By: Pam Jenoff
Publication Date: September 2014
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Date: July 9, 2014
One of the most imaginative writers once again delivers the harshest history in the most thought-provoking manner, bringing to life a tale of romance and suspense that is absolutely unforgettable.
For the Nowak twins, living in a very small community in rural Poland, WWII went from being a bit of gossip in the marketplace to absolute fear, watching their own citizens ripped from their homes in the night never to be seen again. Helena and Ruth Nowak are in charge of their siblings. With their father deceased and their mother living in a hospital in the city with hardly any chance of survival, the girls work hard to make sure that the youngest are taken care of. Ruth is the beauty of the family, taking care of home and hearth; while Helena is the stronger and braver of the two and does all she can to keep the household together.
One day a week Helena hikes over the rugged mountain pass to visit their mother, and on one such visit hears the moaning of a wounded soldier hidden in the forest. Trying to keep his presence silent so the enemy will not discover him, Helena gets the man into an abandoned chapel and tends to his wounds. His name is Sam, and he is an American paratrooper who escaped his plane before it crashed – a plane that carried important information that could help the resistance beat back the Germans.
Although a romance commences, Helena’s frightening choice to help Sam by finding the people living in the darkness of Krakow who are readying to take on Hitler, puts her into a horrific and terrifying place, with twists and turns that show the Reich in their most monstrous form. As the story progresses, Helena and Ruth must face their own personal issues. Not only must they acquire passports and find a way to flee the country before it’s too late; they must also face a heartbreaking betrayal.
The author, who stunned the world with The Kommandant’s Girl continues book after book to create in-depth characters steeped in courage, forgiveness and humanity. The plot is magnificent, as well as frightening, and the ending is one that will not be forgotten for its absolute power!
Quill says: Jenoff’s innate ability to deliver the best in fiction never ceases to amaze!