World War II is one of my favorite historical eras to read about. I do find that they tend to be heavy and take a little longer to read but I don’t see that as a deterrent. I was excited to dive in and hear a new story.
The Girl from the Train is set at the end of and after World War II, you follow the life of a young orphaned refugee girl. My heart just wept for what she went through and how difficult her life was. The content is not overly descriptive of the horrors of the war, but you can just imagine it all so clearly. I find that when I read about a child going though something horrific it really pierces your heart.
Rather than being singularly focused on what the Jews went through, there was also focus on the Russian involvement as well as other countries outside of Germany. Now that may not be a unique idea, but it was a change of pace from the usual perspective. At least for me. In addition, Irma Joubert chose to write the story spanning several years. By doing that we are invited to watch the young girl grow up and see how she endured and was affected. I find that brings a lot of closure to a story born of tragedy. The characters were well done and I gladly watched them change and grow over a long timeline.
The ending may be potentially controversial but I will admit to being glad for the way the story went. So many stories simply end in despair, and it’s no wonder with the subject matter being what it is, so I didn’t expect a perfect ending. However, I do feel as though a happy ending was hinted at from the start. That could be what fostered my hope. I was not disappointed.
I would easily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. Despite the subject matter I would say that it’s suitable for a younger audience. There’s nothing overly graphic if that’s a concern. It’s a beautiful story. I loved the inclusion of Gretl’s walk with God and all of the political and region information involved. It’s quite heart warming, rather than simply woeful and heart rending. It’s an International Best Seller for good reason. If you decide to read it, come back and let me know what you thought!
*I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. However I am under no obligation to read or review and my words are my own*