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In 1942, our shocked nation is just learning how to fight a war. The Greggory family of Hiram's Spring, Nebraska, caught up in the chaos, puts their 17-year-old son on a train for a journey that will end in North Africa, fighting Hitler's Afrika Corps.


Absorbed in scrap metal drives and Victory Gardens, townspeople are horrified when German Prisoners of War march into their valley to live and work. Unknown to their American captors, this POW camp is infested with Nazis still devoted to Hitler.


Ten-year-old Sis, befriended by a POW, can't tell friend from foe, and her devotion to Danny drives her to commit an act of betrayal for which she will seek forgiveness the rest of her life.


SCAN DOWN FOR REVIEWS; for more information, click on Not to be Forgiven to the upper right.



Review by Michael Madigan, President, Colorado Authors' League

I read a fair amount of WWII fiction and non-fiction.... Not To Be Forgiven was a very different "read" for me, and that may be one reason why I liked it so. It gave me a very real feel for what life must have been in a small Midwest town during the war. I spent 36 years in the newspaper business and I thought your descriptions and handling of such tricky issues as news decisions were very accurate.


Most of all, I just liked your story. MK was a very sympathetic character, certainly. Maybe since I have a 9-year-old granddaughter I especially empathized with her reactions to the unfairness of treatment. I was most pleased with the final twenty or thirty pages, which were quite different in tone from the rest of the book. It wasn't at all the storybook ending it could have been, MK's feelings toward Horst and the Germans were raw and real. So was Danny's "bittersweet" homecoming. I thought your ending was very well crafted. The book surprised me, and I like that.


Reviewed by Marcie Wolff , Nov. 5, 2018


Your extraordinary book, Not to be Forgiven,will linger for a long time in our memories due to your meticulous research and totally believable characters cast in heartwarming, as well as very difficult situations. How few people know that we had almost 425,000 German POWs in camps throughout the U.S. Our nation was truly united for a common cause, contrary to today, and the novel inspires the reader to hope for a better future for our divided country.


I intend to send copies of the book to friends...I wish I could send copies of this very important book to high school and colleges throughout the U.S! We cannot forget the past!


MARGARET COEL, author of Buffalo Bill's Dead Now, a Wind River mystery says:


Not to be Forgiven explores the explosive emotions that ripped through the home front as World War II raged on and on. With the sure-handed strokes of a master writer, Peterson tells of friendship marred by hatred and fear, and of the way in which love and understanding can finally redeem the past. A magical and mesmerizing story.


SANDRA DALLAS, author of True Sisters and The Quilt Walk says of the novel:


Not to be Forgiven is a haunting novel about how the war twists the life of a young girl living thousands or miles from World War II battlefields. Both historian and story teller, Nancy M. Peterson, whose nonfiction books on the West are classics, writes how a wartime friendship flares into hatred, leaving scars that cause a lifetime of regret. Set against a background of wartime rural America, Nor to be Forgiven is not to be forgotten.





By Beeny Elno "Beeny": (Amazon)


A real page-turner with significant historical detail, M.K. Greggory, a/k/a Sis, tells the story of how a child experiences World War II in the heartland of America. To this small town arrives an air base and a POW facility for captured Nazi prisoners, who then provide needed work on the surrounding farms while residents are cooperating with the couponing and giving metals and other products to the war effort. No one is immune to the war. Prisoners are both human and nonhuman -- and the same is true for town residents.


M.K.'s father runs the town's newspaper, and her mother is a reporter. The deaths of young men from all the surrounding communities have to be reported, and families have to be constantly prepared for loss. M.K.'s brother is sent to war. Through his letters to the family, we can see some of his experiences, and through M.K.'s eyes, we see the effects of propaganda on the town residents. His absence continues suspense -- will he make it home again, and if so in what condition?


M. K.'s heart opens and closes, and by the end, we fully understand what "not to be forgiven " means.


I had just read The Book Thief, and I must say that Not to Be Forgiven compares well -- parallel tales of the same war on different continents...I highly recommend Peterson's novel.


Christopher Fischer, reviewer for Good Reads:




Not to be Forgiven by Nancy Mayborn Peterson is an amazing book. Written in the innocent voice of a young girl it tells the story of the Greggory family in Nebraska during the years of WWII.... An air base being set up in their vicinity, the evacuation of Japanese 'aliens', the growing hate towards Germans and Japanese in the country and the draft of Danny into the war are bringing the war closer to her life than what this reader could have imagined from a European view point. Using the perspective of a young girl enables the author to make a lot of important points, which 'we grown ups' often tend to forget. Children's naivety can put a magnifying glass on subjects such as hatred and intolerance. This is a beautifully written and heart warming story of a girl growing up, coming into her own and learning important life lessons. To me it is an amazing achievement in combining world history with a very personal moral tale that really moved me. A wonderful book that I cannot recommend enough.


See for complete review.


Sandy Whiting in ROUNDUP Magazine June 2014:


"Some actions have forever consequences, especially those done in anger Although 11-year-old Mary Kathleen, known as MK lives in the middle of the United States during World War II, that far-off war still affects her and her community. When drunken men wreck havoc on the local cafe owned by those of Japanese ancestry, citizens rally to support the owners. When MK lashes out in anger at an innocent German POW who has befriended her, the revelation of their friendship results in tragic consequences to the man. This novel would be a good read for the 'tween group, too. It's a good lesson in history, and how hasty decisions affect others. "


Ariel Smart in THE PEN WOMAN, National League of America Pen Women, Spring 2014:


"Hiram's Spring, Nebraska, an 'our town' shocked to learn it will host German Prisoners of War, who will be shipped into their valley to work in their fields. The relationships and dynamics of their presence in the community are well-addressed in the story.


Mary Katherine's idol is her brother, Danny, who...will be fighting men like those who will be working on their farms. 'Sis' takes a vicarious journey through the evils of war with her beloved brother. Underneath the patriotism and irrational fear lies prejudice and cover-ups that only now in this decade have been known.


...Nancy Mayborn Peterson asks deep, philosophical questions in her novel, Not to be Forgiven. God only knows if we can answer truthfully."


"Nancy Mayborn Peterson perfectly captures the voice and spirit of Sis Greggory, the precocious young girl whose patriotism is fueled by love for her soldier-brother Danny. She deftly portrays Sis's attempts to reconcile her hatred for the German enemy, a constant threat to Danny's safety, and her friendship with Horst, a gentle German POW assigned to a nearby prison camp. Through Sis, this paradox builds to a shocking climax that left me stunned. Its powerful impact remained with me long after I'd turned the final page."

Carolyn B.

      I'm reading your book now and am enjoying it, remembering events and phases from those years, and remembering the feelings too. You've captured it all so well.
      I'm at the part where the POW camp is being built. My Dad worked at the air base, and we had a lady whose husband was stationed there living in one of our spare rooms ---- and I almost freaked out the first time we had to go to the basement at Roosevelt (Grade School) for a drill.
     I'll be reading long past bedtime tonight. Wonderful job, Nancy.

Shirley F. (librarian, retired)