Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Girl from the Train

It is King Tut Day!  It is the day we celebrate the discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb in Egypt. It is interesting what they found inside his tomb (you should check it out).  I am making homemade chicken noodle soup today.  It is the only thing that sounds good with this flu.  This flu is really messing with my reading schedule. I only finished one book yesterday because of these nasty migraines.

I just finished the novel TheGirl from the Train by Irma Joubert.  It is 1944 in Southern Poland and Gretl Schmidt (six years old) is on a train with her Grandmother, Mother, and sister, Elza (fourteen) bound for a concentration camp.  Elza and Gretl are told to jump from the train to save themselves.  The girls jump off just in time because this train is blown up shortly down the line.   Jakob Kowalski is fifteen years old and a member of the Home Army (resistance).  His group planted bombs on the bridge to blow up a German troop train.  The train with the Jews was no scheduled to come through the area.

Jakob rescues Elza and Gretl.  Unfortunately, Elza becomes ill and does not make it.  Jakob takes Gretl home to his family farm where she will live for the next four years.  The two become very close during this time.  A time comes when his family no longer wants Gretl on the farm.  Jakob takes her to Germany to get Gretl into a program that is relocating German Protestant orphans to South Africa.  They only want Aryan children (Gretl easily passes and it helps that her father was an SS Officer who died in 1941—and she has proof).  Gretl learns to hide her past in order to get a new future.

Gretl never forgets Jakob and hopes to see him again.  When Jakob is forced to flee Poland and gets an opportunity to work in South Africa, he jumps at it in the hopes of seeing Gretl again.   Will Gretl and Jakob be able to reconnect?  The Girl from the Train is told from the perspective of Gretl and Jakob.  We get to see Gretl grow up and embrace her new life in South Africa.  We learn how Jakob survived the war and how the communists changed Poland (we also get quite a bit of information on communism which made for dry reading).  I did find The Girl from the Train to be a long winded book (very drawn out).  I did not think it would ever end (and the ending was predictable).  The Girl from the Train is basically one long historical romance novel (emphasis on the history).  I think that the World War II theme has just been very overdone this year.   The writing is good, but I found it difficult to get into the story (to connect with Gretl).  I give The Girl from the Train 3 out of 5 stars. 

I received a complimentary copy of The Girl from the Train from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading Lost Girls by Angela Marsons.  Have a lovely Wednesday afternoon and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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