Uncertain Soldier by Karen Bass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Got around to finishing this one last evening. It’s a great read. Loaded with Alberta history, the story offers a glimpse at the tensions WWII had on Albertans and the Prisoners of War who came to be housed in this province.
The story follows two characters. A younger boy named Max and an older teen named Erich. Max is a the son of recent German immigrants to Alberta. Erich was forced to enlist in the German Navy as a 17 year-old. His ship is sunk, and he’s rescued by the Canadian Navy. He’s now a Prisoner of War (POW) in Alberta.
Erich faces discrimination and is hounded by Nazi POWs who are determined to uphold the Nazi perspective in Canada. Max, is squeezed between discrimination and his only family’s pressure to stand up for his heritage. The two struggle against the Alberta wilderness and winter and a series of mysterious accidents that threaten to destroy them both.
The book gives a historical glimpse of Alberta during the Second World War, and a pre-electric Alberta. The writing is often poetic. The story is truly Canadian and raises issues around racism, discrimination, bullying, and the war.