‘Our parents were taken. And if we go home, the Nazis will take us too…’
Hamburg 1938. Fifteen-year-old Asta is hurrying home from school with her twin brother Jurgen. The mood in the city is tense – synagogues have been smashed with sledgehammers, and Asta is too frightened to laugh as she used to.
But when she and Jurgen are stopped in the street by a friend, her world implodes further. Her Jewish parents have been dragged into the streets by German soldiers and if she and Jurgen return to their house, they will be taken too.
Heartbroken at the loss of her parents, Asta knows they must flee. With her beloved brother, she must make the perilous journey across Germany and into Denmark to reach their only surviving relative, her aunt Trine, a woman they barely know.
Jammed into a truck with other refugees, Asta prays for a miracle to save herself and Jurgen. Crossing the border is a crime punishable by death, and what she and Jurgen must embark on a dangerous crossing on foot, through the snowy forest dividing Germany and Denmark. And when barking dogs and armed soldiers find Jurgen and Asta escapes, she must hold on to hope no matter what. One day she will find her twin, the other half of herself. Whatever the price she has to pay…
A gripping and poignant read that will break your heart and give you hope. Fans of Fiona Valpy, Kristin Hannah and Catherine Hokin will be gripped by the story of a brave brother and sister seeking safety during one of the darkest times in our history.
The snow came early that year, settling around the forest like an old bear ready for its cave.1, NORTHERN SWEDEN, 1995
(@Bookouture, 12 January 2021, 336 pages, ebook, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed, #BlogTour 13 January 2021)
I thought this was a fantastic book. I’ve read a lot of historical fiction this year but none that focus on the plight of the Nazi’s during WWII, so this was new territory for me. This reminds me a lot of the books by one of my favourite writers, Ella Carey so I felt right at home. This is a gripping, fast paced book. I was sucked right into Asta and Jurgen’s world from the start, rooting for them as their world’s fell apart and they realised just how dangerous their world had suddenly become. The historical research seemed spot on to me. There is a wrap-around story set in the present when an ancestor of the twins discovers her family’s darkest secret but only a few chapters are set during this timeline. Asta and Jurgen’s story is very much the driving force of the book. I cried buckets reading this. I really loved it.