Contact the Author | sample_mail@mail.com

Home

book

Members of an Alsatian family are swept into the crosswinds of World War II, some loyal to Germany, some to France, and some so desperate to survive they betray both countries. For one couple it means an evacuation from the city of Strasbourg to a village in Southwestern France where they live a substandard existence that becomes increasingly lethal as enemy troops occupy Free France, and the husband, a Jew, joins the Resistance.

The wife’s cousin, an SS, married to an American girl employed at IBM-Berlin, is involved in the Final Solution. Later dispatched to southwestern France, he leads raids in pursuit of Resistance fighters and Jews as part of a vast German suppression program. Will his path cross his cousin’s?

A suspense-driven story based on personal experience, family accounts, several live interviews in situ with surviving members of the French Resistance in the Dordogne, on location research and interviews with war survivors, as well as research in French, English and German WWII history books, literature, and museums.

 

Arizona Daily Star review of August 7, 2016.

“Into Crosswinds”
By Monique de Jong

Not everyone’s family story is worth rendering into a 400-plus-page novel, but you can’t say that about Monique de Jong’s. Strasbourg-born de Jong, a former professor at American University in Washington who now lives in Tucson, fictionally re-creates the experience of her Alsatian family during World War II. Some of them were Allies, some were Axis, and her father was a Jewish member of the French Resistance.

The narrative of “Into Crosswinds” concerns two branches of one family from historically disputed Alsace. Emilie Dekker’s lives in Strasbourg; her cousin Kurt Ritter’s, across the Rhine in Germany. Once Emilie’s admired older cousin, Kurt is an ardent and ambitious Nazi as the story opens in 1938. Complications soon arise: Kurt’s father hates Hitler, Emilie’s war-hating father fought for Germany in the first war. Emilie’s husband Berry is secretly Jewish, as is Kurt’s American wife, Tracey, a reality that Tracey’s IBM-executive father alters records to hide.

When Germany invades Poland in 1939, Alsace is evacuated, and Emilie’s family finds itself in bleak barracks in Dordogne region of Free France. SS Kurt’s assignment – which he hides from his family – is human extermination – effecting the Final Solution. It takes him to the Russian front. As the war continues, Berry joins the French Resistance and Tracey assists Jews hiding in Berlin. Tragedy is inevitable when Kurt is called home to prepare to expand the Final Solution to France.

De Jong has done a creditable job with this novel: While scene development is not always fiction-workshop polished, the overall story is compelling and suspense is well-constructed. For this reader, though, the most rewarding aspect of “Into Crosswinds” is the history: de Jong’s embedding this family narrative into a comprehensive, comprehensible retelling of the Second World War from inside France. It’s history through story and it stays with you.
 
[5 stars] Captivating WWII story
Review by John Ryan, Ph.D., Retired Professor of Geography and Senior Scholar, University of Winnipeg
Monique de Jong’s “Into Crosswinds” is an exceptionally well-written book. She had to write it because it recounts her frightening childhood experiences during World War II. When the war broke out she and her family were ordered by the French government to take refuge in Southwestern France leaving everything behind. They nonetheless suffered a gruesome occupation, as well as extreme privation. Monique’s father being Jewish and in danger of being deported to Germany or shot, joined the French Resistance for the duration of the war. Her mother had a German cousin she had not seen since childhood. He was now an SS who wound up participating in the Final Solution, i.e. the mass execution of people Hitler hated––invalids, Jews, Gypsies etc. Near the end of the war their paths will cross, which provides the uneasy suspense of the story.

Monique spent years researching what took place during those war years, which included interviews with people who participated in the Resistance movement in the region and others. What is truly remarkable about this book is the way she recreates this entire tale with episodes and vivid spell-binding dialogue that she envisioned would have taken place. Rather than a portrayal of dry history, the reader is immersed in the drama of people’s lives in the making of that history. The story is so captivating that by book’s end the reader is left feeling almost as if he or she had actually participated in these momentous events. To achieve this effect is the sign of a brilliant writer.
 
[5 stars] Laetitia Moreau (Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, Assistant-Professor at Aix- University Marseille, France).
“Into Crosswinds” is a captivating book. Once opened I could not close it; fortunately, I was on holidays! The characters are engaging and moving. Even the darkest ones stir us. A whole gamut of feelings pervades the novel and in spite of the context of terror (WWII) love still exists. The author makes us share the daily life of an Alsatian family whose members had become either French or German before the war and who became enemies during the conflict. The story is all the more poignant as this family has existed and that the number of misadventures it endured and are described in this novel, have been lived. Around a story cleverly strung together, one discovers or rediscovers the principal historical episodes of this dark period. I strongly recommend reading this book to all lovers of beautiful novels whatever their nationality, for the values of courage and mutual aid exhibited by the characters in this story are universal.
 

[5 stars) by Helen Schneider, member of the Women’s Explorer Club, Santa Fe
As a writer and an artist Monique de Jong writes with the eye of a painter and sensitively shares all she feels and sees. She recalls the beauty that surrounded her as a child in the Alsace region of France before the German invasion. Her book Into Crosswinds is a gripping account of her life as she was forced to flee from the Nazis with her family. She reveals the fear and uncertainty of their plight, leaving their home, not knowing if they will ever return. There is beauty in her remembrance – but trauma and pain as well. As she recalls the course of the war years, we are spared nothing of the horror of these times.
This is a book I will remember. For the first time I feel I have some idea of what the Europeans lived through, what they survived, what they suffered. At this time I was a teenager in California and could not imagine these tragedies going on across the ocean.
This is an important and powerful book, sensitively written. It is a well-researched scholarly account of this tragic period in human history.

[4 stars] March 17, 2016
By John Murray

When this book was recommended to me, I decided to give it a try because it was a combination of a couple of my favorite subjects: history & suspense. I found the book very well written with a varied group of complex characters all interrelated in some fashion. I felt I knew quite a lot about WWII, but learned some new facts, such as the relocation of the Alsatians. I was also rewarded with a book that was very hard to put down once you got started.

[5 stars] Kathy Covington. February 24,2016
I hesitate to read a new author unless it peaks my interest. Historical fiction has been my favorite; a chance to be entertained & learn at the same time. “Into Crosswinds” seemed well researched so I bought it. It truly didn’t disappoint. I learned so much about the Resistance in France. It was thrilling & exciting & I couldn’t put it down.
 
[5 stars] A dynamic story that unfolds like a movie
By FRANJAZZ , January 24, 2016

The book narrates the complexity of life for people living in the French border provinces of Alsace-Lorraine at the onset and during World War II. The story to a large extent lived and based on real events is complemented with historic and documented additions. The suspense is permanent, spiced with very moving passages where emotions are mingled. A dynamic story that unfolds like a movie. (It could be a good scenario by the way.)