Book Review: The Winter Orphan by Kristin Beck


Title: The Winter Orphans

By: Kristin Beck

Genre: Historical

Pages: 416

Release Date: September 13th, 2022

Publisher:  Berkley Books

Rating: ★★★★☆


Summary from Goodreads:

A poignant and ultimately triumphant novel based on the incredible true story of children who braved the formidable danger of guarded, wintry mountain passes in France to escape the Nazis, from the acclaimed author of Courage, My Love.

In a remote corner of France, Jewish refugee Ella Rosenthal has finally reached safety. It has been three years since she and her little sister, Hanni, left their parents to flee Nazi Germany, and they have been pursued and adrift in the chaos of war ever since. Now they shelter among one hundred other young refugees in a derelict castle overseen by the Swiss Red Cross.

Swiss volunteers Rösli Näf and Anne-Marie Piguet uphold a common mission: to protect children in peril. Rösli, a stubborn and resourceful nurse, directs the colony of Château de la Hille, and has created a thriving community against all odds. Anne-Marie, raised by Swiss foresters, becomes both caretaker and friend to the children, and she vows to do whatever is necessary to keep them safe.

However, when Germany invades southern France, safeguarding Jewish refugees becomes impossible. Château de la Hille faces unrelenting danger, and Rösli and Anne-Marie realize that the only way to protect the eldest of their charges is to smuggle them out of France. Relying on Rösli's fierce will and Anne-Marie's knowledge of secret mountain paths, they plot escape routes through vast Nazi-occupied territory to the distant border. Amid staggering risk, Ella and Hanni embark on a journey that, if successful, could change the course of their lives and grant them a future.


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Another heart wrenching ww2 era read with characters who strive to beat the odds.

With any good historical read, the writer needs to put the reader right into the heart of the story, and give them the feels that go along with the sad, inconsolable content. Kristin Beck has the ability to do just that and I found myself teary eyed throughout the story. A sign of a good book.

This genre is always hard for me to read, but I keep finding myself drawn back into the stories. The characters bring a strength that we can only imagine and hope to be able to embody.

A great read by Beck.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

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