So I applied to this Fiction Guild, for which I got denied access. Then I get a package in the mail from the Guild, saying "Here's your first Guild project!" or something to that effect, and I of course was fairly miffed, since I was rejected and then charged with a duty which I did not sign up for. But alas, since I had the book and had no contact information for return address for the Guild, I figured, "Why not read it?". And so I began "The Girl From the Train" by Irma Joubert. I did not know it at the time, but this story and its characters would reach beyond my frusteration and grab my heart and my mind, turning into my favorite book and a near-obsession in the duration of my reading of it. I could not get the characters out of my mind!
Gretl Schmit, when the book opens, is jumping off a train full of Jews bound for Auswitz, including her family. She manages to escape, waiting by the tracks for her sister, who also is able to squeeze off the train car. Soon she hears a loud boom, and tucks down, hiding, assuming it is just another bomb. At just six years old, she is on the run,
Jakob Kowalski is a twenty-one year old Polish resistance movement worker against the Communists in WWII. When he sets a bomb on the tracks to stop a German train, he doesn't know another unscheduled train is coming by--one that will deposit a fierce, strong, determind six year old orphan into his life.
I absolutely loved this book. Gretl captured my heart and I could not get her out of my mind, She was so strong and so brave and so smart. This story has so much heart, love, and backbone to it and its characters. The plot kept me hanging, but Gretl kept me going. She was extraordinary (and reminded me to Liesel of "The Book Thief"). This book is one that will not stay on my shelf--I will be loaning it out to my friends and spreading the word of this spectacular story.
Thank you SO MUCH to Thomas Nelson and Zondervan's Fiction Guild for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review (and eventually sending me a letter of approval into the Guild after the initial email of rejection). If all the stories are like this, I will be delighted to work with you! All opinons are my own and were not required to be positive.
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