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Stephanie Landsem Books In Order

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Publication Order of The Living Water Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

In a Far-Off Land (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Code Name Edelweiss (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Gaze Upon Jesus(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Stephanie Landsem is an American author of historical fiction books. She loves writing about women in history because she loves adventuring in far-off times and places. Stephanie has backpacked through Germany and Eastern Europe, studied in Salzburg, adventured through Morocco on a camel, and floated on the salty Corinthian Sea. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, their adult children, two cats, and a dog. When not writing, you will find Stephanie cooking, gardening, and dreaming of traveling to far-off places.

Published in 2023, Code Name Edelweiss casts a revealing light on the often-overlooked narrative of American anti-Semitism in the lead-up to World War II while also highlighting significant yet underappreciated efforts to combat fascism within the United States.
In the summer of 1933, Liesl Weiss finds herself navigating the vast and previously reassuring landscape of MGM’s movie lots and sound stages. For Liesl, a second-generation employee of the studio, these spaces represent not just the magic of cinema but a stable livelihood. However, her sense of security is shattered when an executive’s unwelcome advances culminate in her dismissal after she defends herself against his attempt to steal a kiss.

Faced with the daunting task of supporting her mother, two children, and brother, Liesl’s search for employment is met with closed doors despite her exceptional secretarial skills and top marks from her secretarial school. Her fortunes seem to shift when, in an employment office, Liesl spots a job listing seeking a secretary fluent in German—a language her immigrant parents had taught her. Seizing the opportunity, she takes the listing when the recruiter momentarily leaves her desk and makes her way to Leon Lewis’s law office.
Leon Lewis, an attorney deeply troubled by Adolf Hitler’s ascent and the vicious propaganda emanating from the Nazi regime, has been a vigilant observer of the growing wave of anti-Semitism in the United States. He is acutely aware of the menacing rhetoric from groups like the KKK and the bitter grievances of unemployed men who blame Jewish business owners for their plight.

Leon Lewis’s discussions with influential figures in politics and business have only fueled his determination, as he’s met with indifference toward the dangers of fascism and racism. Undeterred, Leon sets out to form his covert network to address the rising threat he perceives as imminent. Liesl Weiss, though not an ideal candidate for his legal practice, emerges as the perfect operative to penetrate The Friends of New Germany. This organization, posing as a charity/social club in Los Angeles and closely associated with the Aryan Bookstore, serves as a focal point for increasing Hitler’s ideology and the National Socialist movement in America.

Initially, Liesl harbors deep skepticism about Leon’s claims. The thought of actual Nazi sympathizers operating within her community seems far-fetched. Yet, the pressing need for employment drives her to accept Leon’s offer. Upon infiltrating The Friends of New Germany as a volunteer secretary, Liesl’s disbelief swiftly turns to shock as she uncovers the grim reality Leon had warned her about.

Enter Thirteen, an ex-Pinkerton detective with a history of infiltrating radical factions. Having served in the Great War, he sees his involvement in Leon’s operation as an opportunity to contribute to a critical cause, perhaps even helping America preemptively counteract or altogether sidestep the looming conflict. Despite his experience, Thirteen is taken aback by the ease with which Nazi ideologies have gained traction in the U.S., a concern magnified by his interactions with SS officers and German officials actively supporting The Friends of New Germany.

Thirteen’s path crosses with Liesl, the new secretary, whose outward alignment with the club’s hateful beliefs initially disheartens him. Yet, as their acquaintance deepens, he starts to question his initial impressions, suspecting there might be more to her involvement.
The authenticity of the characters enriches the narrative. Liesl, a woman haunted by the disappearance of her husband and the shadows of her father’s death in the Great War, embodies the struggle of many during the period. Left to fend for her family, her life is constrained by the overwhelming need to provide and protect. Liesl’s initial encounters with anti-Semitism—a teacher’s bias against her daughter and the public humiliation of a Jewish neighbor—are met with silence, a reflection of her precarious situation and the pervasive fear of ostracization.

This story also critically examines how propaganda preys on the vulnerable, illustrating the subtle yet powerful ways in which ideas of superiority and hate can take root in a society. Liesl’s brother’s experience highlights the insidiousness of such ideologies and the importance of awareness and questioning.

The Well is the first novel in The Living Water series by Stephanie Landsem. Drawing inspiration from the evocative storytelling found in Francine Rivers’s Lineage of Grace series, The Well by debut author Stephanie Landsem offers a compelling reimagining of the biblical narrative of the woman at the well. Set in the Samaritan village of Sychar, the well stands as a beacon of community and blessing for its women, a place where water and words flow freely among friends. Yet, for Mara and her family, it symbolizes isolation and scorn, as they bear the brunt of the village’s disdain due to her mother Nava’s past indiscretions.

Amidst their daily battle with the looming shadows of hunger and banishment, Mara’s life takes an unforeseen turn with the arrival of two distinct men. Shem, a mysterious youth of wealth from Caesarea, and Jesus, a Jewish teacher whose revolutionary teachings of forgiveness and love begin to stir the hearts of many, including Nava. Tragically, Nava’s newfound hope is cut short when she is condemned and executed by the villagers, unable to escape the weight of her past.

In the wake of such despair, Mara, alongside Shem, embarks on a desperate quest for Jesus’ intervention. Their journey is fraught with challenges yet illuminated by the dawning realization of unexpected love and the resilient power of hope. The Well is more than a historical narrative; it is a story rich in cultural depth, exploring the intricate dynamics of Jesus’ time through the lens of personal and communal transformation.

Stephanie Landsem’s narrative mastery weaves a tale of redemption, showcasing the transformative impact of forgiveness and love on individuals and communities alike. The Well invites readers to experience the ancient world anew, to feel the dust of Samaritan roads beneath their feet, and to witness the timeless truth that even in the darkest of wells, the light of hope can still be found.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Stephanie Landsem

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