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“It was very dangerous for him, and he knew it. But his love for me was stronger than fear.” - Ilse Stein This novel is based on the inspiring and moving love story of Ilse Stein, a German Jew, and Willy Schultz, a Luftwaffe Captain in the Minsk ghetto, who risked his life to save the one he loved the most. When the last of the Jews’ rights are stripped in 1941, Ilse’s f “It was very dangerous for him, and he knew it. But his love for me was stronger than fear.” - Ilse Stein This novel is based on the inspiring and moving love story of Ilse Stein, a German Jew, and Willy Schultz, a Luftwaffe Captain in the Minsk ghetto, who risked his life to save the one he loved the most. When the last of the Jews’ rights are stripped in 1941, Ilse’s family is deported to a Minsk ghetto. Confined to a Sonderghetto and unable to speak the locals’ language, Ilse struggles to support the surviving members of her family. Befriended by a local underground member Rivka, Ilse partakes in small acts of resistance and sabotage to help her fellow Jews escape to the partisans. A few months later, after losing almost his entire brigade of workers to one of the bloodiest massacres conducted by the SS, a local administrative officer Willy Schultz summons the survivors to form a new brigade. Ilse’s good looks immediately catch his eye, and he makes her a leader of the new unit and later, an office worker. Soon, an unlikely romance blossoms amid death and gore, moving a Nazi officer to go to great risks to protect not only Ilse but as many others as possible and allowing a Jewish girl to open her heart to the former enemy. Knowing that the ghetto would soon be liquidated, Willy Schultz swears to save Ilse, even if the cost would be his own life. “We live together, or we die together,” - an ultimate oath of love in the most harrowing setting. Dark, haunting, but full of hope, “No Woman’s Land” is a testament to the love that is stronger than fear and death itself.


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“It was very dangerous for him, and he knew it. But his love for me was stronger than fear.” - Ilse Stein This novel is based on the inspiring and moving love story of Ilse Stein, a German Jew, and Willy Schultz, a Luftwaffe Captain in the Minsk ghetto, who risked his life to save the one he loved the most. When the last of the Jews’ rights are stripped in 1941, Ilse’s f “It was very dangerous for him, and he knew it. But his love for me was stronger than fear.” - Ilse Stein This novel is based on the inspiring and moving love story of Ilse Stein, a German Jew, and Willy Schultz, a Luftwaffe Captain in the Minsk ghetto, who risked his life to save the one he loved the most. When the last of the Jews’ rights are stripped in 1941, Ilse’s family is deported to a Minsk ghetto. Confined to a Sonderghetto and unable to speak the locals’ language, Ilse struggles to support the surviving members of her family. Befriended by a local underground member Rivka, Ilse partakes in small acts of resistance and sabotage to help her fellow Jews escape to the partisans. A few months later, after losing almost his entire brigade of workers to one of the bloodiest massacres conducted by the SS, a local administrative officer Willy Schultz summons the survivors to form a new brigade. Ilse’s good looks immediately catch his eye, and he makes her a leader of the new unit and later, an office worker. Soon, an unlikely romance blossoms amid death and gore, moving a Nazi officer to go to great risks to protect not only Ilse but as many others as possible and allowing a Jewish girl to open her heart to the former enemy. Knowing that the ghetto would soon be liquidated, Willy Schultz swears to save Ilse, even if the cost would be his own life. “We live together, or we die together,” - an ultimate oath of love in the most harrowing setting. Dark, haunting, but full of hope, “No Woman’s Land” is a testament to the love that is stronger than fear and death itself.

30 review for No Woman's Land

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amy Bruno

    "We live together, or we die together" Oh, my heart! No Woman's Land was another stellar historical from Ellie Midwood, who is fast becoming my go-to for WWII and Holocaust novels. This lady brings the past to life like no other - the good, the bad, and everything in between! What endeared me most to this novel is that it's based on a true story of a Luftwaffe Officer that fell in love with a German Jew amidst the violence and terror at a Minsk ghetto. How one can find love in such a horrifying pl "We live together, or we die together" Oh, my heart! No Woman's Land was another stellar historical from Ellie Midwood, who is fast becoming my go-to for WWII and Holocaust novels. This lady brings the past to life like no other - the good, the bad, and everything in between! What endeared me most to this novel is that it's based on a true story of a Luftwaffe Officer that fell in love with a German Jew amidst the violence and terror at a Minsk ghetto. How one can find love in such a horrifying place it's hard to fathom, but I think this quote from Ilse explains it perfectly: "It can be my corpse that a black SS boot shoves into a new pit tomorrow and I want to die a woman who's known love at least for a few stolen moments." Midwood is a wonder with words - I am so in love with her writing. You can feel the love between Ilse and Willy explode off the pages and as a reader you root for them to make it. I cried quite a few times while reading this, so have tissues at the ready! And her descriptions of life in the ghetto and the daily struggle to survive was real and visceral. "...yet, he courted me instead as though it was not wartime, as though I didn't owe my very life to him, as though it wasn't me, who was the helpless side in all of this twisted equation." No Woman's Land was a beautiful, chilling, terrifying, and hopeful. I loved every second I spent with this book and cannot wait for more from Ellie Midwood!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    This is a new to me author!! I love this author's works and how she doesn't beat around the bush for this book!! This is after all, a story on the Holocaust and it's unusual love story. But, while you are reading this book this author offers hope, love, trust ( even though that is hard to do in times like the Holocaust) and keeping the Faith no matter what happens!! This is a very emotional read and I highly suggest a box of tissues beside you! I like how this author can draw you into the book wit This is a new to me author!! I love this author's works and how she doesn't beat around the bush for this book!! This is after all, a story on the Holocaust and it's unusual love story. But, while you are reading this book this author offers hope, love, trust ( even though that is hard to do in times like the Holocaust) and keeping the Faith no matter what happens!! This is a very emotional read and I highly suggest a box of tissues beside you! I like how this author can draw you into the book without you even realizing it. I could even picture the characters and feel their emotions in this book while trying to struggle to survive! War is a terrible thing!! It makes people do things that they normally wouldn't do. Overall, great story, wonderful characters, and an author that knows how to deliver the truth while mixing a little fiction in with it. We shouldn't ever forget or try to hide anything about the Holocaust. I feel it's to be remembered and maybe even learned from. I couldn't find anything I didn't like about it and of course the cover of the book tells the story in itself. I strongly recommend this book if you want to learn more about the Holocaust I will say, that I learned a lot of things that the history teachers in school didn't teach you. If you're not a history buff by the time you finish this story, you will be unless I miss my guess of course!! But, I don't think so lol!! My thanks to the publisher. No compensations were received and all opinions are my own!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    What Ellie Midwood has done with one of humanity’s most painful times is turn the hopeless horrors of the Nazi war machine against the Jews into a tale of hope, and the power of love against all odds. NO WOMAN’S LAND is a difficult read emotionally, between the slaughter of humans and the overall feeling of a grey and heavy atmosphere, a ray of forbidden light pierces through when a young Jewish teen finds an unlikely protector among the German soldiers, a man with enough power to shield her from What Ellie Midwood has done with one of humanity’s most painful times is turn the hopeless horrors of the Nazi war machine against the Jews into a tale of hope, and the power of love against all odds. NO WOMAN’S LAND is a difficult read emotionally, between the slaughter of humans and the overall feeling of a grey and heavy atmosphere, a ray of forbidden light pierces through when a young Jewish teen finds an unlikely protector among the German soldiers, a man with enough power to shield her from death, and to give her a love that knows no bounds, no matter the risk to himself and to give her hope for the future. What sold me on this incredibly moving read was learning that Ms. Midwood took an actual piece of history and fictionalized it without straying far from the truth of these two lovers. It changed every word I read for me and proved the power of love, belief and trust can be forces to be reckoned with. This is how history should be told. It should feel personal, because history is about more than action scenes, land or conquest, it is about people and heart and bravery against all odds. While there is death and inconceivably inhumane events, this is in the end, a story of life and love and a bond forged against all odds. Publication Date: May 31, 2019 Publisher: Ellie Midwood Genre: Historical Fiction Print Length: 277 pages Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah 🌺 Books in Their Natural Habitat

    No Woman’s Land is one of the few books that have left me reeling for days. Talk about having a book hangover! I have read historical fiction books primarily around the World War II setting since I was in the third grade so to say the least, I’ve read a LOT of WWII books. There are so many perspectives of that time period to explore. The bravery, internal struggle and historical accuracy are what I find keep me reading more about WWII and are also telling signs of an outstanding book… all things No Woman’s Land is one of the few books that have left me reeling for days. Talk about having a book hangover! I have read historical fiction books primarily around the World War II setting since I was in the third grade so to say the least, I’ve read a LOT of WWII books. There are so many perspectives of that time period to explore. The bravery, internal struggle and historical accuracy are what I find keep me reading more about WWII and are also telling signs of an outstanding book… all things I would attribute to No Woman’s Land. This book, for me, was on the level of reading Night by Elie Wiesel. Reading this book catapulted me to being in the camp with Ilse. You could feel the unspoken thoughts between herself and Willy before it was even really recognized as if you were watching two of your friends fall in love in real life. You held your breath when there were orders to downsize the camp or people stuck their necks out to improve the lives of others. I smiled, I sighed of relief, I held my breath, I cried. This book gave me all the feels and chills. Hands down, a five star must-read of 2019. Thank you to HFVBT and Ellie Midwood for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this amazing book!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jenni

    “Yes, let them kill me tomorrow; tomorrow, I will gladly die by their hand as long as they let me have today-here, with him.” This novel is inspired by the true events and love between Ilse Stein , a German Jew, and Willy Schultz, a Luftwaffe Lieutenant in the Minsk ghetto, who despite all risk it posed to his own life, does all he can to save the life of the woman he loves. In 1940 Germany's Jews have already begun feeling the clutches of hatred tighten around their otherwise peaceful existence. “Yes, let them kill me tomorrow; tomorrow, I will gladly die by their hand as long as they let me have today-here, with him.” This novel is inspired by the true events and love between Ilse Stein , a German Jew, and Willy Schultz, a Luftwaffe Lieutenant in the Minsk ghetto, who despite all risk it posed to his own life, does all he can to save the life of the woman he loves. In 1940 Germany's Jews have already begun feeling the clutches of hatred tighten around their otherwise peaceful existence. Isle Stein is sixteen years old, She spends her time working at a factory in Frankfurt producing parachutes for Germany's Luftwaffe and dreaming of a normal life; where curfews and seeing the latest romantic films at the cinema are not imposed or forbidden just for being a Jew. She has know idea how bad it could actually get for her and her family and by 1941 all semblance of humanity is taken from them and they soon are grappling with histories most unfathomable events. Ilse and her family are stripped of their citizenship, forced to relinquish all property, and are labeled enemies of the German government. Ilse along with her parents and sisters are deported to Byelorussia's Minsk ghetto. Its here, surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards; amongst the ashes of death and destruction, that Ilse and Willy fall in love. “I wasn't afraid of him any longer and neither did I resent him solely for wearing that hateful uniform. For the first time, I saw a man behind it; a man, who was genuinely trying to help and had not the faintest idea how. That tiny sliver of humanity, the madly exhilarating feeling of being treated like a person and not something worthless and temporary that would be disposed of, filled my soul better than any bread would fill my stomach.” “NO Woman's Land” elevates love as a powerful force that transcends even the most darkest places. Within the pages of this book, the author has penned a heartbreaking love story against the backdrop of devastating tyranny and despair, filled with wonderful acts of decency and normalcy even in the midst of such horrific and disturbing descriptions of forced labor and life within the ghetto. The incredible acts of kindness and resistance stands as the ultimate lesson in humanity, hope and love. Truly, “No Woman's Land” is beautiful and moving, hauntingly detailed, and ultimately uplifting. Ilse and Willy's love for one another is a testament that despite the evil that exists, there is still moments of indescribable kindness and compassion , courage and selflessness proving love can overcome and triumph despite the evil and hatred that exists. I loved the ending! It's heartwarming, lovely and full of hope. The extraordinary love that existed between Ilse and Willy, and the uncompromising courage made by so many is one that Ellie Midwood has proven herself worthy of telling.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kellie Butler

    ‘Historical Fiction at Its Finest’ There is historical fiction, and then there’s Ellie Midwood. No Woman’s Land is a superb novel that brings the Minsk Ghetto to life in all of its harsh cruelty with a sense of hope and grace. Reading a story of the dour conditions of the Holocaust can be difficult on a reader, but Ms. Midwood has crafted a powerful story of the meaning of loyalty, friendship, and love in the bitterest of conditions. One can’t help but cheer on ghetto occupants Ilse , Rivka, and ‘Historical Fiction at Its Finest’ There is historical fiction, and then there’s Ellie Midwood. No Woman’s Land is a superb novel that brings the Minsk Ghetto to life in all of its harsh cruelty with a sense of hope and grace. Reading a story of the dour conditions of the Holocaust can be difficult on a reader, but Ms. Midwood has crafted a powerful story of the meaning of loyalty, friendship, and love in the bitterest of conditions. One can’t help but cheer on ghetto occupants Ilse , Rivka, and Liza as they navigate the treacherous dog eat dog world of the ghetto while still holding on to the ultimate thing that keeps them alive: love. Although these three women, and others in the ghetto, come from diverging backgrounds, they form a solidarity as they keep each other together and the hope for freedom alive. Through this narrative, they discover the only thing that keeps one alive is love during the harshest of conditions. I appreciate Ilse Stein's character arc as we meet her as a timid, sheltered Jewish girl who arrives in Minsk after she and her sisters are resettled into the ghettos. There she meets women like Rivka and Liza, savvy leaders who lost husbands as the winds of war rage over the eastern front. Isle learns just how strong she is as she vows to survive and keep her sisters safe. Although disillusioned and jaded, she learns to trust as she meets Willy Schultz, an officer in the Luftwaffe who befriends her. Their love story is sweet, tender, and real as they let their guards down while coming to terms with being from opposing sides. This book left me wanting to know more of what becomes of Ilse, Willy, Liza, and all of their friends after the book ended, especially because these people existed during World War II. Highly recommended.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Allen M Werner

    I've been a fan of Ellie Midwood's books for a few years now.  Her dedication to the craft of writing and her ability to research and unearth interesting forgotten tales from World War 2, and present them as entertaining, educational fiction, is first rate. No Woman's Land: A Holocaust Novel is a must read. Ilse Stein is a young teen with all the hopes and dreams of any other teenage girl when Hitler's Germany begins its reign of terror, oppression's increasing, the curfews growing stricter, the S I've been a fan of Ellie Midwood's books for a few years now.  Her dedication to the craft of writing and her ability to research and unearth interesting forgotten tales from World War 2, and present them as entertaining, educational fiction, is first rate. No Woman's Land: A Holocaust Novel is a must read. Ilse Stein is a young teen with all the hopes and dreams of any other teenage girl when Hitler's Germany begins its reign of terror, oppression's increasing, the curfews growing stricter, the SA trashing shops and denouncing anyone who buys from Jews.  Ilse's family eventually moves to Frankfurt where she finds work in a factory with her older sister, Lily. Then came the knock on the door.  Men from the Reich Central Office for Jewish Resettlement orders them to pack and leave for Minsk in Byelorussia.  Each member of the family are forced to sign a document for these men admitting to being an enemy of the German government and therefore relinquishing their rights to all the property and possessions they leave behind. As stateless people, they board a train and two days later, her father falls ill and dies.  "I traveled with his dead body for several hours.  His head was still warm when they threw him out in the snow." Arriving in Minsk in November, 1941, the three girls lose their mother. "Rough, gloved hands were pulling us apart, separating families into mortified, shrieking entities... I lost the frail hand of my Mutti in the ashen air... I called for her in anguish but my voice was drowned in the ocean of others."  Ilse later learned her mother died in a gas van. In the Minsk Ghetto, the German Jews are kept separate from the Russian Jews by wire. Orders came down from Hitler's headquarters that no skilled workers are "to be harmed, as they were essential for the war effort." The young girls then experience for the first time an execution as twenty-six Jews are lined up and shot for one who ran away. I can't emphasize enough how masterful the author's storytelling is.  The characters are real, with depth, strengths and weaknesses, courage and despair.  The reader is right there in the middle of their misery, in the heat and in the cold, in the hunger and in the loss - and yet Ilse keeps discovering new ways to have hope, ways to keep her and her sisters alive. Speaking Yiddish, the German Jews learn they can communicate with the Russian Jews on the other side of the wire.  Slowly they make friends and learn the only way to survive this war is to steal, smuggle and trade. Ilse becomes aware of various factions within the German military structure and how certain entities like the SS are not as protective of the skilled workers as those who must operate the factories. After a mass execution of over 5000 skilled workers by the SS, the German Jews press forward to be chosen to fill the empty slots, noting "it was only women they wanted." Speaking up, Ilse is singled out, by Leutnant Willy Schultz.  He places her in charge of his new brigade of workers. Willy Schultz is an unhappily married, failed pilot, reassigned to run this fledgling office in Minsk.  He is friendly, polite and enamored by Ilse but doesn't take advantage of her.  He does his best to help her and her sisters stay safe, providing Ilse with passes and rations, eventually bringing her to his government office to type official documents although she is no typist. And then, as the horrors of the war and the behavior of the Gestapo press in on both of them, Willy decides he is in love with Ilse and wants to be with her no matter what.  He even turns down a new promotion that would take him away from her. And then comes the dreadful SS Aktionen on orders to liquidate all the Ghettos in occupied Eastern territories. Willy Schultz risks everything, leading Ilse's brigade of workers, and her sisters, down into the basement of a place where he believes they won't be discovered. "The order of the executive action was given to the heads of the Einsatzgruppen by Reichsfuhrer Himmler himself... All women, children, the sick, and the elderly are subjects for immediate execution." For four days they sleep in the cellar. After the liquidation is complete, Willy and Ilse bring the brigade back out in the light and tell them to go back to work as if nothing happened.  When the SS pokes its nose back into his business, Willy talks his way out of it but the brigade is sent into the ghetto to clean up the mess and the bodies of their friends and families who weren't hidden and protected.  "We lined them all up along the road regardless - the stiff and the bloated, the young and the elderly, the men and the women, until the streets were full of them." Pressure from above and beside Willy, urge him to quit protecting these Jews and this girl.  People are taking an interest in his behavior and he could lose his life. Willy can't take it anymore.  Ilse has trusted him with names, with activities of partisans in the camp and in the woods.  He helps the Jews collect the proper documentation and information to make their escape - an escape he plans to make with them. The most amazing part of 'No Woman's Land' is the fact that most of it is based on a true story.  Ilse Stein and Willy Schultz were real people who met in Minsk in 1942 after his "brigade was killed by the SS during the Purim massacre." This is an amazing tale of courage and love in the face of evil and death.  I highly recommend this book.  You won't forget it once you've read it.  It is powerful historical fiction that literally bleeds off the page and becomes a part of you.  5 stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bill Ward

    Another great book from one of my favourite authors. I expected this book to be difficult to read given the main characters are Jewish and this is described as a Holocaust novel. However, I was surprisingly uplifted by the story. The author doesn't hide the barbaric crimes perpetuated against the Jewish people in the concentration camp but this is a love story and leaves you with a feeling of hope that love can conquer all obstacles. It is also a page turner as you become desperate to learn the Another great book from one of my favourite authors. I expected this book to be difficult to read given the main characters are Jewish and this is described as a Holocaust novel. However, I was surprisingly uplifted by the story. The author doesn't hide the barbaric crimes perpetuated against the Jewish people in the concentration camp but this is a love story and leaves you with a feeling of hope that love can conquer all obstacles. It is also a page turner as you become desperate to learn the outcome for our lovers and fear the worst. An emotional read, I was surprised to find it is based on a true story, which left me even more moved. Highly recommended!!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Viga Boland

    When you flunk high school history, it’s a sure sign history isn’t your thing. But then, along comes an incredible book like No Woman’s Land, a novel based on the Holocaust by Ellie Midwood, and even a non-history fan like me is unable to put it down. Midwood has succeeded where all my history teachers failed: she grabbed my attention and held it for 277 pages as she shared the love story of two people who were never supposed to love each other: Ilse Stern, a German Jew and Willy Schultz, a Luft When you flunk high school history, it’s a sure sign history isn’t your thing. But then, along comes an incredible book like No Woman’s Land, a novel based on the Holocaust by Ellie Midwood, and even a non-history fan like me is unable to put it down. Midwood has succeeded where all my history teachers failed: she grabbed my attention and held it for 277 pages as she shared the love story of two people who were never supposed to love each other: Ilse Stern, a German Jew and Willy Schultz, a Luftwaffe Captain. And yes, these two people did exist and those are their real names. Several of the other characters named in No Woman’s Land also existed. But while the beautifully delivered love story was as touching as it gets, it was Midwood’s riveting descriptions of the inhumanity of the SS to the German and Russian Jews that made me choke up. Sure, I’ve seen plenty of documentaries and films based on that horrible time in history, but somehow, Midwood’s graphic details shocked me more. Perhaps it was because she helped us “see” the actual abuse and slaughter through Ilse’s eyes. As a reader, I felt I was watching the nearly frozen Jewish women lugging wood to heat the German officers’ offices. I could better see that German officer who liked children tossing them candies in the death pits while they waited to be massacred. And I could better feel Ilse’s own hopelessness as she and her suffering women friends faced each new day wondering if this was their last. What a horrid way to live month after month for no reason other than you are a Jew. Haunting and mind-blowing! If stories about the Holocaust are on your bucket list, make sure you add No Woman’s Land to it immediately. Ellie Midwood has thoroughly researched her subject and characters to bring truth into fiction. She has written other books on this subject and after reading this, I know why she is a “USA best selling and award-winning historical fiction author”. This lady knows how to deliver an unforgettable and haunting novel based on reality. 5 stars! ©Viga Boland, author and book reviewer http://www.vigaboland.com

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shirley McAllister

    A Nazi concentration camp is an unlikely place for two people to find love, however , more unlikely is the love between a Nazi officer and a Jewish girl. This is the story of Willie and Ilse. Willie is a reluctant Nazi in that he does not believe in the murdering of the Jewish people and abhors the SS in their terror tactics. He falls in love with Ilse and protects her, her two sisters Lilly and Lori and his 200 Jewish women workers under his command from being slaughtered by the SS. Their love s A Nazi concentration camp is an unlikely place for two people to find love, however , more unlikely is the love between a Nazi officer and a Jewish girl. This is the story of Willie and Ilse. Willie is a reluctant Nazi in that he does not believe in the murdering of the Jewish people and abhors the SS in their terror tactics. He falls in love with Ilse and protects her, her two sisters Lilly and Lori and his 200 Jewish women workers under his command from being slaughtered by the SS. Their love story, survival and escape is contained in this book. Lizzie a communist and soviet Jew is one of the main characters with the partisan group smuggling out prisoners 5 at a time to join the partisan's in the forest. The book is very well written, the characters are human and believable good and bad. The situation is sad and tragic but it is a story that needs to be told and remembered. My heart hurt at times....and a few tears fell especially when reading about the children and the pit. Even with such horrible events taking place there are so many good human qualities that the good mixes with the bad and one does know that humanity still existed. This book needs to be read I would highly recommend it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carissa Lynch

    No Woman's Land is Midwood's best novel to date - I've said that before but I mean it: the writing is gorgeous, the story is atmospheric, and the characters feel so real, like I could reach out and touch them ... and as usual, Midwood's story has that "it-factor" that just sucks you right into the story from page one ... This is the ultimate love story, and it comes with the heaviest price and the highest stakes. "We live together, or we die together..." Oh, be still my heart! This was an emotio No Woman's Land is Midwood's best novel to date - I've said that before but I mean it: the writing is gorgeous, the story is atmospheric, and the characters feel so real, like I could reach out and touch them ... and as usual, Midwood's story has that "it-factor" that just sucks you right into the story from page one ... This is the ultimate love story, and it comes with the heaviest price and the highest stakes. "We live together, or we die together..." Oh, be still my heart! This was an emotional story to follow, but I loved every minute of it. Midwood presents a story rich in history and accuracy, but at the same time, it's so full of life and never boring ... I loved Illse and I admired her strength. Willy was your ultimate protector and I fell in love with him, just as she did ... You don't want to miss this genre-bending, romantic, thrilling tale based on true historical events! Midwood weaved this story together masterfully! Highly recommend it. Five huge stars!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kayla Krantz

    “I didn’t want romance. I only wanted a normal life.” I don’t think I could give this story enough praise! Rich with historical accuracy and vivid emotions, this is a love story for the ages. With beautiful writing, Miss Midwood is able to create an atmosphere in her story that is both tragic and compelling. The characters are very real which makes the story even harder to put down. Set in the era of World War II, the main character of this story is sent to live in a Minsk Ghetto. Life is hard and “I didn’t want romance. I only wanted a normal life.” I don’t think I could give this story enough praise! Rich with historical accuracy and vivid emotions, this is a love story for the ages. With beautiful writing, Miss Midwood is able to create an atmosphere in her story that is both tragic and compelling. The characters are very real which makes the story even harder to put down. Set in the era of World War II, the main character of this story is sent to live in a Minsk Ghetto. Life is hard and death seems to be around every corner. What she doesn’t expect though is despite all the darkness there is still love and hope waiting to be experienced.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Polly Krize

    I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Ellie Midwood is a new author to me, but I will definitely be searching out some of her other writing. The love between a German Jew and a Luftwaffe captain is poignantly explored, bringing all of the heartache that is expected during the Nazi regime. Haunting, and recommended. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Ellie Midwood is a new author to me, but I will definitely be searching out some of her other writing. The love between a German Jew and a Luftwaffe captain is poignantly explored, bringing all of the heartache that is expected during the Nazi regime. Haunting, and recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Allegretto

    Ellie Midwood has penned a beautiful, well-written, well-researched World War 2 drama. Her meticulous attention to detail is evident in her portrayal of the horrors and hardships: emotional and physical, suffered by the pragmatic and likeable protagonist. Ms. Midwood’s writing style and clever use of metaphors are to be applauded. What makes this exceptional story even more compelling is that it is based on real people. Highly recommended.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Ilse Stein and her family are Germans in 1941. That is, until the rights of the German Jews are stripped, leaving them without land, without a home. Ilse and her sisters are transported to the Minsk Ghetto. The trip was difficult and they are left with nothing in the Minsk winter. Determined that her and her sister will survive, Ilse works diligently at the tasks given to her by the people who took everything away. While in the Ghetto Ilse befriends Rivka, a member of the underground resistance. Ilse Stein and her family are Germans in 1941. That is, until the rights of the German Jews are stripped, leaving them without land, without a home. Ilse and her sisters are transported to the Minsk Ghetto. The trip was difficult and they are left with nothing in the Minsk winter. Determined that her and her sister will survive, Ilse works diligently at the tasks given to her by the people who took everything away. While in the Ghetto Ilse befriends Rivka, a member of the underground resistance. Ilse begins to take part in small acts of resistance to help their survival. However, after a massacre of most of their work group performed by the SS, hope seems lost. A Luftwaffe officer, Willy Shultz takes over the group and shows favor toward Ilse. Willy does everything he can to keep them together and offers Ilse food and clothing to take back to the girls. As Ilse and Willy spend time together, their affection grows. However, the situation they are in has tremendous consequences for their emotions. Ilse and Willy must find out how to navigate much more than their feelings for each other as the war rages on and their futures become unclear. Based on a true story, No Woman's Land is an emotional historical romance. Right from the beginning, the slow spread of hate and anti-Antisemitism is shown through Ilse's eyes. The writing shows the gradual but deliberate spread of hate and how easily it caught on and and became normalized to make an entire people were made to feel less than others and eventually kill them off. Unfortunately, this is still a good lesson for today. As Ilse watches what is happening around her, she is upset at being treated differently, but feels thankful at times that she isn't treated as poorly as other Jews. Once Ilse and her family were moved out of their homes, the writing very accurately portrayed what people went through in transport and in the Ghetto. The pogroms in the Ghettos were bloody, violent and senseless. Ilse, Willy and Rivka showed tremendous strength and hope through the worst of times. I was fascinated to learn about the amazing members of the Resistance within the Ghetto and the surrounding towns as well as the German soldiers who used their power to help where they could. Ilse and Willy's love grew gradually in the darkest of times and in the sweetest of ways; the effortless writing conveyed the magnitude of the many emotions seamlessly. Overall, No Woman's Land is an astounding story of hope, bravery, resistance, resilience and love. This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    S.R. Mallery

    ***** The Kind of Bravery Not Always Talked About Meticulously based on real facts, events, and characters, this fast became one of my favorites among Midwood’s novels. Starting out in 1943 and the spoken words, “We live together or we die together,” we get just a hint of a couple’s devotion, but don’t know who they are, how they came together, or what that powerful statement means. Instantly, I wanted to find out more. Three years earlier, in 1940, we learn of Ilse Stein, a Jewish girl, living ***** The Kind of Bravery Not Always Talked About Meticulously based on real facts, events, and characters, this fast became one of my favorites among Midwood’s novels. Starting out in 1943 and the spoken words, “We live together or we die together,” we get just a hint of a couple’s devotion, but don’t know who they are, how they came together, or what that powerful statement means. Instantly, I wanted to find out more. Three years earlier, in 1940, we learn of Ilse Stein, a Jewish girl, living with her family in the little German town of Nidda, where they had always enjoyed the quiet life. But by 1940, that was no longer possible. Curfews and people she’d known her whole life, now propagandized into not only distrusting her family, but also hating all Jews as well was horrifying enough. But when the advent of Kristallnacht came and her father’s grocery store was raided and destroyed, they all moved away, to where “the war was in progress yet Frankfurt appeared to be entirely oblivious to it.” Yet that fact proved false. In Midwood’s highly descriptive style, we witness the chilling step-by-step ‘legal’ withdrawal of her people’s rights by the Nazi government, and how Ilse and what’s left of her family are forced to live in mortal fear every hour of every day in a ghetto in Minsk. Yet life does come with surprises. For it is in this ghetto that she makes friends with Liza, a Communist Partisan, and begins to work for a Luftwaffe captain in charge of operations, Willy Schultz. What I’ve always appreciated about this author is the fact that her characters are always multi-dimensional––not simply good or bad. Willy Schultz is a perfect example of that. He is a loyal German pilot, but first and foremost, he is a human being. He refuses to be brutal to the people living there under him, especially Ilse. And as their relationship blossoms, in spite of the horror surrounding them, in spite of the danger he himself faces for being with her, there is one constant in their lives together. No matter what, Willy will love, cherish, and try to protect her. And for that reason, I truly cheered for them both––with tears in my eyes. Bravo, Ms Midwood!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Midwood

    *** Reviewed By Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers’ Favorite *** The first and most important thing to say about Ellie Midwood, and by extension her intensely appealing historical novel No Woman’s Land: A Holocaust Novel, is that this author’s fine writing skills are superbly well honed. Any seasoned reader will immediately recognize a master at her craft, one both naturally gifted and creatively experienced, while the deepest pleasure desired by any avid reader, that derived from fully inhabiting a t *** Reviewed By Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers’ Favorite *** The first and most important thing to say about Ellie Midwood, and by extension her intensely appealing historical novel No Woman’s Land: A Holocaust Novel, is that this author’s fine writing skills are superbly well honed. Any seasoned reader will immediately recognize a master at her craft, one both naturally gifted and creatively experienced, while the deepest pleasure desired by any avid reader, that derived from fully inhabiting a truly gripping, fascinating, and compelling story, rapidly seeps into a last conscious thought: I can relax now. With such good writing, I can sit here, without effort, and thoroughly enjoy a marvelous ride. One is obligated to convey the plot of No Woman’s Land; the story of a young German/Jewish woman who suffers the terrors of the Holocaust as already told by many others, one who falls in love with her unanticipated warden/protector with whom, eventually, she plans an escape. But that tells you nothing of the wonder of this book, unless one also shares why Ellie Midwood’s writing creates such a compelling story and truly exceptional novel. Ms. Midwood’s writing is intensely evocative, bringing vividly to life a time and place seen with stark reality by those fated to be there and then. This author has a deeply satisfying sense of the dramatic, choosing perfect details to augment her action, with a perfect ear for dialogue, and an ultra-keen eye for descriptive detail. Add to this her retention of a commonly and rapidly fading ability to write complex sentences without sacrificing readability or flow, and as I said, you have a master at her craft. With a truly grand novel to her credit.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Yunru

    Everyone needs to read this. This novel gives equal attention to the Holocaust horrors and the lifesaving love between the Nazi officer Willy and the Holocaust prisoner Ilse. Without discounting the atrocities and mass suffering, it highlights the slim glimmer of hope and optimism, no matter how dim, during one of the darkest times of history. I found greater appreciation for this novel when I realized it was based on a true story. All the characters existed in history, and all events echoed the Everyone needs to read this. This novel gives equal attention to the Holocaust horrors and the lifesaving love between the Nazi officer Willy and the Holocaust prisoner Ilse. Without discounting the atrocities and mass suffering, it highlights the slim glimmer of hope and optimism, no matter how dim, during one of the darkest times of history. I found greater appreciation for this novel when I realized it was based on a true story. All the characters existed in history, and all events echoed the documentary, "The Jewess and the Captain" (1996). I loved how the author explored the complex progression of Ilse Stein and Willy's relationship - the political impossibility and the emotional contradictions of the love that grew because of the Holocaust. This premise of a Nazi officer falling in love and saving a Jewish girl from the ghettos seemed almost impossible to believe at first, but as I, alongside Ilse, got to know Willy and his heart of gold, we began to trust and hope that not all humans are susceptible to the Milgram effect (or even the Stanford prison experiment). That despite his ability to hurt and betray Ilse, Willy will deliver on his promise to save Ilse and her family and friends from their doomed fate, even if it would cost him his life. Not everyone when placed in positions of authority turn into those SS officers we see in the Minsk ghettos. The Willys and Ottos of the world keep this hope of humanity alive, that not all compassion and love had been wiped out. Yet, Willy and Otto were most unfortunately the minority. In this novel, we see the unspeakable suffering of the Holocaust. Novels like this must continue to keep the horrors alive, so that history forbids anything like war, genocide, and hate to ever repeat.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    No Woman’s Land: A Holocaust Novel was written by Ellie Midwood. She became interested in history, especially that of the Holocaust, due to the stories she was told by her Grandfather who had been a Junior Sergeant in the 2nd Guards Tank Army of the First Belorussian Front. After extensive research, she set out to tell the story if Ilse Stein and Willy Schultz. Their story is true and the background material of their childhoods is also true. Most of the people in the Minsk ghetto of importance a No Woman’s Land: A Holocaust Novel was written by Ellie Midwood. She became interested in history, especially that of the Holocaust, due to the stories she was told by her Grandfather who had been a Junior Sergeant in the 2nd Guards Tank Army of the First Belorussian Front. After extensive research, she set out to tell the story if Ilse Stein and Willy Schultz. Their story is true and the background material of their childhoods is also true. Most of the people in the Minsk ghetto of importance are also true. Ellie has taken the truth and interspersed it with fiction to create this wonderful book. Through this book, the reader can get a good idea of the ordeal some of the German officers felt when confronted with what was actually happening. Willy, as well as other officers, were sickened by what was happening and looked for ways to mitigate the circumstances of the Jews they came into contact with as well as giving information to the partisans and finding ways to defect. Although a romance between a Jew and a German officer seems improbable, it did happen although rarely. The book is well-written and easy to read. It is difficult to put down as you want to know what is coming next. When will they get caught and what will happen then? The only downfall of the book is that what happens to Ilse and Willy after they join the partisans is not given. I would have wished their story would have been completed without my having to do research on my own. I do highly recommend this book to Holocaust educators as it gives accurate scenes about the Minsk ghetto and massacre.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Heil

    As I expected, Ellie Midwood has once again given us a novel that is truly fantastic. Unlike her other works (or at least most of them) Ellie tells the true of Ilse Stein and Willy Schultz, a Jewish girl in the Minski ghetto and a Luftwaffe captain who fall in love despite their circumstances. One talent that Ms. Midwood has is that she is able to create romantic couples that are both realistic and ones that the reader cheers for. I thought she had achieved this the most with Ernst and Annalise As I expected, Ellie Midwood has once again given us a novel that is truly fantastic. Unlike her other works (or at least most of them) Ellie tells the true of Ilse Stein and Willy Schultz, a Jewish girl in the Minski ghetto and a Luftwaffe captain who fall in love despite their circumstances. One talent that Ms. Midwood has is that she is able to create romantic couples that are both realistic and ones that the reader cheers for. I thought she had achieved this the most with Ernst and Annalise in The Girl from Berlin series (highly recommended btw) but her portrayal of Ilse and Willy very nearly beats them out. As my rating suggests, there is nothing that I would change about this book. Perhaps I would suggest giving the reader a longer epilogue which explains what happened to Willy and Ilse in more detail but that is such a minor suggestion that it would be wrong to downgrade this book because of it (and yes I did spend fifteen minutes after finishing the book researching what happened to them). No Woman's Land can be a hard read at times because of its subject matter but Willy and Ilse's story gives the reader hope that one day everyone will be accepted for their differences and that is perhaps the best thing about it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Saskia

    A new standalone novel taking place during the Holocaust. In this story we follow Ilse who after a mostly carefree childhood is shipped off with her family to Minsk Ghetto. It shows the absolute horrors of life in the ghetto, but also that love and friendship spring and flourish in the most unexpected places. Ilse is wonderful characters. Smart and strong. She dreams, but is also very practical and fierce to the people she loves. War isn’t black and white, just as people aren’t either. There are A new standalone novel taking place during the Holocaust. In this story we follow Ilse who after a mostly carefree childhood is shipped off with her family to Minsk Ghetto. It shows the absolute horrors of life in the ghetto, but also that love and friendship spring and flourish in the most unexpected places. Ilse is wonderful characters. Smart and strong. She dreams, but is also very practical and fierce to the people she loves. War isn’t black and white, just as people aren’t either. There are good on bad people of both sides. One of my favorite lines was “ Who would have thought that words could hold so much power, to stir so much hatred that it would eventually lead to genocide?”.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ruby Papciak

    I bow to you Ms. Midwood for your ability to weave such an excellent story that has me riding an elevator that stops at different emotional floors. You have given these characters such a voice that it was easy to forget I was only reading. Now I say easy to forget I was reading, but that's not to say it was an easy read. Because that is so far from the truth. The subject matter is not an easy one, it's not a purely fictional setting, and it certainly is not a quick read. I have had to put it dow I bow to you Ms. Midwood for your ability to weave such an excellent story that has me riding an elevator that stops at different emotional floors. You have given these characters such a voice that it was easy to forget I was only reading. Now I say easy to forget I was reading, but that's not to say it was an easy read. Because that is so far from the truth. The subject matter is not an easy one, it's not a purely fictional setting, and it certainly is not a quick read. I have had to put it down several times to regather myself before continuing. The more horrifying thing is these events really did happen. For that, thank you for shining a light in an otherwise bleak time. I would definitely recommend this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marina Osipova

    A stunning tribute to love and life “As long as you’re alive and I’m with you.” “Everything was dead to him; the family, the army, the loyalty.” This kind of love is in the center of this masterfully crafted book. Based on real events and people, painfully moving, it tells the story of the Holocaust through the life of a young woman, Ilse Stein. Her emotions, worries, fears, and hopes are so vividly conveyed, I too suffered with her the oppression and dehumanization of victims of Nazism and rebell A stunning tribute to love and life “As long as you’re alive and I’m with you.” “Everything was dead to him; the family, the army, the loyalty.” This kind of love is in the center of this masterfully crafted book. Based on real events and people, painfully moving, it tells the story of the Holocaust through the life of a young woman, Ilse Stein. Her emotions, worries, fears, and hopes are so vividly conveyed, I too suffered with her the oppression and dehumanization of victims of Nazism and rebelled against it. This is an exceptional tale which you will not be able to erase from your mind and, hands down, one of the best about the Holocaust. As all other books of this author, I highly recommend this one. 

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Hilston

    This is the sixth book by Ellie Midwood I've had the pleasure to read. As always, she delivers a story with strong characters who persevere through one of the worst times in human history. This novel follows the journey of a young Jewish woman named Ilse Stein, based on a real person, and her survival in a brutal Jewish ghetto during World War II. Against all odds and the fear of death at every turn, Ilse finds love in the arms of an unlikely man, Luftwaffe Officer Willy Schultz (also based on a This is the sixth book by Ellie Midwood I've had the pleasure to read. As always, she delivers a story with strong characters who persevere through one of the worst times in human history. This novel follows the journey of a young Jewish woman named Ilse Stein, based on a real person, and her survival in a brutal Jewish ghetto during World War II. Against all odds and the fear of death at every turn, Ilse finds love in the arms of an unlikely man, Luftwaffe Officer Willy Schultz (also based on a real person). Their love story is a beacon of light in the darkness surrounding them. You will keep turning the pages, wondering how their story will end. Ellie Midwood's knowledge of World War II is evident in every detail, and the care with which she writes her historical fiction is a treat to anyone who enjoys reading stories from this time period.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Q

    Author Q&A @ Let Them Read Books! Author Q&A @ Let Them Read Books!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joey Paul

    I have been a long time fan of Midwood's books and had to pick this one up when I came across it. It was beautifully told, a true love story for the ages. I found myself trapped between the pages, wishing to know more, wanting to see how it all worked out. Every single part of it was perfect. I adore Midwood's way with words, and her historical fiction is a hard one to beat. Highly recommended! I have been a long time fan of Midwood's books and had to pick this one up when I came across it. It was beautifully told, a true love story for the ages. I found myself trapped between the pages, wishing to know more, wanting to see how it all worked out. Every single part of it was perfect. I adore Midwood's way with words, and her historical fiction is a hard one to beat. Highly recommended!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Peggy Ann

    Great read If you are in to the holocaust books. I would defiantly recommend this book.it led led me is suspense thought

  28. 4 out of 5

    Leanne Penney

    Loving The Author’s Writing! This is my second, maybe third, book by Ellie Midwood. Her writing is incredibly descriptive and she has a way of captivating her readers.

  29. 5 out of 5

    David Huntley

    Once again, the author, Ellie Midwood brings us as only she can, a remarkable story of love transcending ethnicity, religion and surmounting unimaginable obstacles of the horrors of war. Ilse Stein a German Jew, is deported to a Jewish ghetto in Minsk Byelorussia (now more formally known as Belarus), together with her two younger sisters. Her father died on the train on the way to Minsk and the SS threw his body out into the snow during one of the many stops along the way. Ise’s mother gets sepa Once again, the author, Ellie Midwood brings us as only she can, a remarkable story of love transcending ethnicity, religion and surmounting unimaginable obstacles of the horrors of war. Ilse Stein a German Jew, is deported to a Jewish ghetto in Minsk Byelorussia (now more formally known as Belarus), together with her two younger sisters. Her father died on the train on the way to Minsk and the SS threw his body out into the snow during one of the many stops along the way. Ise’s mother gets separated from the girls at their destination and is herded off with others to be never seen again. The irony of the Nazi system is clearly demonstrated when the Soviet Jews are separated from the German Jews by a wall of barbed wire down the middle of the ghetto. The Soviet Jews nicknamed the German section, the Hamburgs. While the Soviet Jews received worse treatment from the SS than the German Jews the frequency of cruelty, killings and torture did not diminish for either side, and survival meant learning ways of hiding in plain sight by appearing as inconspicuous as possible, never looking into the eyes of your captors, and doing exactly as you are told. Many a victim shed their last blood as they were shot for moving their arm slightly while being forced to lay face down in the snow during an inspection or for a whim of an SS guard’s fancy. The moving story of Ilse and her gradual love affair of a Luftwaffe officer Willy Schultz, is by itself, a tribute to the hidden light within humanity that can and does shine through the coarseness and cruelty perpetrated by hatred and bias. While I am keen for an author to relay to me the historical record of the Holocaust in order that I and others, shall never forget this blot on human civilization, I am also looking for a redemption that shows me the human race is not completely lost in its decline to depravity. This author comes through in answer to that challenge in ways that elicits strong emotions in the reader, as our protagonists and their fellow sympathizers ultimately prevail in their quest for freedom. The fact that the story is based on real lives and real events makes it even more gripping.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joyce McKay

    Loved every moment of this book. Ilse Stein and Willie Schultz share the type of all consuming love that makes for a good romance novel. What makes it even more incredible is that it's a true historical story. The depressing environment of the Ghetto made me feel like all the days were grey and dreer. I know that some of the days had bright sunshine and they even spoke of beautiful spring days; the times when hope seemed far, erased the sunshine. Willie had great power as the Quartermaster. The m Loved every moment of this book. Ilse Stein and Willie Schultz share the type of all consuming love that makes for a good romance novel. What makes it even more incredible is that it's a true historical story. The depressing environment of the Ghetto made me feel like all the days were grey and dreer. I know that some of the days had bright sunshine and they even spoke of beautiful spring days; the times when hope seemed far, erased the sunshine. Willie had great power as the Quartermaster. The man who holds the keys to the supplies has much to barter. If it had not been for that position of power, I think we would have seen an ugly end to our lovers. It was realistic with the family ties that keep a person from taking the quick escape for themselves. Ilse's two sisters kept her in check from doing anything that would impact them. Willie learned to watch what he did for Ilse because there was no freedom in their relationship. The SS were always just around the corner. It was interesting that the Germans were shown to have a number of them against the atrocities of the SS. It appears that their Flyers were of a different ilk than their SS men. They were victims too. They were afraid to show their true feelings. The SS could reach them or their families no matter where they were. I just wish more was known about Willie's wife back home. We know she lived in the totally obliterated city of Dresden. We only hear that she liked to spend his money and he chose the work he chose to earn enough to support her when he married her. The last we hear is about a letter she sent to him that was totally blacked out by the authorities. We also know that Willie refused to take a 3 week R & R to go back and visit her. Was he disappointed because they had no children? Did he feel he was only a paycheck? I'm guessing too much about her would interfere with the life and death love story before us. Still I'd like to know. I highly recommend this book for it's great story and its well researched historical background.

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