The German House
Author: Annette Hess
Published: December 3, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 2 stars
Set against the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials of 1963, Annette Hess’s international bestseller is a harrowing yet ultimately uplifting coming-of-age story about a young female translator—caught between societal and familial expectations and her unique ability to speak truth to power—as she fights to expose the dark truths of her nation’s past.
If everything your family told you was a lie, how far would you go to uncover the truth?
For twenty-four-year-old Eva Bruhns, World War II is a foggy childhood memory. At the war’s end, Frankfurt was a smoldering ruin, severely damaged by the Allied bombings. But that was two decades ago. Now it is 1963, and the city’s streets, once cratered are smooth and paved. Shiny new stores replace scorched rubble. Eager for her wealthy suitor, Jürgen Schoormann, to propose, Eva dreams of starting a new life away from her parents and sister. But Eva’s plans are turned upside down when a fiery investigator, David Miller, hires her as a translator for a war crimes trial.
As she becomes more deeply involved in the Frankfurt Trials, Eva begins to question her family’s silence on the war and her future. Why do her parents refuse to talk about what happened? What are they hiding? Does she really love Jürgen and will she be happy as a housewife? Though it means going against the wishes of her family and her lover, Eva, propelled by her own conscience , joins a team of fiery prosecutors determined to bring the Nazis to justice—a decision that will help change the present and the past of her nation.
It really hurts my heart that I have to give such a low rating to a book that centers around the Holocaust. The idea was an interesting one but the execution was not good at all. The twist was ok; it was kind of obvious by the time you got there. The characters were bland and not really likable. It seems that Eva and her fiancé are the only ones who don’t realize that they don’t belong together. David Miller, for all his passion, did nothing but hinder the legal fight against the Nazis. And the ending … ugh. There was no resolution. It literally just stopped. It was frustrating and it left a sour taste in my mouth. I really can’t recommend this book to anyone.
The Paper Girl of Paris
Author: Jordyn Taylor
Published: May 26, 2020
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Sixteen-year-old Alice is spending the summer in Paris, but she isn’t there for pastries and walks along the Seine. When her grandmother passed away two months ago, she left Alice an apartment in France that no one knew existed. An apartment that has been locked for more than seventy years.
Alice is determined to find out why the apartment was abandoned and why her grandmother never once mentioned the family she left behind when she moved to America after World War II. With the help of Paul, a charming Parisian student, she sets out to uncover the truth. However, the more time she spends digging through the mysteries of the past, the more she realizes there are secrets in the present that her family is still refusing to talk about.
Sixteen-year-old Adalyn doesn’t recognize Paris anymore. Everywhere she looks, there are Nazis, and every day brings a new horror of life under the Occupation. When she meets Luc, the dashing and enigmatic leader of a resistance group, Adalyn feels she finally has a chance to fight back. But keeping up the appearance of being a much-admired socialite while working to undermine the Nazis is more complicated than she could have imagined. As the war goes on, Adalyn finds herself having to make more and more compromises—to her safety, to her reputation, and to her relationships with the people she loves the most.
So this cover. This. Cover. And the story was pretty good too.
We all dream of being left a random metropolitan apartment that has been preserved by time and we are the first to open the door in decades. I geeked out just reading it. And then finding the diary of your grandmother’s sister from WWII? I was living vicariously through Alice and thoroughly enjoying it. Adalyn’s story was great! A Parisian girl who joined the French Resistance and bravely helping to defeat the Nazis is always going to be exciting and engaging. I had tears in my eyes by the time I reached the end, which was more twisty than I expected.
My main criticism is with Alice herself. I acknowledge as a historian that we can only go by documented evidence and I hold to that. But there will always be speculation, no matter the situation. Alice apparently has no imagination and could only handle one theory at a time and that got frustrating real quick. I can’t get into too much detail because I don’t want to give anything away, but long before the truth was revealed, I wanted to throw the diary at Alice’s head just to get her to open her mind a little.
But overall, I thought this was a good book and I really enjoyed it. This is a great one to give to teens for WWII reading!
Today Kim is bringing you a video review of The Secret Room by Cynthia Mercati.
The Secret Room
Author: Cynthia Mercati
Published: August 15, 2000
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Annie of Holland learns about her values and the importance of hope and memories while helping care for a Jewish family hiding in her father’s church during WWII.
Kim’s Video Review: