Winter Kept Us Warm
A bold and haunting novel that sets love against the brutality of WWII and post-war lifeUlli is a young woman, half-English and half-German, squatting in a dismal, empty Berlin apartment, one year after the war has ended. She’s scraping together a living as an interpreter between Berlin-based GIs and the wide-eyed local girls eager to meet them. One night, Ulli meets two American soldiers: Leo, handsome and ambitious and desperate to escape his small town upbringing; and intellectual, asthmatic Isaac, whose refugee parents had fled Russia and then Paris for New York.Winter Kept Us Warm follows Ulli, Leo, and Isaac through the next six decades of their lives―from Berlin to post-war Manhattan, 1960s Los Angeles, and Morocco. A marriage. Two children. And yet, only one parent. At the core of this novel is the mystery of how this came to be; not a chronological narrative, we explore the dark corners and lantern slides of these characters' lives, revealing in pieces and fragments what became of their long ago love triangle set against the brutality of post-war living.Winter Kept Us Warm is an evocative story of family, strained by the cruelty of war and its generational repercussions. A novel of the heart, filled to the brim with unforgettable characters stitching together the deep threads of love, friendship, loyalty, and, of course, loss.

Winter Kept Us Warm Details

TitleWinter Kept Us Warm
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 13th, 2018
PublisherCounterpoint Press
ISBN-139781619028173
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, War, Family, World War II, Novels

Winter Kept Us Warm Review

  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    There’s a somber, serious tone, a surprisingly quiet novel given that this is a story of war. The focus, though, is mostly about after WWII when the three main characters meet in Berlin. It about how the war shaped their futures and how their relationships evolve over sixty years. Three friends, two American soldiers, a young German woman form a close bond, yet the secret life of one is held closely by one and kept from the other.I was immediately pulled in wanting to know Isaac and Ulli’s conne There’s a somber, serious tone, a surprisingly quiet novel given that this is a story of war. The focus, though, is mostly about after WWII when the three main characters meet in Berlin. It about how the war shaped their futures and how their relationships evolve over sixty years. Three friends, two American soldiers, a young German woman form a close bond, yet the secret life of one is held closely by one and kept from the other.I was immediately pulled in wanting to know Isaac and Ulli’s connection from the past, as he travels from New York to Morocco. They haven’t seen each other in over 40 yrs and it has been 60 years since they met. That connection slowly unfolds as the story of Ulli, Leo and Isaac is told in pieces spanning not just the years but the globe from Berlin to New York, to California to Russia to Morocco. The pieces are not in chronological order but each reflection on the past reveals how the present day came to be as the story of the decades in between come to light, how there is a husband, a wife, two daughters and their “father”.I couldn’t decide whether these characters were complex or whether they just simply managed a complex situation in a way where the motivations were hard to understand at times. Yet this novel which tells of a marriage based on love but not on truth, unrequited love, loss, trauma, depth of friendship, pure love of a father for his “children” is one that I found to be sad at times, thought provoking and sometimes touching. I received an advanced copy of this book from Counterpoint/ Ingram Publisher Services through Edelweiss.
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  • Fran
    January 1, 1970
    Sixty years have passed since Ulli and Isaac met in a bar in post World War II Berlin. Now eighty years old, Isaac traveled to Morocco where Ulli was hotelier of the Hotel Atlas. Ulli, although taken aback, was not really surprised to see him. The reader will be privy, through flashbacks, to view the tangled web of life, love, laughter, and sadness stemming from a coincidental meeting between a German girl and two American soldiers.Ulli was being groomed to take over her father's typewriting bus Sixty years have passed since Ulli and Isaac met in a bar in post World War II Berlin. Now eighty years old, Isaac traveled to Morocco where Ulli was hotelier of the Hotel Atlas. Ulli, although taken aback, was not really surprised to see him. The reader will be privy, through flashbacks, to view the tangled web of life, love, laughter, and sadness stemming from a coincidental meeting between a German girl and two American soldiers.Ulli was being groomed to take over her father's typewriting business in Berlin. After all, her father was able to keep the business afloat during the war. Her English mother taught her to speak English. Ulli chose to venture out on her own at the end of the war. She found a vacated apartment hoping the tenants were safe but unable to return. Her knowledge of English enabled her to translate for American soldiers desiring companionship with German girls. she did not expect to bond with two American soldiers.Isaac's father was a Menshevik. The family was allowed to live in France as refugees but without passports or the right to work. They boarded a ship to America. Isaac was a tall, introverted bookworm. As an asthmatic, he was unfit for combat. Leo, a stocky handsome Pennsylvania boy with a weak heart, was excused from active duty as well. Leo enlisted to escape Johnstown, PA, the area of the Great Flood of 1889. He feared being swept away by water. Ulli, Isaac, and Leo met and had drinks at a bar. Time spent that evening spilled over into a stay at Ulli's apartment for the winter. War had ended and many dwellings were reduced to rubble. They, however, were warm and cozy, able to procure food and drink. The simplicity of living in a cocoon of safety changed in spring when a knock on the door confirmed that Ulli was not the authorized tenant of the apartment. They had to vacate immediately. If it is true that the more things change, the more they stay the same, the love shared by this triumvirate will stand the test of time. Relationships may shift, globetrotting might became a cure for restlessness and children will be raised. Now after forty years, Isaac felt the need to reconnect with Ulli and unravel some smokescreens and deceptions that perhaps would have changed the course of their history."Winter Kept Us Warm" by Anne Raeff is a poignant story of love and longing in the aftermath of World War II. Raeff, in an understated manner, let's the reader view the tender, supportive trio while they navigate a seesaw of emotions traveling the ever changing path of life.Thank you Counterpoint Press for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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  • Jessica Treadway
    January 1, 1970
    This book is easy to read in terms of the beautiful, flowing narrative – its simple and elegant style – but to its credit, it’s not easy to read when it comes to the emotions it will make you feel. There’s much joy in this story about a decades-old love triangle, and how the three lives involved overlap and intersect beginning just after World War II. There’s also a great deal of rich and poignant heartache, of the type we feel only for the people we love the most. I happen to love rich and poig This book is easy to read in terms of the beautiful, flowing narrative – its simple and elegant style – but to its credit, it’s not easy to read when it comes to the emotions it will make you feel. There’s much joy in this story about a decades-old love triangle, and how the three lives involved overlap and intersect beginning just after World War II. There’s also a great deal of rich and poignant heartache, of the type we feel only for the people we love the most. I happen to love rich and poignant heartache, so this book was a deeply satisfying one for me. Anne Raeff makes us care more than we might have guessed we would about the characters of Isaac, Leo, and Ulli, as we follow them through their lives in the United States and abroad, at different ages and under different circumstances in the world. Very soon after I began reading, they fell away as characters in a novel and became people I knew. I couldn’t wait to get back to it each time, to find where the next episode in their lives would take me. “Read it and weep” is the phrase that comes to mind as I recommend it, most highly, to anyone who likes books that make them feel strongly, at both ends of the spectrum and all the points in between.
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  • Minrose Gwin
    January 1, 1970
    Having greatly admired Anne Raeff’s collection, The Jungle Around Us, which won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction in 2015, I wasn’t surprised that her new novel, Winter Kept Us Warm, is an exquisitely beautiful story that has lingered in my mind long after I put it down. The novel traces Ulli, Isaac, Leo, and their two children through time (fifty-plus years) and space (around the globe), but this capaciousness comes with intense psychological revelations about each of the characters Having greatly admired Anne Raeff’s collection, The Jungle Around Us, which won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction in 2015, I wasn’t surprised that her new novel, Winter Kept Us Warm, is an exquisitely beautiful story that has lingered in my mind long after I put it down. The novel traces Ulli, Isaac, Leo, and their two children through time (fifty-plus years) and space (around the globe), but this capaciousness comes with intense psychological revelations about each of the characters, their evolving love for one another, and the ability and inadequacy of that love to rise to life’s challenges. The final sentence, “And then it began again,” is what this wonderful, magical book is all about: those ripples in the water of our lives that never really end, always moving out ahead of our deepest desires. I can’t recommend Winter Kept Us Warm enough!
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  • Phyllis Krall
    January 1, 1970
    Ulli is an interpreter living in Berlin after the war, when she meets two soldiers , Ivan and Leo . The three form a unique friendship that spans many years. They eventually move to Manhattan where Leo and Ulli get married and Ivan continues his education . Their lives connect in a special way, when Ulli has two daughters who become very close with Ivan. The years unfold from New York to California and Morocco as everyone’s lives change . The thread connecting the three characters becomes unbrok Ulli is an interpreter living in Berlin after the war, when she meets two soldiers , Ivan and Leo . The three form a unique friendship that spans many years. They eventually move to Manhattan where Leo and Ulli get married and Ivan continues his education . Their lives connect in a special way, when Ulli has two daughters who become very close with Ivan. The years unfold from New York to California and Morocco as everyone’s lives change . The thread connecting the three characters becomes unbroken through tumultuous times.This book is one you won’t want to miss reading. I received this ARC as a gift from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. The characters will linger with you long after you have finished it.Beautifully written and highly recommended!!
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  • Marilyn
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of Winter Kept Us Warm by Anne Raeff in a goodreads give away in exchange for an honest review. As Raeff began her novel, World War II had ended and the reader meets Ulli, a young girl living with her parents in Berlin, being groomed to take over her father's typewriter business. Since Ulli had no interest in taking over the business, she moved out of her parent's apartment and found an empty apartment that she made her own. Gradually, she found that she could make good money a I received a copy of Winter Kept Us Warm by Anne Raeff in a goodreads give away in exchange for an honest review. As Raeff began her novel, World War II had ended and the reader meets Ulli, a young girl living with her parents in Berlin, being groomed to take over her father's typewriter business. Since Ulli had no interest in taking over the business, she moved out of her parent's apartment and found an empty apartment that she made her own. Gradually, she found that she could make good money as an interpreter for American soldiers that wanted to meet young German women. While performing these duties at a popular bar she befriended two American soldiers, Leo and Isaac. The three became inseparable and the two Americans moved in with Ulli. Leo and Ulli become intimately involved while Isaac looked on. Over the years Ulli and Leo married, had two children and Isaac remained a good friend to both Ulli and Leo. The story follows these friends to New York, California and finally to Morocco over the course of 60 years. Raeff's Winter Kept Us Warm is a beautiful story of friendship, disappointment and love. I highly recommend this book. It was wonderful.
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  • Bolg
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway, so first off, Thank You very much for giving myself and all of us these kinds of opportunities!I must say, I enjoyed this book from cover to cover.The 3 main characters are all interesting in their own right, and the way their bond is told makes the overall relationship that much more captivating.As the first reviewer stated, I personally began to feel like these were real people I was following, rather than fictitious characters. Sure there may be s I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway, so first off, Thank You very much for giving myself and all of us these kinds of opportunities!I must say, I enjoyed this book from cover to cover.The 3 main characters are all interesting in their own right, and the way their bond is told makes the overall relationship that much more captivating.As the first reviewer stated, I personally began to feel like these were real people I was following, rather than fictitious characters. Sure there may be some heartache, but that doesn't mean it isn't a beautiful story.The deep yet flawed love among the characters was compelling, and had me excited to continue on and discover the true fate of how their stories would end.The story is about more than just the 3 characters, but about Us, people, emotional beings.After reading this debut novel, I am now looking forward to touching on some of the author's previous work, such as the award winning 'The Jungle Around Us' short story collection.I would not be surprised if this novel grabs an award or 2 for itself!
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  • Adam Lowy
    January 1, 1970
    I agree with much of what Jessica wrote about this book: easy to read, flowing narrative, tear jerker. I’m not sure why I had such trouble with this work. I know this is unfair, but I found myself comparing it to A Little Life. They are both sweeping epics covering relationships of three friends over many years facing failed loves and brutality. Interestingly both titles come from the same portion of Eliot’s Wasteland. However while in A Little Life I felt I lived alongside these characters, her I agree with much of what Jessica wrote about this book: easy to read, flowing narrative, tear jerker. I’m not sure why I had such trouble with this work. I know this is unfair, but I found myself comparing it to A Little Life. They are both sweeping epics covering relationships of three friends over many years facing failed loves and brutality. Interestingly both titles come from the same portion of Eliot’s Wasteland. However while in A Little Life I felt I lived alongside these characters, here I felt I was a reading a work of manufactured fiction written by a skilled writer. I am appreciative to the publisher and Good reads for this ARC. I enjoyed this but it doesn’t go in my pantheon.
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  • Suzanne
    January 1, 1970
    What a great debut novel by Anne Raeff! I was lucky enough to win this ARC from Goodreads! Thank you!I love reading about life during and after WWII...and this one didn't disappoint. It's the story of three friends, Leo, Ulli, and Isaac, who met and shared an apartment in Berlin. The story follows their lives for several decades, from Berlin to both coasts of America, and finally to Morroco. A marriage, two children, one parent, and complex lifestyles all bind them, and tear them apart.I would r What a great debut novel by Anne Raeff! I was lucky enough to win this ARC from Goodreads! Thank you!I love reading about life during and after WWII...and this one didn't disappoint. It's the story of three friends, Leo, Ulli, and Isaac, who met and shared an apartment in Berlin. The story follows their lives for several decades, from Berlin to both coasts of America, and finally to Morroco. A marriage, two children, one parent, and complex lifestyles all bind them, and tear them apart.I would recommend this book to readers of numerous genres; historical, drama, romance, and modern lit. A very enjoyable read!
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  • Erica
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful, moving novel.
  • Lindsey
    January 1, 1970
    This was one of the most lyrical, beautifully written books I've read in the last year. It's a stunning debut. As I've gotten older I've come to more fully appreciate books that center on relationships rather than action. The connections we form with other humans are wonderfully complex and incredibly diverse in form. None of my friendships are the same, and every person in my life contributes something unique to it. This book illustrates the beauty (and often the pain) of those relationships th This was one of the most lyrical, beautifully written books I've read in the last year. It's a stunning debut. As I've gotten older I've come to more fully appreciate books that center on relationships rather than action. The connections we form with other humans are wonderfully complex and incredibly diverse in form. None of my friendships are the same, and every person in my life contributes something unique to it. This book illustrates the beauty (and often the pain) of those relationships through the lens of three young Europeans who met during WWII and whose connection continued throughout their lives. The novel was so well-constructed it was hard to believe it's a debut. I look forward to amazing things from Anne Raeff.I received this book through Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.
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