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Struggling with War and Love
Author Recounts French Family’s WWII Experiences in New Novel
ORMOND BEACH, Fla. – Experience World War II through the eyes of a French family as their lives are turned upside down by the German occupation in L. E. Indianer’s book, A Bridge to Elne: Epic Novel of French Resistance to the Nazi Occupation (now available through Amazon.com).
Based on a true story, A Bridge to Elne is the story of Marcel Pontier, a successful French dentist who secretly leads a militant branch of La Résistance. Marcel’s involvement eventually leads to danger for his wife, Angelina, their four children, her parents, Paul and Elizabeth Courty, and her sister, Paulette.
After a number of successful attacks on Vichy offices by Marcel’s unit of La Résistance, the Gestapo becomes suspicious of him. Marcel is arrested, interrogated and severely beaten. Unable to prove his involvement, they eventually release him. In an attempt to protect his family, Marcel takes them to the small village of Elne to live with Angelina’s parents and her sister.
Their lives are about to intersect with the life of Capt. Johann Weller, an architect commanding a German engineering battalion, who secretly opposes the Nazis. He blames Hitler indirectly for the death of his pregnant wife, Anna, who succumbed to tuberculosis because the hospitals were full with military casualties. When German forces suspect that Allied forces will attack near Elne, they occupy the little region. Families in the village are ordered to house the battalion’s officers and Johann is assigned to live with Marcel’s family.
The Courtys and Pontiers eventually warm up to Johann, and Paulette begins to have feelings for him, but they continue to keep him at arm’s length because of his involvement with the German army. However, when he is sent back to Germany, he and Paulette have fallen in love and vow to find each other again after the war.
Now working from the hills of Provence, and the Pyrennes, Marcel has begun smuggling Allied military pilots, Jewish refugees and other Frenchmen through the mountains. When he is named by the Gestapo as one of the 10 most wanted men, he realizes he will have to smuggle his own family out of France for their safety. In the dramatic conclusion of this historical novel, a shocking twist will surprise readers.
Indianer attended the University of Alabama and the Southern College of Optometry. As a retired optometric physician, he often presented lectures on eye-related subjects. He also presents on the subject of international terrorism. In his free time, he enjoys golf, skiing, photography and traveling. He has visited every continent except Antarctica. He and his wife have two daughters and four grandchildren. A Bridge to Elne is his first published work, but he has also written two plays.