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The English German Girl [Kindle Edition]

Jake Wallis Simons
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £3.47 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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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.


Product Description

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: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #76,830 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 46 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
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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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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very moving and absorbing book... 11 Jun. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I'd highly recommend this book. It's one of those books that you can't put down and it's easy to get lost in the world. As a book based on a Jewish family in World War II Germany, the author carefully entwines fiction with historical fact. The effect is very moving and brings history to life through the story of this Jewish girl's escape. A very beautiful read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good idea, worth a read 9 Sept. 2012
Format:Paperback
I've never read a novel that is based so closely on the Kindertransport experience (though I've met and worked with people who came on it). Rosa is a great character, and her family in Germany completely believable - that part of the book was the strongest for me. The second half seemed to lose some of the pace - perhaps because it's easy to think you know how it might end. It was a little overlong but I was glad I'd read it and it made me think both about the terrible choices that parents had to make, but also the pressure felt by the children. Having read this book it's even more remarkable that some of them seem to have been able to feel nothing but gratitude for the way their parents showed their love by helping them to escape.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving Evocation of a Stormy Era 11 April 2012
By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
A beautifully written story of World War II and the Kindertransport. Rosa Klein spends her early years happy and prosperous in Berlin. Her father Otto is a successful surgeon, her mother Inga a cultivated intellectual. The family have a lovely apartment and a maid, and make the most of all the culture Berlin has to offer. But when Hitler is appointed Chancellor in 1933, things begin to change horrifically for them. Otto loses his job, eventually becoming a schoolteacher. The family have to move apartment, and Inga begins to take in work as a washerwoman and seamstress. Rosa, her brother Heinrich and little sister Heidi are bullied at school for being Jewish. Inga and Heinrich both turn to the Jewish religion and their Jewish identity to help them (very movingly written about by Wallis Simons). Things get worse and worse for the family, but Otto, who still regards himself as a German as much as a Jew, refuses to contemplate emigration. After the horrors of Kristallnacht he changes his mind, but too late for the family. In desperation, they manage to get Rosa a place on one of the last Kindertransport trains. And so at the age of 15 Rosa is transported to London, sent to live with some distant, Orthodox Jewish relatives. Barely speaking English, and only partially acquainted with the Jewish religion, she painfully learns to adjust to life in London working for her distant cousin Mimi and Mimi's husband Gerald, helped by the kindness of their handsome son Samuel. World War II effectively cuts Rosa off from Germany, bar the occasional letter from her parents, and she loses hope of bringing them to England.

Two years later, Rosa, Mimi, Gerald and Samuel (wounded in World War II in North Africa) are living in Norfolk in a small cottage.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars ... flipped through the pages & I'm sure I will enjoy reading
Not read yet but have flipped through the pages & I'm sure I will enjoy reading it
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good reading
Published 2 months ago by Hilary Dennis
4.0 out of 5 stars Educational
Read for our book club in Germany so it was a very fitting book to read. An interesting viewpoint from the main character and a very sad story. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mummy0412
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
an amazing, extraordinarily well-written book
Published 5 months ago by Helen.Garrick
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving and enjoyable book
To me this work is sensational. The author clearly worked hard in meticulously researching events and characters during the lead up to World War II in Berlin, Jewish refugee... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Nene Ray
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good
Published 7 months ago by j g hames
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read.
Great story. Superbly told. I would recommend it to everybody to read. You won't want to put it down once you start reading it.It would make a fantastic film.
Published 9 months ago by Liz Kingston
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and enjoyable
Thoughtful fiction illustrating the difficulties of life for Jews in pre- war Germany through the story of Rosa, who arrives in London on the Kindertransport.
Published 10 months ago by SuziQ
4.0 out of 5 stars A touching personal account
If you want to find out what our so-called enemies went through during those dreadful war years read this. Read more
Published 11 months ago by sirnigel37
4.0 out of 5 stars Takes you on a journey
Thoroughly enjoyed this different take on the subject matter but seemed to 'tail off' a bit towards the end. But then good actual ending
Published 13 months ago by JoanB
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