Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the train tracks shortly before the train passes by, his only problem is that it was the wrong train. Fighting with the Polish resistance against Germany and Russia, their intent was to destroy a German troop transport, not destroy a train going to Auschwitz. On that train was six-year-old Gretl Schmidt. Although she is spared from the concentration camp, she is now an orphaned German Jew who finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. Jakób's guilt and compassion allow Gretl to stay with him for three years and the pair form a strong bond. But Jakób believes Gretl will have better opportunities in South Africa where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families - so long as her Jewish roots, Catholic education and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.
Poor Gretl. She had been through a lot but she was determined and headstrong and I couldn't help but root for her to have some happiness. As time went on I began to get bored. I felt like I was reading forever and getting nowhere. I was sick of reading about the minutiae of her everyday life - what colour ribbons she was wearing in her hair, what she was eating, what language she had to speak that day or what religious beliefs she had to believe in that day. We had to be told every. little. thing. I skipped the second half of the book and went straight to the epilogue, which held no surprises for me. A very tedious read.
Thank you to Netgalley and Thomas Nelson for a copy of this book.