Today I’m part of the Bookouture blog tour for Marion Kummerow’s WWII historical novel of two sisters separated at Bergen-Belsen who defy the odds in finding each other and surviving the war.
Here’s the overview:
1944, Germany. Two sisters seek to overcome impossible odds to be reunited, in this utterly devastating and unforgettable novel about sisterhood, courage and survival.
All they had left was each other. Until the Nazis tore them apart.
After years of hiding from the Nazis, Rachel Epstein and her little sister Mindel are captured by the Gestapo and sent to the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen. The only ray of light for either girl is that they are together.
But on arrival they are separated. As she’s seventeen and deemed an adult, Rachel is sent to work in a brutal factory whilst four-year-old Mindel is sent into the so-called “star” camp for Jewish prisoners. All on her own, Rachel knows her sister will have no chance of survival—unless she can find someone to take care of her.
Working in the windowless, airless factory—filling munitions casings with chemicals that burn her fingers and make her eyes sting—the only thing that keeps Rachel going is the thought of her little sister. Because if there’s even a chance Mindel is alive, Rachel knows she must try to save her.
But, separated by barbed wire, and treated brutally by SS guards who do not even see them as human beings, can either of the orphaned sisters ever dare to hope that they’ll find their way back to each other? And to freedom?
A completely heartbreaking, utterly gripping tale of courage, loss and overcoming impossible odds, perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Ragged Edge of Night and The Orphan’s Tale.
I enjoyed this story. I’m always struck by the resiliency of young people surviving war, be it in the past or in present day. The ONLY thing that I would have changed in this book is that Mindel seemed older to me – more like seven than four. It kept jumping out at me that she seemed (developmentally) older than four. I had the good fortune to connect with Ms. Kummerow on this very point and she shared that she used her own daughter and things she was saying at the same age as her model. So there you go!
Overall I enjoyed this story and I always appreciate an ending with a good resolution! I loved the characters, especially Mindel’s special friend, Laszlo. This is the first novel my Ms. Kummerow that I’ve read. I’ll need to look for her others as she often writes about WWII.
Thank you for my review copy and making me part of the tour!
Marion Kummerow was born and raised in Germany, before she set out to “discover the world” and lived in various countries. In 1999 she returned to Germany and settled down in Munich where she’s now living with her family.
Inspired by the true story about her grandparents, who belonged to the German resistance and fought against the Nazi regime, she started writing historical fiction, set during World War II. Her books are filled with raw emotions, fierce loyalty and resilience. She loves to put her characters through the mangle, making them reach deep within to find the strength to face moral dilemma, take difficult decisions or fight for what is right. And she never forgets to include humor and undying love in her books, because ultimately love is what makes the world go round.
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