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The English German Girl [Kindle Edition]

Jake Wallis Simons
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Book Description

‘Fascinating and moving’ – Monica Ali ‘A powerful evocation of a bygone era’ – Sir Martin Gilbert ‘An important subject explored by a writer to watch’ – Jonathan Freedland 'This well-researched and very moving novel is dedicated to the children of the Kindertransport and is a fine tribute to their bravery' – The Times 'Absolutely compelling' – Sarah Crown, The Guardian 'A film waiting to happen although so vivid is Jake Wallis Simons' description and attention to detail I feel I've seen it already. If you only read one novel this year make it this one' – Lovereading ‘Rosa must carry her suitcase herself. She heaves it up, walks through the doorway, looks back one final time: Papa and Mama are standing arm in arm, they are waving, but their masks have fallen away, they look hopeless, and that is the worst thing of all; Rosa turns her back and they are gone.’ The Klein family is slowly but surely losing everything they hold dear – or ever took for granted – as Hitler’s anti-Jewish laws take hold in 1930s Berlin. In desperation, fifteen-year-old Rosa is put on a Kindertransport train out of Germany, to begin a new life in England. In a foreign country, barely able to make herself understood, she struggles to find a way to rescue her parents. Overtaken by the war, however, they gradually lose touch. Now Rosa must face the prospect of not only being unable to fulfil her vow to save her family but also of an unknown future, quite alone. One of Britain’s most compelling and original new voices, Jake Wallis Simons blends meticulous research with powerful storytelling in an epic journey from heartbreak to hope.

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Review

'Here is a new young voice in British fiction - entertaining, provocative and original. Jake Wallis Simons will surely prove a name to remember' --Beryl Bainbridge, The Independent -'Fascinating and moving' --Monica Ali' - A powerful evocation of a bygone era' --Sir Martin Gilbert

'Fascinating and moving' --Monica Ali

'A powerful evocation of a bygone era' --Sir Martin Gilbert

an exceptional accomplishment --Goodreads.com

'A powerful evocation of a bygone era' --Sir Martin Gilbert

Deftly describes a crumbling Berlin under Hitler s rule and, intriguingly, the secret societies which helped those in need --Scottish Review of Books

'A powerful evocation of a bygone era' --Sir Martin Gilbert

'Thoughtful and heartfelt.' --Balancing Kiwi Blogspot

'A powerful evocation of a bygone era' --Sir Martin Gilbert

'Thoughtful and heartfelt.' --Balancing Kiwi Blogspot

'A powerful evocation of a bygone era' --Sir Martin Gilbert

Review

'Here is a new young voice in British fiction - entertaining, provocative and original. Jake Wallis Simons will surely prove a name to remember' - Beryl Bainbridge, The Independent 'Fascinating and moving' - Monica Ali 'A powerful evocation of a bygone era' - Sir Martin Gilbert 'This well-researched and very moving novel is dedicated to the children of the Kindertransport and is a fine tribute to their bravery' - The Times 'Absolutely compelling' - Sarah Crown, The Guardian 'A film waiting to happen although so vivid is Jake Wallis Simons' description and attention to detail I feel I've seen it already. If you only read one novel this year make it this one' - Lovereading

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 652 KB
  • Print Length: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Polygon (1 May 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846972086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846972089
  • ASIN: B00796E6EO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • : Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #66,267 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An evocative exciting read 15 April 2011
By me
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is the story of the kindertransport seen through the eyes on an affluent Jewish family from Berlin. It follows a 15 year old girl as she goes to England and experiences not only the trauma of relocation but also the agony of "not knowing".
I read this book very fast indeed and was gripped to the air of tension, the brilliant descriptions of pre war Berlin, the air of menace that faced Jews in every day life and the way that old friendships and allegiances crumbled. The second half set in London, explored the (now adult) character as she becomes a Nurse, and tries to face up to what has happened immediately post war. I was stunned by her conclusion towards the end and loved the "real life" follow up the author added.
I really recommend this book - it would also make a stimulating book group read as there are so many themes to consider.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For about the first 2/3rd of the book, I felt the author did not put a foot wrong. This was an absorbing, and beautifully written novel based on the Kindertransport, where Jewish children, with great difficulty, were weaved through impossible bureaucracy to safety, before Britain and Germany went to war, after the invasion of Poland. Simons writes most beautifully; he has a real flair for the surprising image 'ravens of guilt', without becoming self-consciously literary. He is excellent at the nuances of character, can evoke time and place brilliantly and precisely, and the narrative is good - for most of the time.

The evocation of the slowly gathering forces of fascism, and the inability to believe that the seriousness of its threats were real, were carefully and realistically handled, in this story of an upper-middle class, Jewish intelligentsia family, in Berlin. The feeling of despair and dislocation of the central character, Rosa, once she arrives in the UK as part of a Kindertransport group, is also beautifully and believably handled.

However (can't say too much, in order to avoid spoilers) I felt that once the novel moves from the Norwich setting, and indeed the reason for that move, the story itself became more formulaic, and Simons began using coincidence upon coincidence in order to get a nice tidy 'wrap'. The complexity and reality of his characters deserved a less predictable outcome, a greater ambiguity. Life has a habit of being untidy, unfinished. More could also have been made of the fact that German nationals - even escaped Jewish German nationals, were often suspected of being spies, and thus faced an even more desperate time as asylum seekers. This is certainly hinted at, but could have steeped a little more clearly into Rosa's daily consciousness.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves 30 Aug. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The first part of this book is really good. The main character, Rosa, goes through childhood as the Nazis come to power and steadily crush the Jews of Germany. I liked all the characters and I found descriptions of their different responses to what is happening entirely credible and moving. Without spoiling the story (and much is implied in the title anyway) the account of Rosa's first weeks in England is really good, both from her view and how she is perceived by the family who take her in. But thereafter it becomes a different novel - a love story set in wartime London, with just too many coincidences and even cliches. The ending was disappointing, too neat, the nuances of the early chapters lost.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed every minute of it 29 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I came across this Kindle book on offer during the sale at Amazon over Christmas. It had an excellent rating and the synopsis sounded interesting.

Although a work of fiction, this book is based on fact and was written by a very well researched author. The book is dedicated to the children of the Kindertransport. I myself had never heard of the Kindertransport before but for those of you who don't know, it was basically a special train that ran from Germany to England to help Jewish children escape the Nazi regime before World War 2 broke out.

Having visited Berlin myself, it brought the book to life with real place names that I recognised. It was nice that Jake Simons gave a racially unprejudiced view of the main characters and it surprised me to find that some of them were real people! For example, Wilhelm Krützfeld, a police lieutenant with jurisdiction over Berlin's Jewish district 'Scheunenviertel', who helped the main Jewish characters in the book, but also, in real life, prevented the Neue Synagogue from being destroyed by the Nazis on 9th November 1938.

Don't let it put you off, but in the first half of the book especially, there are a few German words and phrases, some of which are translated by repeating them in English but some not. This actually made the story all the more authentic and anyone with a basic understanding of the language will not find it a problem anyway.

I also enjoyed the second half of the book which was set mainly in wartime London but also for a spell in rural Norfolk. I know both of these areas very well and found it interesting to read about them in a different time period. Again, the author really brought the book alive and with his very descriptive writing.
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