Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Auschwitz. Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks. As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They mean to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl's unscheduled train reaches the bomb first. Gretl is the only survivor.
Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her home. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family. But she can't stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families - so long as Gretl's Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.
Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.
©2015 Irma Joubert (P)2015 Thomas Nelson Publishers
OK, granted it's a "chick book," but an engaging one. As usual, the women can look deep into the eyes (which are discussed at length, as well as other parts of the facade) and tell everything they would wish to know about men. That said, it's an intriguing story and well worth the read. It gives much info about wartime Poland & South Africa of the post-war & cold war period.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Great story and beautiful narration.
This is now my most favorite book! I hesitated purchasing this book. I thought it might be boring. The story and the performance was marvelous. I strongly recommend this book. I believe you will not be disappointed.
Not anyone in my reading groups
the performance was fine.
I was disappointed in how the book developed. It started out as a good and interesting "read", but it ended as a cheap dime store romance. It was as if the author forgot what she was actually writing about, or had someone write the last half of the book for her.
I was drawn to this story as my Mom's friend was a Gerrman war orphan adopted by a South African family. I enjoyed the variety of scenario ranging from WWll, post war Poland to 1950s South Africa. The characters are well drawn. The eventual love story conclusion dragged into n a bit but was still quite endearing.
For me a disappointment was lack of effort to replicate the correct Afrikaans pronunciations. I suppose it would not matter to listeners not aware of how it should sound. Ironically an effort was made to pronounce Jacob in a Polish way; as it happens this is much the way it would have been pronounced in Afrikaans. In Grietjie the Gr is guttoral and tjjie as ki. Definitely not "Greekee".
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