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The English German Girl by [Simons, Jake Wallis]
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The English German Girl Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Length: 353 pages Word Wise: Enabled Audible Narration:
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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: 353 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 162636074X
  • 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
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #67,112 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the best books I've read in years. The machinations of the Holocaust; whilst omnipresent throughout the book - especially the first half - were not forced upon the reader in graphic detail but were nevertheless handled in such a way that the sense of being a Jew in Berlin in the late `30's was quite palpable.
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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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