No Other, set in post World War II time, is the story of Jakob, the son of Americans of German ancestry who were detained in Port Delamar, a fictional town based on Baytown, just east of Houston, and Meri, the daughter of the mayor.
Meri had been brought up by a mother and father who were more interested in outer appearances than true beliefs. They joined the church only because it would look good and get the mayor more votes, not because they believed in God.
Jakob, on the other hand, had reason to be bitter since his parents had lost their home and been imprisoned during the war because of their German heritage. Still, Jakob's strong spirituality gave him strength. Even so, it took time for him to forgive.
I love this book, but to be honest, I'm not sure why. Is it because it is about real people who, even though they strive to live wholesome lives, still fall short like so many of us do?
Probably. But then there's the setting. At first I couldn't see why the author decided to put the characters in post World War II time. But it was fascinating. What got my attention was that the internment of German Americans took place so close to where I live. This wasn't taught in my history classes.
By the time I finished reading the book, I knew No Other wouldn't have worked in a different time period. Still, I wondered why the author, Shawna K. Williams, decided to write it this way. Here is her response:
Sidney, it was because of a dream. I know that sounds weird, but the whole premise of the story started with a dream. I hadn't even wanted to be a writer, but the parts that I knew from the dream were likes parts to a puzzle and I had to figure out how it all fit together. In the dream, I knew the general era, but the year got pinpointed to 1947 as my research pegged other details. I knew Jakob was a little younger, and that Meri was somehow his teacher, but they were both adults. The details of that were settled through research too. I also knew his family had faced discrimination, but it was a documentary on Japanese internment that prompted me to research whether this had happened to other ethnic groups.
This book is unlike any Christian fiction I've read, and I'm sure you'll agree, it is worth the read.