the chaos of the discrimination in the city, Hazel tries to find solace working as a teacher in a small town miles away. When the situation doesn’t work out, she goes off in search of the truth about her past–hidden from her as a child.

Hazel ends up working for a baron in a castle. The baron, also a German immigrant, feels the same tensions from the war as the rest of her family. In the castle, Hazel finds love in a man she remembers vaguely from her childhood. As the story progresses, the problems of the war raging across the sea manifest themselves in Hazel’s everyday life. As Hazel loses more and more to the war, she clings to the hope of having something left of herself as it draws to an end.

Should You Read It?

If you like historical fiction of the World War 1 era, you might enjoy this story. The focus is less about the war than it is about its effects on civilians. In particular, the racial discrimination that arises during wars between nations is a prevalent theme throughout. The gift of healing possessed by Hazel is not a significant plot point and serves more as a symbol regarding the brokenness of war. The story and its tone reminded me a lot of Jane Eyre. It’s essentially about a woman’s struggle to grapple with circumstances that are beyond her control. If that sounds interesting to you, you might find this to be a moving story.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Magical Realism, Peeking Between the Pages

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Pamela Schoenewaldt: Swimming in the Moon (2013), When We Were Strangers (2011)


3 responses to “Book Review: Under the Same Blue Sky by Pamela Schoenewaldt

  1. Pamela Schoenewaldt May 26, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Douglas, thank you for reviewing my book. I appreciate your time and commentary. Pamela Schoenewaldt


    • Douglas E Rice May 26, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      Thanks for the comment! I try to be neutral in my reviews–just telling readers what the book is about and whether or not they might like it based on the kinds of books they like to read. But, here in the comments section, I guess it’s okay to let a little bias slip through. I loved it! It’s amazing how issues (the tension bewteen ethnic heritage and American nationalism) from 100 years ago are still so prevalent today.


      • Pamela Schoenewaldt May 26, 2015 at 9:53 pm

        Yes, very prevalent. I live in the south (E Tennessee) and it’s almost as if suddenly the Methodist turned against the Baptist. German Americans had been at once so able to express their heritage and so infused in American life and then suddenly, bang, they are the enemy. I discovered recently that hundreds of patents in fields far from military that had been taken out by Americans with German heritage were simply confiscated and distributed like Easter candy to “real American” companies.

        Liked by 1 person

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