FICTION

Winter in Wartime

NYRB. Feb. 2020. 200p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781681374260.
COPY ISBN
Gr 5-7–A new translation of the Dutch novel about the Nazi occupation of Holland. Terlouw’s semi-autobiographical tale is set in a small town in the winter of 1944-45. Fifteen-year-old Michiel is out of school due to fuel rationing. He spends his time helping his fellow Dutch, the locals as well as the refugees on the move who come to stay with his family. Suddenly he is thrown into Nazi underground resistance work when his neighbor asks a favor and Michiel inadvertently becomes responsible for a British pilot in hiding. In the shadowy world of the resistance, Michiel must quickly make judgments on whether or not he can trust his neighbors. Are they Nazi sympathizers or are they working for the resistance? This title can be added to a list of books about World War II but not necessarily about concentration camps like Michael Morpurgo’s An Elephant in the Garden, Maryann Macdonald’s Odette’s Secrets, and Margi Preus’s Shadow on the Mountain. Readers will be fascinated and impressed by Michiel’s clandestine movements through his village and his leadership when it is time to make important, life-altering decisions.
VERDICT It is easy to understand why the novel has never been out of print in the Netherlands. A solid purchase for middle grade libraries, especially for those with young patrons who devour World War II novels.

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