Sometimes I think if I’ve read one World War 2 novel, I’ve read them all. (And I’ve read a lot of World War 2 fiction. I should make a list for you, if that’s a genre you enjoy.)
And sometimes I read a World War 2 novel that surprises me. And while The Girl from the Train by Irma Joubert (not to be confused with the wildly popular mainstream novel The Girl on the Train) starts during World War 2, it reaches years beyond to illustrate the effects of war on a particular girl.
I didn’t know this book or author existed before the book arrived in my mailbox. (I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my review.) But this is one of those times that I’m glad to receive a book that wasn’t on my radar. It’s worth taking note of.
The author presents a World War 2 story unlike any I’ve ever read. (And this book has been translated into English and is an international bestseller before it has released in the States.) She takes us on a journey with a young German girl with Jewish blood who escapes a train bound for the concentration camps in Poland. She is found by a Polish resistance member who takes her to his family’s farm to be cared for.
Thus begins the intertwined lives of Gretl and Jakob and the journey that spans almost 15 years and two continents. Gretl is eventually adopted by a family in South Africa where she lives with her secrets as she grows into a woman. Jakob’s opposition to his country’s Communist rule forces him to flee. Through the years they cling to the memory of each other. Until the improbable happens.
That’s all I’ll say so I don’t ruin the surprise.
From the setting to the storyline to the writing, I enjoyed this book as a whole.
You can look for this book at Target this month, and I don’t think you’ll be sorry for letting this story into your life.