Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Review Tour & Giveaway: When the Skies Rained Freedom by Annette Oppenlander

When the Skies Rained Freedom
Annette Oppenlander

Historical Fiction
Independently Published
Publication Date: October 10, 2023
Page count: 272 pages



Captivating, gripping and relentlessly authentic...inspired by eyewitness accounts.

To this day, the Berlin airlift presents one of the most dramatic and daring historic events of post WWII Germany, pinning east against west, and cementing the Cold War against Soviet Russia. Without the help of America’s brave pilots, two million Berliners would’ve been lost to Stalin’s dictatorial regime, the future of Europe may have turned out entirely different.

Berlin, May 1945: As the war finally ends, Lotte Berger's apartment lies in rubble, her mother suffers a breakdown after an assault by Russian soldiers, and both, Lotte's father and fiancé are missing in Russia. Only when Mitch Cameron, an American pilot, comes to her aid after an accident, does she regain hope. Just as they are growing closer, Lotte's fiancé reappears under suspicious circumstances...

Berlin, June 1948: Lotte has fought her way through the aftermath of WWII and a devastating loss, when Russia’s dictator, Josef Stalin, decides to take over West Berlin. By cutting off supply lines, electricity and travel, he is willing to starve two million Berliners and force the U.S., Britain and France out. But the western allies, led by President Truman, decide to do the impossible: support Berlin from the air. Thus begins a turbulent and seemingly futile attempt to rescue West Berlin. Willing to do her part, Lotte lands a job as a translator at the American-run Tempelhof Airport. Even if her love is long lost, she can at least dream about Mitch helping to free Berlin...



While Mama gets in line, I address the first woman I see. “Do you know of a place to stay?”
She simply shakes her head, her eyes empty, her face powdered with dust. I continue down the line, repeating my question over and over. Most of the women don’t even look up.
“We need a place to stay,” I try again. The girl I’m addressing has to be my age, she looks a bit cleaner than the rest and carries two buckets. Gray eyes meet mine, not gray like the sky, but a light gray with a tinge of blue. In them lies a glint of something, a tiny spark ready to ignite.
“Who is we?” Her voice is surprisingly deep, almost manly, and in stark contrast to her delicate shape, the small hips and hazelnut-colored hair, swept upward into a shawl. She appears quite clean, even her hands are free of dirt. Unlike me; I look like I crawled from a dank hole. My palms are black and sticky with coal dust, my clothes stained.
“My mother and I.” It comes out too fast, almost defiant, but the girl doesn’t seem to be offended. She looks at me, apparently waiting for more. “We’re in a broken-apart cellar… too dangerous with all the Russian soldiers.”
To my surprise, the girl nods. “Get your water, I will wait for you.”



5 stars!

Suspense-filled historical drama featuring life during the Berlin airlifts.

When the Skies Rained Freedom is a thrilling work of historical fiction by award-winning author Annette Oppenlander and one of the most absorbing stories I've ever read. I was hooked from the very beginning. While many recent books have featured Germany in WWII, Oppenlander sets her highly-immersive tale in Berlin immediately following Germany's surrender, highlighting the danger, depravations, and the Allies' actions to keep the remaining sections of the city out of Stalin's hands.

The main character, Lotte Berger, is only 19 or 20 years old when the fighting ceases, and the continued survival of her and her mother lands squarely on her shoulders after her mother is attacked in the Soviet-occupied section of Berlin. She's a strong young woman, having just come through the continual bombing of her hometown by Allied planes. Still, the aftermath of partitioning Berlin into sectors controlled by the victorious countries brought new terrors and hardships. It is only through the kindness of strangers such as Meg and Tilly that she and her mother can eke out a minimal existence. Lieutenant Mitch Cameron is also tender-hearted and kind, quietly offering assistance with no strings attached, unlike some of his fellow pilots in the story. Both Lotte and Mitch are conflicted characters. Are they still enemies, or what? They want to pursue their attraction to each other while having previous relationships that are on hold due to the war.
The author does an amazing job placing the reader in the story with genuine characters and clearly depicted events and locations. The characters feel like real people, speaking authentic dialogue fitting the circumstances. Descriptions of bombed-out Berlin are so vivid I could almost feel the gritty desolation and the bitter winter cold without enough wood or coal. Reading the introduction to the story tells the reader that much of what is coming is based on eyewitness accounts. Yet, the amount of research the author had to have done is apparent by the wealth of detail.
The Berlin airlifts were always relegated to a mere footnote in my American history classes, so the story's focus on this monumental mission was informative and awe-inspiring. Reading about this time period and what these people endured was riveting and horrifying. I thank the author for shedding light on these events. 

With its genuine personalities, authentic dialogue and experiences, I recommend WHEN THE SKIES RAINED FREEDOM to readers of historical fiction, especially those interested in post-WWII Germany and the advent of the Cold War.


Annette Oppenlander is an award-winning writer, literary coach and educator. As a bestselling historical novelist, Oppenlander is known for her authentic characters and stories based on true events, coming alive in well-researched settings. Having lived in Germany the first half of her life and the second half in various parts in the U.S., Oppenlander inspires readers by illuminating story questions as relevant today as they were in the past. 

Oppenlander’s bestselling true WWII story, Surviving the Fatherland, received eight nominations/awards. Uniquely, Oppenlander weaves actual historical figures and events into her plots, giving readers a flavor of true history while enjoying a good story.

Oppenlander shares her knowledge through writing workshops at colleges, libraries, festivals and schools. She also offers vivid presentations and author visits. The mother of fraternal twins and a son, she now lives with her husband and mutt Zelda in Germany. Annette can be contacted by email:


Annette Oppenlander will be awarding $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you so much for hosting and reviewing today.

Sherry said...

Sounds good and I look forward to reading this.

Kim said...

I hope you're staying warm this weekend.