Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details

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The secret life of an ordinary Munich girl

“They called her ‘stupid cow’, though she was smart enough to capture the man she loved when everyone—he, most of all—said he’d never marry.

Considered insignificant by those around Hitler, she was one of the Third Reich’s best-kept secrets and filmed the private lives of many notorious Nazis.

Eva Braun paid a big price for the name ‘Hitler’. And in the end, it was hers only for a day, and now, no one ever calls her ‘Eva Hitler’.

Her life with the Führer mirrors Germany’s: He first seduced, then neglected and abandoned them. Finally, he led them into the jaws of destruction.”

EvaWith these words, Anna Dahlberg begins an exploration of Hitler’s infamous mistress and her friendship with Anna’s mother in my novel, The Munich Girl.

Seventy-three years ago this month, Eva Braun’s world, and life, were coming to their end as Germany succumbed to defeat and ruin. From a bunker under Berlin, she wrote her final letters, to her younger sister, Gretl, and longtime friend Herta Ostermayr Schneider.

She writes to Herta of preparing to die, and bewilderment at how things are ending, for Germany. “Greetings to all my friends. I’m dying as I have lived. It’s not difficult for me. You know that.”

On this same day, she chose an action whose significance would only be revealed later, during the war crimes trials in Nuremberg. In testimony there, a high-ranking German officer credited her with ensuring that one of Hitler’s last desperate orders had come to him, on April 22, rather than to someone who would actually carry them out.

As a result, the lives of about 35,000 Allied prisoners of war were saved. Among them were likely two relatives of mine, and a whole lot of those who were the loved ones of tens of thousands of people.

When writing fiction that includes elements of history, accuracy must always trump creative possibilities. It’s been suggested to me several times that Eva Braun’s “character” in the story might be conveyed through letters. However, her very last letter, to her younger sister, Gretl, asked that most of her correspondence be destroyed, and the remaining small amount hidden. It has yet to surface, and those who’ve tried to track it down doubt it ever will.

So, any story true to Eva Braun’s consistently private personality must reference only the handful of pieces of her correspondence that are still in existence.

And seek, as so many stories do, to find the story of a life between the lines.

Book clubs and groups who are interested in adding The Munich Girl to their schedule are welcome to inquire about discounts on book pricing.

I also love visiting with book groups via skype or, where possible, in person.

Learn more by emailing info@phyllisring.com.

More about The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies That Outlast War at:


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Where a book tours – all by itself


In the things-I-never-imagined-or saw-coming category:

A kind reader named Tammy Gray from Australia, pictured here, met my New Hampshire friends Jane and Calvin while they were all traveling in Luang Prabang, Laos. That’s how she received her copy of Snow Fence Road.

Tammy tells me that she read it in a day on one of their long, winding bus rides through Laotian mountains. Thanks so much for reading, Tammy – and to Calvin and Jane for bringing it with you half a world away when you already had so much to carry!

I’m also thankful to hear this week from two book clubs whose members are reading the book. I am always happy to “visit” with clubs, as one has invited, either virtually or in-person, as possible. And I love receiving photos of readers with the book.

Meanwhile, over at Goodreads, more than a thousand folks entered a giveaway for three copies of the book, I was astonished to discover. One of the winners, Sarah, kindly posted a 5-star review.goodreadsh

Other news from Goodreads brings a chuckle: Snow Fence Road has been added to a list there, hopefully the first of more to come. It’s called “Sexy Limp”, in reference to character Evan Marston’s gait. Once again I’m reminded that readers will respond in ways writers couldn’t possibly predict or imagine.

The book is 35th on this list of 109 books, so far. Considering that the story contains no sexual activity, and the limp in question is the unavoidable outcome of unpleasant, life-threatening circumstance, it’s a delightful irony.945917_10201346130645907_189855719_n

Through all of publication’s unexpected developments and surprises, I have a heart full of gratitude for the grace of being able to share with others those nagging things that won’t leave me alone until I help them find their way onto pages.

More about Snow Fence Road at:


Yes, that is grass in the photo to the left. Whatever the snow, we’re going to see it again. Thanks for this shot of summer, Chele Hauschildt.