Gisela Cramer is caught in Germany at the worst possible time; Germany is crumbling at the end of WWII and the Russians are approaching from the east. Caught in the tide of refugees fleeing the Red Army with her two young cousins, she befriends an escaped British POW and tries to make her way to Berlin. In Berlin the dangers increase; the Allies are bombing day and night, and the Nazis are hanging or shooting anyone suspected of not being loyal to the cause. In the midst of the chaos, can Gisela risk falling in love?
This book offers non-stop action from the very first page until the very end! I could not put it down! Although it is based on a true story, at times it is hard to believe that anyone could have lived through the reality of all that Gisela endures. The author shares the background for the story at the end of the book, which was equally as interesting as the novel itself. I’m not a huge fan of books that make my heart pound, but this is a great one!
I love the way Tolsma goes beyond the descriptions of Gisela’s struggles to survive to fully develop her as a character coping with grief and fear. Tolsma does an excellent job keeping readers guessing as to who will survive and who will not, because she develops each character. With some authors, readers get a sense that this character isn’t going to last because the author doesn’t give us a lot of insight into who they are. However, Tolsma lets readers immerse themselves into each character so much that I kept hoping and hoping that every character would somehow reunite, despite the improbable circumstances. Such great writing!
If you are a fan of historical fiction, particularly WWII fiction, you will love this book! There are some disturbing scenes toward the end of the book after Berlin falls to the Russian army that might not be appropriate for younger teens.
If you are interested in other books by Liz Tolsma, check out my review of Snow on the Tulips here:
I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.