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The Girl From the Train (review)


About the Book:

Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Auschwitz. Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks.

As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They intend to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her in. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.



My Review:

Absolutely lovely story. I was captured right away with Gretl’s character and her story. A little girl during World War II she had to overcome many obstacles. Many things she remembered but had to keep it to herself in order to survive. Some she had to learn to think about other things in order to get through. Determined not to be a crybaby she never really learned how to make peace with her past. But through the love of her adoptive family and the one man that knew almost everything about her she is able to come through it and finally put her past behind her.

The book was so well written that it keeps reeling you in for more. The author weaves the story beautifully and her attention to detail to the whole experiences of World War II were spot on. I am very happy with this story, how it developed and how the characters evolved. I have read many books but I can honestly say that this one would make a beautiful movie. Especially for this time period and the histories of the countries involved.

I definitely recommend you picking up a copy of this book. You really will not be disappointed.


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