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Thursday, February 08, 2018

Gripping WWII Novel An Engrossing Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Hanneke Bakker is a girl who finds things.  Even in an Amsterdam occupied by Nazis and plagued by war-time shortages, she manages to procure cigarettes, tea, extra meat, perfume, etc. for her grateful customers.  War-profiteering be darned, Hanneke must do something to support her parents.  Even with a job that requires taking risks, she's careful.  So, when Mrs. Janssen asks Hanneke to find a missing Jewish girl, she refuses.  At first.  Soon, though, she feels compelled to locate Mirjam Roodveldt, a 15-year-old who disappeared from the secret room where Mrs. Janssen has been hiding her.  

Asking delicate questions in occupied Amsterdam can only lead to trouble and it's not long before Hanneke finds herself attracting the wrong kind of attention.  When an old friend manipulates her into helping the resistance, she sees it as a means to an end.  With the right contacts, she'll be able to find Mirjam faster and reassure a frantic Mrs. Janssen.  The more involved Hanneke gets with the resistance, however, the more dangerous her situation becomes.  Desperate to find answers, she's taking increased risks, risks that could get her—and everyone she loves—killed.  Can she figure out what happened to Mirjam?  Or will Hanneke be the next young woman to vanish without a trace?

Girl in the Blue Coat, a YA novel by journalist Monica Hesse, tells a tense, compelling story set against the always-exciting backdrop of World War II.  Hanneke makes for an intriguing narrator—she's brave and compassionate but also haunted by past mistakes.  Her loyalty makes her both admirable and vulnerable.  The mystery she's chasing remains twisty, leading to a revelation I didn't see coming.  With an engrossing plot, appealing characters, and an intriguing mystery at its core, Girl in the Blue Coat is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a gripping, suspenseful historical novel.  I enjoyed it immensely.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a little of Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs) and violence

To the FTC, with love:  I borrowed a copy of Girl in the Blue Coat from my daughter's school library as part of my volunteer work for the school's reading program.


  1. Woah! From that description I never would have guessed it was a YA. Sounds very interesting.

  2. Oh this sounds good. I'm not a big YA reader but I'd definitely make an exception here. It sounds so intense and I love the time period. Adding to my TBR!

  3. I really enjoyed this book and like WWII books set outside Germany for a little change.


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