THE ANNA KLEIN TRILOGY
World War II Mysteries
"A mixture of love, overcoming despair from war and copious death, and mystery, Yetmen skillfully crafts a book full of original characters, an interesting plot, and authentic emotions."
Critics Report, The BookLife Prize
The Anna Klein Trilogy
Wading through the suspicion, corruption, and uncertainty of 1945 Germany, Anna Klein clings to the hope for normalcy and returning to her pre-war life. But when her job as a translator for Monuments Man Captain Henry Cooper lands her in the position to right wartime wrongs, Anna realizes her future holds a much greater purpose.
My novels are inspired by her family’s circumstances at the end of World War II. My German grandmother and my mother, then just five years old, found themselves displaced and dispossessed in a strange city, with nothing more than a suitcase full of random belongings to their name. And yet, they survive. For one simple reason. My grandmother could speak English. This meant she got a job working for the American occupiers. It meant they got a roof over their heads and a glimpse of a salvaged future.
The more I learned about World War II the more I came to understand how unspeakably lucky my family was, even in their hardship. How the survivors of WWII suffered from an inherent guilt simply for having made it through the nightmare when so many had not. And, I came to understand how the forces of events shifted my family’s lives onto the trajectory that made my very existence possible.
My organizational system
I also learned about the work of the Monuments Men. I realized that in the face of such degradation and horror, the fact that leaders mustered the political and yes, military, will, to save thousands of works of art and of Jewish cultural heritage is more than just noble. It is essential. The Nazis understood the power of art. They knew that wiping all evidence of Jewish and “degenerate” culture off the face of earth, to sever the connections these things provide to our history, our mythologies and to each other, is a form of spiritual genocide.
The Monuments Men were flawed men and women in service of a righteous cause. Their motivations sometimes strayed off course and their focus on the mission was sometimes seduced by the sheer magnitude in value and status of the art in their care. As a nosy researcher it obsessed me a little. As a writer it intrigued me. So, my grandmother’s circumstances met the work of the Monuments Men. Vanquished German culture met victorious American ascendancy. Anna Klein met Henry Cooper.
C.F. Yetmen has crafted a satisfying and beautifully-written historical novel, about the unlikely partnership of a fearless German interpreter and the rule-breaking American captain responsible for protecting the precious and valuable artworks stolen from Jewish collections by the Nazis during WWII, and the daunting task of returning them to their rightful owners -- if they are still alive.
With the perfect balance of heart-warming and heart-breaking, What is Forgiven is danger, mystery and intrigue wrapped around a love story, but it’s much more than that: it’s an in-depth study of loyalty, justice and the moral aftermath of the war. Unwilling to shy away from the harsh realities of cruelty, human suffering, ashes and corpses, Yetmen explores with striking empathy a German people desperate for forgiveness, riddled with guilt for not having done more to protect their Jewish neighbors from the bitter atrocities carried out by the Nazis, in favor of protecting their own loved ones. In doing so, Yetmen forces us to look into our own hearts, where hope for a changed tomorrow can only begin.
What is Forgiven is flawless; you’re not going to find a more beautiful and compelling story this year. Be sure to leave room on your bookshelf for Book Three of The Anna Klein Trilogy -- and while you’re at it, you might want to check out Book One, The Roses Underneath.
Martha Louise Hunter, Author, Painting Juliana and
co-host of Writing on the Air
In What is Forgiven, CF Yetmen brings history to brilliant life. Her rich characters remind us that complex, nuanced hearts beat on both sides of a war-torn country, and that even in the midst of World War II, forgiveness might be the bridge that will unite us.
Amanda Eyre Ward, Author, The Nearness of You
C.F. Yetmen writes with clarity, grace, and a confident grasp of historical detail to vividly reimagine Allied-occupied Germany in the months after World War II. What Is Forgiven, the second installment of the Anna Klein trilogy, picks up with her life with the Monuments Men, attempting to hopefully, repatriate artworks ripped off from their Jewish owners under the Nazi regime. Yetmen’s novels vividly remind us that the term “collateral damage” in wartime not only means smashed buildings and civilian casualties, but a rendering to the fabric of civilization.
Jesse Sublett, Author, 1960s Austin Gangsters: Organized Crime that Rocked the Capital
“What is Forgiven shows that cultural heritage is always worth fighting for, and that the value it represents is precious. Anna and Cooper traverse the difficult and multifaceted tasks the Monuments Men faced after combat was over, proving that cultural heritage is always worth fighting for. Even—or especially—when the world is turned upside down.”
Tanja Bernsau Ph.D, Art Research Service,