Only the Beautiful

It’s been a while since I’ve read a great historical fiction novel, and “Only the Beautiful” by Susan Meissner is really terrific!!! It tells of two heartbreaking tales of injustice – one in a 1940’s U.S. mental hospital and the other in Hitler occupied Austria. The two settings work together well and even though some events are horrible to imagine, the writing is done so beautifully that the book is hard to put down. It shows the evils of the eugenics movement – which was taking place in Europe by Hitler, but also in the U.S. by doctors and authority figures.

“Only the Beautiful” has two main characters – Rosie and Helen. The novel focuses on Rosie in the first half and Helen in the 2nd half, which was a format I really liked. Sixteen-year-old Rosie lives on the Calvert’s vineyard in California and is taken in as a foster child/maid by the Calverts when her parents are killed in an accident. Helen is living abroad in Europe as a nanny and loves her life and job, especially caring for a handicapped little girl. The wonderful writing let me get to know Rosie and Helen and brought tears when life seemed unbearable for them. Their courage and determination stood out in terrible circumstances.

“Only the Beautiful” is an amazing book for historical fiction readers. I know there are so many good WWII novels, but this one was one of the best I’ve read! There is not a lot of fluff – but it is filled with the life stories that no one should forget. I will tell you that even though there were tears . . . the novel does have hope . . . and a happy ending!

Leave a Reply

Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: