It’s 1944. Sauli Berglund watches from the edge of his property as ninety-six German POWs arrive at a work camp on Big Bear Lake. These young German soldiers, so full of life, so healthy, so very safe. And they would remain so. He watched them dodge no bullets. He watched them wipe no blood from their hands. He watched the tears they wouldn’t shed for the friends who wouldn’t die in their arms. More
Here, they were an ocean away from the battle. Here, they ate hot food every day. Here, they enjoyed their lives in the very place Sauli had raised his children. His mind sees a little boy, Ronnie, laughing, jumping off the dock into the cool water. “Ronald Berglund, Lieutenant, U.S.Navy,” the telegram had read. “Missing in action.”
Three more telegrams will find the Berglund family before the war is over, but Sauli doesn’t know that yet. Nor does he know that Anni, his fiery daughter, will fall in love with a German POW or that someone close to the Berglunds will fan the flames of intolerance that threaten to engulf the community and harm Sauli’s family. What Sauli does know is that on the home front, in the Suomi Hills, there are no lengths to which he will not go to protect his family. Wars are not always fought on the battlefield; the combatants are not always soldiers. And telegrams are not always bad news.