Thank you to NetGalley, Mandel Vilar Press and Tara Lynn Masih for an ARC of this novel.
First of all do not read this book unless you have a whole day free. You will not be putting this book down!
The story is narrated by a teenage girl named Hanna who lives in Ukraine during WW2. Hanna and her family are Jews and the novel tells the story of their lives from 1941 to 1945 when the Germans begin to invade and rid the village she and her family live in ‘free of Jews’. With rumours of death camps and Jews shot on sight whispered between the adults, Hanna’s Papa decided they have no choice but to flee their home and hide in the forest and then the caves near their village.
Hanna describes the confusion, heartbreak, longing, boredom, frustration, hunger and sheer terror of their seemingly never ending struggle so vividly that you feel you are there alongside her. You wonder with her how they can survive this, how anyone could, and despair that such evil exists to want to destroy others because of hate.
This poignant and beautiful story has to be read to truly understand the utter devastation of Hanna’s ordeal and incredible strength in her will to survive it.
I did also enjoy reading the Historical Note at the end of the book. It was so interesting to learn more about the real story that inspired this book and learn more about a time in our history that we should never forget or not learn from.