Girl in the Blue Coat

Narrated by: Natalia Payne
Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (227 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An unforgettable story of bravery, grief, and love in impossible times.

The missing girl is Jewish. I need you to find her before the Nazis do.

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman's frantic plea to find a person - a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.

Meticulously researched, intricately plotted, and beautifully written, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, gripping audiobook from a bright new voice in historical fiction.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2016 Monica Hesse (P)2016 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A gripping Story of Love and War

Another reviewer did provide a spoiler for this book. Without reiterating it, I thoroughly understand why things unfolded the way they did. I enjoyed the author's sense of character, time and place. Her characters were mostly young people, trying to navigate a world at war, at an age when you think everything should be black and white and they realize, too late, that there's so many shades of gray.
I love the characters, their bravery, their cowardice... it's a young adult novel that will appeal to adults. The writing sucks you in and won't let go, the narration is good (with some imprecise dialogue and slightly-off accents). Well worth your time and credit.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A most powerful book

Where does Girl in the Blue Coat rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

top 10% with Willa Cather and Kent Haruf

What was one of the most memorable moments of Girl in the Blue Coat?

there were many but I particularly appreciated the discussion following the ending.

Have you listened to any of Natalia Payne’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Natalia was amazing. Pronouncing the Dutch words and making the story so vivid. I have not listened to her narrations before

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I was on a cruise in Tahiti so I listened at night. But I am on my second listening.

Any additional comments?

Thank you Monica for falling in love with the Dutch and presenting such a tumultuous time so well and powerfully.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Sad, Powerful, Mystery, Romance, Historical.

Sad, Powerful, Mystery, Romance, Historical. I usually hate reading but this book is probably by far one of my favorite books ever. Audible really has helped me read and love the idea of reading. I usually don't do too well understanding the book when I read myself but having the book following along helps me understand the plot and theme of the book. Monica Hesse is a very gifted and talented writer. I never really had been interested in books but thing book was impossible to put down. The flashbacks really set the stage knowing what happened between charters before and why they are at the stage they are in the book. the accents and music make me feel like I'm there a bystander witnessing what is happening.
10 out of 5 stars. Amazing read.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Summer reading that’s binge worthy!

This book was on a list of required high school summer reading for juniors. I listened to have a dialogue with my daughter and ended up falling in love with it! Thankful for the author’s hard work researching to give a vivid picture of what real people in that hard time had to experience. The fictional characters are very believable and it would be nice to see how their lives turned out after the war. Worthy of a sequel!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fiction But Not Fiction

Loved that the author based the story on her visit to Amsterdam and Holocaust sites. Great story

1 person found this helpful

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book!!

This story is amazing and will keep you guessing until the end. Excellently written and narrated perfectly. I loved the character development and well- researched details of the period, location and events. Ready to read another book by this author!

1 person found this helpful

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Wow!

What a great story,I love to anticipate the story but was not able to do that. Wonderful story of belief and sheet endurance all the way to the end.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Predictable

The only reason I bought this book was for a book club.... as I thought - Very very predictable and boring plot. Tried to finish it but one of the very few books I just could not.

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Girl in the Blue Coat Book Review

My initial reaction: Why hadn't I read this or heard of this book sooner? 

The only reason I picked this book is was because it was being read as the April pick for a book club. I am absolutely thankful that I got the chance to read this book. I read/listened to half of the book one night and by noon the next day, I had already finished it. I could not put it down. I was so invested in the story, the characters, and the history the novel was presenting. 

I did not originally consider myself a person that likes books with historical events in them. However, after reading this book I have a new appreciation for them, and I actually want to read more books like this one. I had also never read any book by Monica Hesse, and the way she presents this one really has me invested in her writing. I want to read more work from her. I recently also purchased The War Outside, her most recent release, to get signed along with Girl in the Blue Coat at a book signing event Hesse was at, and I cannot wait to read it as well. 

My only "problem" with this novel is that I constantly asked myself why Hanneke was so invested in finding Mirjam. I do think that near the end of the novel, Hanneke gives a brief, sentence-long explanation of why she does. That one description of why she go to the length in her hunt for answers gave me enough to justify her search, but I will admit that I can see who someone else may disagree. It was not really something that stood out when she says why she does search so extensively, and one would actually have to ask that question early on to really notice the answer at the end.

Other than that one picky question I had, I could not find any other complaints. I was too invested in what was going on to really point out anything else that I did not like. It was so real to me! I was getting so anxious and worried. I was scared for the characters throughout. I was frightened to find out what fate Hesse had in store for her characters. When I got to the end, I found myself asking what was next. I am unsure if there is a second part to this novel. It does not need one. I simply want a second book because I really enjoyed the journey Hesse took me on in this book, and I did not want it to end just yet. 

Audible Review:

Payne's narration was well done but was too slow for me at 1.0 and 1.25 speeds. Her narration 1.50 speed was at what I would consider normal, conversation speed and the slowest speed I would listen. The favorite listening speed for me was at 1.75 speed. The speed was just right for me. For those of us who like to multitask and listen on the go, I recommend listening at a 1.5 speed, so one does not miss anything. For those who are listening while reading the book and want to listen at a faster pace, I found 2.0 speed to be the best speeds. 2.5 speed was good too, but I liked 2.0 speed better and easier to follow. 3.0 was manageable and easy enough to follow as well. I was able to keep up with a full chapter when I was testing out the listening speed and was able to get through the whole thing. I do recommend reading along with the book if you decide to listen at 3.0 speed. 3.5 speed was too fast for me, and I had to slow it down to 3.0 speed.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Author Tried Too Hard to Not Be Predictable

I liked this book OK, but the author tried SO HARD to be unpredictable that it was confusing, yet SO predictable! I did finish it, but found myself hoping it would end already.