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The Hidden Village: A Story of Survival in WW2 Holland Kindle Edition
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel. See more
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A story of ordinary human beings performing heroic acts.
The story of those who did not just sit by and do nothing while their neighbors were persecuted.
A story of Jews and gentiles together going to extraordinary lengths to save human lives.
The story revolves around a Holland youth, Jan, and a Jewish girl, Sofie, along with her best friend Liesbeth, a Holland girl. Sofie was in school with Jan’s brother Oscar and her best friend Liesbeth. Sofie had a crush on Oscar and he had one on her. Liesbeth, who was more outgoing than Sofie, encouraged her to get to know Oscar better. Shortly after this, Sofie’s world collapsed when she was forced into hiding because she was Jewish. She was among the first to go to live n Berkenhout woods and the last to leave. Oscar had helped build the huts they were to live in and then was sent elsewhere to help. Liesbeth worked with the underground to get food for the Jews and helped keep Sofie’s spirits up as she was separated from her parents. Jan, Oscar’s little brother, ached to help but was continually thwarted from helping by his own father. Jan didn’t understand that his father was trying to protect him. However, a ten-year-old boy finds a way to get into trouble.
The book is quite interesting and well-written. Knowing that Berkenhout did indeed exist as did the majority of the characters makes it even more interesting. It makes you wonder how many places like this existed throughout Europe and remain unknown to this day.
The Hidden Village is YA historical fiction set in Holland during World War II. It features the work of the Dutch resistance who hid people from the German army, primarily Jewish families. This story is about a group who created Berkenhout, a hidden village deep in the woods, which the Germans spent many years trying to find. Meanwhile the resistance secretly moved people, food and escaping allied pilots. To give added interest, it's actually based on a true-life story, from the memories of the author's mother.
The storyline represented many who risked their lives daily in the fight against the German occupation. It was hard to pick a favourite character; several were children, but I think Jan was portrayed well by the author. The cast of characters is large and interesting, and at times it was hard to keep them all in my head; I wondered if the story would have had more impact with less characters, but more time spent developing key people and the parts they played.
Despite constant raids by the Germans, this is not an action/suspense thriller but an examination of the conflicting emotions of the people forced to live in the village, their reluctance to do so, etc; Sofie worries that she might never be reunited with her family, for instance. It's very much a 'human interest' story, with just a dash of intrigue; the head woodman, Henk Hauer, is under suspicion because of his meetings with the Germans. I would have liked a little more practical information about the construction of the village and how it was hidden, which confused me at first, though this becomes clearer later on.
This is an informative piece of work from an important time in history which highlights the bravery of the Dutch resistance, and shows what the time was like for those who suffered through it.
The story revolves around characters in a Dutch village who help hide Jews from the German soldiers during WW2. From the first chapter you are engaged with the characters and I even found myself warning them when they were due to be raided - OUT LOUD! Sensitively written, with a page-turning plot, this is a wonderful new book from Imogen.
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