The Center of Gravity
By Patricia Brandon
A young woman is tricked into service as a food tester for Adolf Hitler in his secret Wolf's Lair, where she will endure yet another atrocity. A French professor, whose best friend is a Jew fighting in the Alsatian Resistance, is forced to assist in the Nazi reconstruction of the priceless Amber Room in the Konigsberg Castle. All hide dangerous secrets. When their worlds collide, high risk plans for escape are made, with the unlikely help of the anti-Nazi brother of Hermann Goering. But will the darkest of secrets remain hidden, or will lives be forever changed when the truth is finally revealed?
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The Center of Gravity
I’m a South Carolina gal – raised on good home cookin’, crazy family stories, Southern heat, humidity, and Gamecock sports! Prior to a freak physical anomaly (a blood vessel in my back decided to kink like a garden hose!) I camped, hiked, attended music festivals, played tennis, danced, and swam.
While I’m fighting to get better, I found I had much more sitting time to kill, so I decided to pursue writing. A high school English teacher once told me she wanted an autographed copy of my first book, and I never forgot that. Hope she’d be proud now. First, I wrote a memoir about my entire first year of paralysis, In the Valley of Achor, which is available on Amazon, also. I’ve received notes and letters about how candid and real the book is, that it made a difference for folks, which was the intent, as well as being an emotional outlet for me, too. It’s also humorous at times – life’s too short to be otherwise – and I hear that the comic relief was also appreciated!
The Center of Gravity is my first attempt at an historical fiction novel. I received a Carrie McCray Literary award for what became the prologue for this story, for which I am deeply grateful and proud. I’ve always loved reading history, especially now when there is so much “fake news’ through which to wade. My father (94!) is a POW from WWII, and his stories and those of others inspired part of this tale. The book spans the period from 1933 Europe, when Hitler and the Third Reich was just beginning to come to power, to 1976 in the Low Country (coastal) part of South Carolina. Most people are aware of the art that was stolen by the Nazis, and of the “degenerate” art that was forbidden, all of which is a part of this story. But sadly, other atrocities abounded, and those need to be known. So, the Lebensborn project, the Jewish Skeleton Collection, and the saga of the Wolf’s Lair food testers – 15 women that were forced to test Hitler’s food for poison – are all a part of this story, as well as a few other lesser-known events. I did a lot of research, and of course have tried to stay as close to the historical timeline and descriptions of real life figures as possible. The food testers were not actually kept near the Wolf’s Lair until after the 1944 “Valkyrie” attempt on Hitler’s life, so in order to fit the storyline, I had to alter the time of their stay slightly. Some who have read it say that they learned a great deal, loved the characters and story, and even want to see a sequel! We’ll see. I think it’s a tale worth telling and reading. I hope you do, too!