I have to admit that I was nervous about reading this book. I received it for review and heard great things about it, but from the back cover description, I did not think that I would like this story. I was very wrong! I was also sure that this would be a very sad tale. I was wrong again! Now, it does have sad moments and horrible things that occur. But this is primarily a glance into the life of a little girl who makes it through extraordinary circumstances.
I thought that the path her life took was very interesting. It was eye opening to see how some people treated her so badly, while others, such as Jakob, cared about her. I loved seeing how Gretl thrived and persevered regardless of the situation. She was a very smart girl.
I was especially interested in learning so much about both the Polish culture and the South African culture. The author did such a good job of making it captivating to learn specific things about these various people and places that had such an impact on Gretl. There was a gentle romance that really made the last quarter of the story very good.
I am glad to have been happily surprised by The Girl From the Train.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Auschwitz. Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks.
As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They intend to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.
Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her in. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.
But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.
Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
International bestselling author Irma Joubert was a history teacher for 35 years before she began writing. Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and rich historical detail. She’s the author of eight novels and a regular fixture on bestseller lists in The Netherlands and in her native South Africa. She is the winner of the 2010 ATKV Prize for Romance Novels.
To purchase your own copy of The Girl From the Train, please click on the book cover: