“Hedy walked on, forcing herself to put one foot in front of the other, deliberately edging her mind toward reality. The sea around the island were probably already full of U-boats. Soon she would once again be surrounded by those gray-green informs and hear the barking of orders. She pictured the bang on the door, Wehrmacht hands grabbing at her elbow, the house abandoned with dirty dishes still on the table. Anything was possible now.”
Hedy Dev is a young Jewish girl who fled Nazi persecution in Vienna and made her new home in Jersey in the Channel Islands. However, the new life that Hedy has created for herself is shattered when the German Army takes control of the Channel Islands. The German’s and the islanders find themselves living in an uneasy coexistence that could break at any moment. Hedy’s situation is terrifying because she is Jewish and remembers all too well how the Nazis treated the Jews in Vienna. Hedy starts working for the German Army as a translator. She finds ways to begin her small acts of defiance against the Germans quietly. While she is working, she meets a German Officer who treats her with kindness and is willing to jeopardize his safety to protect Hedy. But as the war progresses, things become more dangerous for everyone, and Hedy and Kurt have to learn to trust each other if they want to survive.
I loved reading about what happened on the Channel Islands during the war. It’s an area that often gets overlooked in history textbooks and other historical fiction books. I found it fascinating to learn about what happened to the islanders during the occupation and how the two groups co-existed. One of the things that drew me to this book was that it is based on a true story, and I was eager to learn about Hedy’s life and how she survived the occupation.
I did have a hard time connecting with the characters, which I found frustrating. I found that they lack depth, and their interactions with one another were often very dis-jointed. Hedy’s relationship with Kurt was one of the main focuses of the book, which I was excited about because I am a sucker for a historical fiction romance novel. But I just found their relationship was one-dimensional. Their lackluster interactions with each other made it hard for me to believe that they had this strong romantic connection with each other. I think the writing style and pace were partly to blame for this dis-jointness. However, Jenny did an excellent job at the description of the island and all its beauty. I could visualize the beaches and the city Hedy lived in my mind
Overall, this book is good if you are looking for a quick historical fiction read and are interested in learning about The Channel Islands during World War II.