Today I'm welcoming Rachel R. Heil and her book - Leningrad: The People's War (Leningrad book 1) - to my blog as part of the blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club (founded by Mary Anne Yarde)
I am delighted to share an excerpt with you all, but first I will introduce the book.
Leningrad: The People's War
University student Tatiana Ivankova tries to look ahead to the future after a family tragedy that characterizes life under the brutal regime. But, when the rumors that have been circulating the country become a terrifying reality, Tatiana realizes that the greatest fear may not be the enemy but what her fellow citizens are prepared to do to each other to survive.
As his men plow through the Russian countryside, Heinrich Nottebohm is told to follow orders and ask no questions, even if such commands go against his own principles. His superiors hold over him a past event that continues to destroy him with every day that passes. But, when given the opportunity to take an act of defiance, Heinrich will jump at the chance, ignoring what the end results could be.
Leningrad: The People’s War tells the harrowing beginning of a war that forever changed the landscape of a city, told through the eyes of both sides in a tale of courage, love, and sacrifice.
Publication Date: February 5, 2021
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 326 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
You can purchase a copy of the book via -
You can also get this book on Kindle Unlimited.
Now for the excerpt -The whistles squealed and Heinrich slid away his mirror, closed his bag, and stood. He threw his luggage over his shoulder, grabbed his overcoat, and headed for the door. From the small window, Heinrich could see the figure of his old friend Maximilian Rothmann waiting by the tracks, hands behind his back and leaning on his heels. So, his appointment hadn’t been accidental after all.
The train came to an uneasy stop and one of the workers opened the door for Heinrich. Before him stood a grinning Max.
“I should have known.” Heinrich stepped on solid ground.
Max strode up and held his hand. “It’s good to see you again, Heinrich.”
A friend from their days in training, Max was a handsome individual. Slightly over six feet tall with blond hair, calm brown eyes, and smooth skin, he never had issues finding a female companion. Strange he hadn’t settled down yet.
“So, when given the option, you request someone all the way from Belgium?” Heinrich chuckled. “I think you have something against me.”
“Come now, Heinrich!” Max held up his arms. “You can’t tell me you enjoyed Belgium. Hell, you nearly lost your life there.” Max motioned to his chest, where Heinrich’s injury was located.
“Still a bit sore, might I add! They weren’t planning on discharging me for another few days.”
Max rolled his eyes. “You were taking advantage of it, I’m sure.”
“Nevertheless, when the doctor gave me some pills in case it flared up, he told me to take it easy. I exploded with laughter.”
Max joined in and patted Heinrich on the back. “Come on, let me take you to your camp.”
The city of Pinsk had been taken the day before, and from Heinrich’s new company’s position, he could still see the city smoldering. Max led Heinrich into a tent. In the middle of the space was a large table with several maps and a bed in the corner.
“Don’t get too comfortable,” Max advised. “Your unit is heading out early tomorrow morning.”
Heinrich placed his bag on the ground next to the table. “And what is our ultimate goal, Moscow?”
Max grinned. “Where were you born again, Heinrich?”
He closed his eyes and shook his head.
Max howled. “Doesn’t seem like my appointment was made out of spite, now does it?”
“No.” Heinrich sighed. “But it was foolish.”
“How do you suppose?”
“Max, it will kill me inside to bomb that city to ruins.”
“Well if the rumor I am hearing from upper command is true, then it will make you happy.” Max stood straight. “We aren’t going to bomb Leningrad.”
“No?” Heinrich raised an eyebrow.
“No. We’re going to starve it out.”
Heinrich felt his mouth drop. “Starve it out?”
Max’s forehead wrinkled. “You seem upset.”
“I applaud Higher Command for not destroying the city but starving it doesn’t seem like a mercy plea either.”
“Heinrich, I wouldn’t worry about this.” Max waved away his concerns. “At the rate the Red Army has been retreating, the city will be abandoned. No need to make yourself ill over it.”
Heinrich made himself look relaxed but inside he was stirring. Why inflict such needless suffering on civilians who wanted nothing to do with the war? He hadn’t wanted to burn the city but that seemed more humane than starving its people.
“In any case, you’ll have several other cities to get through before Leningrad.” Max gestured to the map. Heinrich leaned over while Max pointed to the city of Smolensk. “This is our next target. Some of the companies are already heading that way so you’ll need to catch up. I’m leaving tonight with my unit.”
Heinrich nodded. “I’m used to chasing you, so it should be fun.”
“This isn’t military school anymore, Heinrich.” Max playfully jabbed his finger into Heinrich’s shoulder. “I rank above you. Remember that.”
“Not for much longer.” Heinrich grinned.“Fighting words, Nottebohm. Ranks are earned by blood these days. This isn’t France—or even Poland for that matter.”
His words had a serious tone to them that Heinrich did not fail to notice. “I understand.”
Max shook his head. “You don’t, but in time you will.”
Heinrich said nothing, allowing Max’s words to sink in. What had he signed up for?