Thursday, March 31, 2016
Girl in the Blue Coat
I love a good book set during World War II, and Monica Hesse delivers just that with Girl In A Blue Coat, set in Amsterdam in 1943.
Hanneke is still dealing with loss of her boyfriend, who was killed by the Germans when they invaded her country. Now Hanneke works for a local undertaker as his helper. Although she helps him with his funeral business, she spends most of her time finding items no longer available during the war (cigarettes, meat) and selling them on the black market.
One of the women she finds things for asks her to help her. To her surprise, Hanneke isn't looking for anything, she has been asked to find a girl Mrs. Janssen had been hiding after the girl's family was killed in a nighttime raid.
As Hanneke goes about looking for a girl she has never met, she begins to realize what the Nazis are all about, and gives herself the chance to grieve the loss of her boyfriend, while realizing that the boy she knew was human, and not the perfect person she has made him to be in her mind.
Hesse's story has some twists and turns and brings to light the plight of the Dutch during World War II, and how the country's location put them at great risk of the Nazis.
I was lucky enough to get a copy of this book months ago, and have been thinking of it ever since, anxious to share it with students and friends.