The German Girl by Lily Graham
Published January 12th 2021 by Bookouture
Book Description: ‘Our parents were taken. And if we go home, the Nazis will take us too…’
Hamburg 1938. Fifteen-year-old Asta is hurrying home from school with her twin brother Jurgen. The mood in the city is tense – synagogues have been smashed with sledgehammers, and Asta is too frightened to laugh as she used to.
But when she and Jurgen are stopped in the street by a friend, her world implodes further. Her Jewish parents have been dragged into the streets by German soldiers and if she and Jurgen return to their house, they will be taken too.
Heartbroken at the loss of her parents, Asta knows they must flee. With her beloved brother, she must make the perilous journey across Germany and into Denmark to reach their only surviving relative, her aunt Trine, a woman they barely know.
Jammed into a truck with other refugees, Asta prays for a miracle to save herself and Jurgen. Crossing the border is a crime punishable by death, and what she and Jurgen must embark on a dangerous crossing on foot, through the snowy forest dividing Germany and Denmark. And when barking dogs and armed soldiers find Jurgen and Asta escapes, she must hold on to hope no matter what. One day she will find her twin, the other half of herself. Whatever the price she has to pay…
A gripping and poignant read that will break your heart and give you hope. Fans of Fiona Valpy, Kristin Hannah and Catherine Hokin will be gripped by the story of a brave brother and sister seeking safety during one of the darkest times in our history.
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The German Girl by Lily Graham is a dual timeline story that is heartbreaking and emotional. This was a different look at that horrendous period in time, 1938 to 1945. It begins in Hamburg in 1938 when fifteen year old twins, Asta and Jurgen Shwalbe find out that their parents have been taken to Dachau for refusing to change their paperwork to identify themselves as Jewish. They can’t go home or to anyone they know, so with the help of a friend they head to Denmark to their Aunt Trine. It is not an easy trip and it ends with Asta making it to their aunt, and Jurgen left on the ground in a forest shot twice. The second timeline is 1990s with Jurgen an elderly man with Alzheimer’s. His granddaughter, Ingrid, is finally able to get him to talk about his life before he came to live with his aunt. A past that no one, not even his own daughter, knows about. This is where we learn the story of what Asta and Jurgen endured.
This is a well written and researched book. I did not know how the war effected Denmark and the Danish people. I had heard of the Elsinore Sewing Club, but this was the first book that had them as an important part of the story. This story once again highlighted the plight of the Jewish people and how even their requests to leave the country were blocked and denied. It showed that there were good people willing to help, but there were also those who only wanted to help if it lined their pockets. This is an emotional story, especially as the characters are realistic and relatable. A well-written story that I recommend to those who enjoy historical fiction, WWII stories and dual timelines. I was gifted with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.
Buy Links: Amazon
About the Author: Lily has been telling stories since she was a child, starting with her imaginary rabbit, Stephanus, and their adventures in the enchanted peach tree in her garden, which she envisioned as a magical portal to Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree. She’s never really got out of the habit of making things up, and still thinks of Stephanus rather fondly.
She lives with her husband and her English bulldog, Fudge, and brings her love for the sea and country-living to her fiction.