Margot Benary-Isbert Ruth Hill Viguers - Essay

Ruth Hill Viguers

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The varied cast of characters [of Dangerous Spring], many of whom are refugees sheltering in Helmut's home, have surely been drawn from life. Especially appealing are Karin, deeply in love but unaware of the necessary practical qualifications of a minister's wife, and her young brother Till, fanatically devoted to the Hitler Youth Movement to whom the desperate last-ditch activities of the Storm Troopers bring complete disillusionment. A fine book which can do more than a library of factual accounts to make young people see the senselessness of war, and the idealism that can survive in great hearts even through the most devastating experiences. (p. 272)

Ruth Hill Viguers, in The Horn Book Magazine (copyright, 1961, by the Horn Book, Inc., Boston), June, 1961.

[Dangerous Spring] is a remarkable book: the most cynical of teenagers, if persuaded to read beyond the first chapters, is likely to recognise its truth and its contemporary relevance. (pp. 293-94)

It is a tough story and Mrs. Benary, although she never dwells on horror, spares not her heroine nor her readers. She blends her tones most brilliantly; here are neither heroes nor villains, blacks nor whites, but here too the reader is in no doubt as to where goodness lies. The portrayal of character, not only that of the charming perplexed heroine, is most skilful, and so is the unobtrusively lovely painting of landscape. The author shows the last spring of war in all its incongruous beauty.

Mrs. Benary has … [a] pervading sense of goodness; her values are … complex…. Mrs. Benary has written another book of high distinction, one which treats of life-size problems with dignity and without condescension. She respects her readers…. (p. 294)

The Junior Bookshelf, November, 1961.