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Arts & Culture
There are one million new books published each year. With so many books and so little time, where do you begin to find your next must-read? There’s the New York Times Bestseller list, the Goodreads app, the Cape Library’s Staff picks shelf and now Martin’s Must-Reads.Every Wednesday at 6:42 and 8:42 a.m., and Sunday at 8:18 a.m., Betty Martin recommends a must read based on her own personal biases for historical fiction, quirky characters and overall well-turned phrases. Her list includes WWII novels, biographies of trailblazers, novels with truly unique individuals and lots more. Reading close to 100 titles a year, Betty has plenty of titles to share.Local support for "Martin's Must Reads" comes from the Cape Girardeau Public Library and the Poplar Bluff Municipal Library.

Martin's Must Reads: 'The Ragged Edge of Night'

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“I have seen the power of human goodness; I know how courageous the most ordinary person can be. The history of my own family bears testament to the power of resistance. Because I have seen, I believe-I know-that darkness cannot last forever. And beyond night’s edge, there is light.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and those are Olivia Hawker’s final words to her note and author’s remarks of her historical novel The Ragged Edge of Night. Her novel is based on the extraordinary life of her husband’s grandfather Anton, a German living in Germany during World War II.

Anton entered the priesthood at the age of eighteen and was teaching music to developmentally disabled children when the SS came to purge the country of the impure and shut down the Catholic charity. Totally bereft and looking for a way to combat the hate that Hitler was spreading, he answered an ad to be a husband, father and provider to Elisabeth, a widow with three children.

He brings with him three trunks filled with musical instruments. They live in a small hamlet outside of Stuttgart where the residents look after each other, bartering for food and hand-me-down clothing. Anton becomes close to Vater Emil, the local priest and through that association finds another, more dangerous, way to combat the evil. He delivers messages for the Red Orchestra, an underground network of resisters plotting to assassinate Hitler. Anton uses his music lessons and the formation of a band to disguise this work.

If you’re looking for a well written, World War II story, more fact than fiction, that illustrates the power of human goodness, then you must read The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker. 

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