Code Name Edelweiss by Stephanie Landsem
Despite a long family history working for MGM Studios, Liesl Weiss is fired from her stenographer’s job during the Great Depression. Abandoned by her husband, Liesl struggles to support her two children, her mother, and her shiftless brother. Then she receives a strange job offer from Jewish lawyer Leon Lewis, asking Liesl, a part of the German-American community in Los Angeles, to infiltrate the Friends of the New Germany. Although Liesl doesn’t see a problem with a group addressing the problems faced by German-Americans – a group discriminated against after the Great War – she’s too desperate to turn down a job that will pay.
Meanwhile, “Thirteen” is serving as another one of Lewis’s agents at the Friends of the New Germany. A former Pinkerton detective, Thirteen is alarmed by the antisemitism preached by the group’s leaders and their connections to the Silver Shirts, a fascist organization in California. When he discovers a plot against the Jewish-owned movie studios, he knows he must act. But can he trust the pretty new secretary? Or is she just as enamored by Adolf Hitler as the rest of the organization’s members?
Tense and thought-provoking in equal measure. Code Name Edelweiss brings to life the glamour of 1930s Hollywood – and the grit of the Depression. Stephanie Landsem presents a harrowing look at the real-life Nazi organizations in Los Angeles before World War II, the racism lurking behind the friendliest faces, and the honest temptation to give in to that racism when times are tough – all compassionately shown through compelling characters. An outstanding novel with a thriller of an ending!