Even though this book doesn’t fit the genre I usually read (i.e., romance) I still wanted to read this book as I love historical fiction and I love to learn about times and places I may not be as familiar with. My thoughts:
What I liked
The Dutch. I don’t know a whole lot about the Dutch and their experiences with occupation during World War II, but through Dirk’s eyes, the reader is taken on quite the journey across the country.
Spiritually, the novel shows characters praying and deals with why you would believe in God when bad things happen.
What I didn’t like
Dirk. But only because there was nothing very specific about Dirk. He could have been any boy who cared about his little sister. I didn’t know his likes or his dislikes. I didn’t know who his friends were and who his enemies were (other than the obvious). Because his experience did not come off as unique, I failed to connect with him as a reader. Furthermore, for a boy who was living where he was living, in the times in which he lived, his failure (even his younger sister’s failure) to be prepared for the situation he found himself in was…odd.
Portrayal of Nazis. There is a character in this book who gets captured by the Nazis and taken in for questioning. In the book, the Nazis play a series of psychological games with this person. I have serious doubts that this was a thing that happened. Especially at the end of the War when the Germans were much more focused on their own survival. I could, of course, be wrong, but it is my understanding that they killed people in the resistance and moved on. Also, there was this odd scene towards the end of the book where there’s a standoff between a Nazi and some of the main characters…and while I realize that this book is marketed towards children, it painted the Nazi as almost ridiculous. Nazis were not ridiculous (as in, not silly) or they would not have succeeded as much as they did. The ending felt Disney-esque when it should have been absolutely terrifying.
Overall, I wasn’t truly a fan of this book. Unfortunately, the characters did not quite come to life for me.
** I received a copy through Tyndale via Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.”