Friday, 25 November 2016

Blog Tour: Fifteen Words by Monika Jephcott Thomas

I did not have much of an opportunity as a child in post war Germany to read books as my family‘s first priority was to provide shelter and food. I had the Grimm’s fairy tales read to me at bed time but I found those quite scary and not conducive to sleep.  Hence nowadays I do not read crime stories at bedtime. Also there were  2 childrens’ books called ‘Max und Moritz ‘and ‘Struwelpeter’, by Wilhelm  Busch  which were all filled with moral advice and I did not like them a lot because of what happened to children if they were naughty. I thought was quite cruel.
What I had the chance to do however is play which I did in all my spare time alone or with friends roaming woods, playing by the local river in the fields etc. I had total freedom so enjoyed life and was not contained within the house which might have meant I would be using my imagination in play and write stories rather than being free to be outside in fields, biking etc. . . . Unfortunately children do not often have this opportunity nowadays although we know how important free play is in their emotional development.
 My love of books started in Secondary school where we were introduced to the German classics.  I enjoyed mainly the poetry of Goethe, Eichendorff and Rilke
When I got into the 6th form we were introduced to non-German literature and my favourites were Dickens, Shakespeare, Bronte sisters, Sartre
My book was mainly influenced by my family history and I found Jodi Picoult’s ‘Story Teller’ very interesting.  It gave me some insight into questions in my mind as to ’how could ‘Hitler’ happen in Germany. In her book Jodi describes how the ‘monster inside you’ can emerge through circumstances
Unfortunately I have not got much time nowadays to do reading for leisure. My reading time is taken up with professional books which I do not read again and again but use as reference material. What I read often again are my favourite poets like those mentioned above and English poets like Donne and the English Romantics.

Fifteen Words Blurb
Two young doctors form a profound and loving bond in Nazi Germany; a bond that will stretch them to the very limits of human endurance. Catholic Max - whose religious and moral beliefs are in conflict, has been conscripted to join the war effort as a medic, despite his hatred of Hitler’s regime. His beloved Erika, a privileged young woman, is herself a product of the Hitler Youth. In spite of their stark differences, Max and Erika defy convention and marry.
But when Max is stationed at the fortress city of Breslau, their worst nightmares are realised; his hospital is bombed, he is captured by the Soviet Army and taken to a POW camp in Siberia. Max experiences untold horrors, his one comfort the letters he is allowed to send home: messages that can only contain Fifteen Words. Back in Germany, Erika is struggling to survive and protect their young daughter, finding comfort in the arms of a local carpenter. Worlds apart and with only sparse words for comfort, will they ever find their way back to one another, and will Germany ever find peace?
 Fifteen Words is a vivid and intimate portrayal of human love and perseverance, one which illuminates the German experience of the war, which has often been overshadowed by history.
Purchase on Amazon UK -

About Monike Jephcott Thomas
Monika Jephcott Thomas grew up in Dortmund Mengede, north-west Germany. She moved to the UK in 1966, enjoying a thirty year career in education before retraining as a therapist. Along with her partner Jeff she established the Academy of Play & Child Psychotherapy in order to support the twenty per cent of children who have emotional, behavioural, social and mental health problems by using play and the creative Arts. A founder member of Play Therapy UK, Jephcott Thomas was elected President of Play Therapy International in 2002.


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