Yet another WWII book, nobody who follows me is surprised. But let’s be real I’m not going to stop, so let’s get into my review.
I listened to this book, as an audiobook, thanks to my libraries online app. Although this let me read the book when I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to due to time constraints, I feel like it also distanced me from the characters and what happens to them. This could be Monica Hesse’s writing style, but it seems to happen more frequently to me with audiobooks so I’ll have to read a physical copy of this book in order to find out. This distancing meant that I wasn’t massively impacted by the events as they happen to the characters, however, this doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book. I gave it 4/5*s! I just didn’t cry at any of the plot twists, which is why it didn’t hit the 5* mark.
We follow Hanneke as she is working within the black market during WWII in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. We see her making deliveries during the day, hiding what she does from her parents at night, and morning her boyfriend Bass in every moment as he was killed on the Dutch front lines. During a standard delivery, one of the women wants help from Hanneke, it turns out that she wants her to try and find a Jewish teenager that she was hiding in a secret room. She has vanished and the woman is incredibly concerned for her safety. Eventually Hanneke is convinced into helping find her, and the web of the Dutch resistance closes in around her and opens her eyes to the horrors of the Nazis.
I really enjoyed watching the various characters develop, come to trust each other and work to help those worse off than them. This is also, unless I am remembering incorrectly, the first WWII book I have read which was set in the Netherlands and followed Dutch characters. It was very interesting to me to see how this country was impacted by the Nazis regime and how the Dutch people resisted in little and large ways.
This is a beautifully written book and personally I think it is a very important topic. Books set in WWII, in all different areas, all have something that can be taken away from them and applied to the modern day. This book tells us that we should help those who are being treated inhumanely, and to use our privilege to help as many people as we can. Don’t let horrendous acts happen under your nose in your own country, and not take action against them. Even if no one else knows that you’re doing it.
I definitely recommend this book and I aim to try out anything else Monica Hesse releases.