BOOK CLUB: The Girl I Left Behind

By Andie Newton

Copy courtesy of Head of Zeus Publishing

Many thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Head of Zeus publishing company for the opportunity to read and review the e-book edition of Andie Newton’s debut novel, The Girl I Left Behind.

This confronting work is set in Munich in 1941 and focuses on the incredible and dangerous work undertaken by groups of young people in Hitler’s Nazi Germany as members of the Resistance.

Ella is 17 and has been living with her Aunt Bridget, who runs an antique shop, since her parent’s death 5 years ago. Despite young Ella’s protestations that she wasn’t a National Socialist one of her Aunt’s earliest actions was to have her enrolled in the female equivalent of the Hitler Youth, the League of German Girls, pointing out that enrolment was compulsory and her mother had broken the law by not enrolling her earlier. Now Ella waits impatiently to turn 18 and graduate so she no longer has to attend these meetings.

It is at the League of German Girls that she first meets Claudia, both of them relegated to the back of the room as “hopeless cases” they sit together ostensibly reading their copies of Mein Kampf, although their books inside the jacket cover bear no resemblance to the original.

It is through Claudia that Ella first becomes introduced to, and becomes an active member of, the Resistance.

As Newton leads us through events of the next 4 years, we experience a side of the war that is rarely spoken about. The bravery of the youth and young adults of the Resistance as they work to thwart Hitler’s plans by spying and providing information to the British, while at the same time endeavouring to rescue and protect Jews who are being hunted like animals. The constant threat of being discovered, their organisations infiltrated by those who will sell them out to the Gestapo, and their horrendous treatment when they are discovered and captured.

Newton does not, as yet, have the writing skill evidenced by Kate Furnivall, Natasha Lester or Fiona McIntosh, but lovers of those authors’ works will find The Girl I Left behind to be a powerful and compelling book and well worth reading.

Highly recommended, I give it 4 stars.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading The Girl I Left Behind by Andie Newton. You can read their reviews in the comments section below.

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