BOOK CLUB: The Girl I Left Behind

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By Andie Newton

Copy courtesy of Head of Zeus Publishing

Many thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Head of Zeus publishing company for the opportunity to read and review the e-book edition of Andie Newton’s debut novel, The Girl I Left Behind.

This confronting work is set in Munich in 1941 and focuses on the incredible and dangerous work undertaken by groups of young people in Hitler’s Nazi Germany as members of the Resistance.

Ella is 17 and has been living with her Aunt Bridget, who runs an antique shop, since her parent’s death 5 years ago. Despite young Ella’s protestations that she wasn’t a National Socialist one of her Aunt’s earliest actions was to have her enrolled in the female equivalent of the Hitler Youth, the League of German Girls, pointing out that enrolment was compulsory and her mother had broken the law by not enrolling her earlier. Now Ella waits impatiently to turn 18 and graduate so she no longer has to attend these meetings.

It is at the League of German Girls that she first meets Claudia, both of them relegated to the back of the room as “hopeless cases” they sit together ostensibly reading their copies of Mein Kampf, although their books inside the jacket cover bear no resemblance to the original.

It is through Claudia that Ella first becomes introduced to, and becomes an active member of, the Resistance.

As Newton leads us through events of the next 4 years, we experience a side of the war that is rarely spoken about. The bravery of the youth and young adults of the Resistance as they work to thwart Hitler’s plans by spying and providing information to the British, while at the same time endeavouring to rescue and protect Jews who are being hunted like animals. The constant threat of being discovered, their organisations infiltrated by those who will sell them out to the Gestapo, and their horrendous treatment when they are discovered and captured.

Newton does not, as yet, have the writing skill evidenced by Kate Furnivall, Natasha Lester or Fiona McIntosh, but lovers of those authors’ works will find The Girl I Left behind to be a powerful and compelling book and well worth reading.

Highly recommended, I give it 4 stars.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading The Girl I Left Behind by Andie Newton. You can read their reviews in the comments section below.

8 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Girl I Left Behind

  1. It seems I am on a roll for reading books based in this era at the moment and I must say this is one of the best.

    I found the pace of this book fantastic, it was easy to read and very easy to enjoy!
    The characters were realistic and likeable, Ella is brave and fearless with a good head on her shoulders, she is what most of us would hope to be living in that situation.

    I really enjoy reading about the bravery of the people left behind during the war, those fighting behind the scenes for the greater good. The Resistance is the perfect example of this. We often think the war is about the soldiers but it was more then that. Often those left behind worked just as hard to bring the enemy down as those on the battlefront.

    Will definitely be recommending this book to friends and look forward to more from Andie Newton.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Head of Zeus publishing for the chance to read and review such a great ebook!

  2. The Girl I Left Behind by Andie Newton
    Ella, also know as Sascha is the storyteller and main character of this book about a young woman growing up in war torn Germany. Ella has lost her parents and lives with her Aunt Bridget who owns an antique store in Nuremberg . Ella is encouraged by her Aunt to believe in Nazi ideologies but Ella is not so committed to the cause. Claudia, Ella’s best friend is part of the Falcons a youth based resistance group which Ella soon joins. Without giving too many spoilers away Ella has to leave Nuremberg in a hurry and her Aunt sends her to Munich where her cousins live. It isn’t long before Ella secures a job within the Reich and she soon gets deeper and deeper involved with the resistance by passing on information she deals with daily. It is scary times and Ella is taking a lot of risks.
    The Girl I Left Behind is a great read. It is a story about friendship, espionage and heroism.
    The ending caught me by surprise. I could have kept reading more about what happened in Ella’s life and would have really liked to have some loose ends tidied up but I still enjoyed the book 4/5
    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Head of Zeus for the opportunity to read and review, will definitely be recommending this title to friends and family.

  3. I enjoy reading books about the sometimes forgotten or overlooked victims of World War Two, namely the Germans who did not want or support the war, but were forced to participate for fear of their own lives. This was a well paced book and I really enjoyed the relationships and storylines, however for me the ending felt a bit abrupt. I don’t want to reveal any spoilers but after such focus on relationships all throughout the book I though the ending left a lot of things unresolved. I would have liked a epilogue to wrap everything up, but that’s probably just a personal preference. A nice easy read that I would recommend to others.

  4. While ‘The Girl I Left Behind’ is a fictional story many parts were inspired and based on true events which took place during Hitler’s dictatorship. I find this part of German history fascinating (although abhorrent).

    Ella (or sometimes known as Sascha) who is the main character lives with her Aunt and is expected to adhere to the National Socialist ideology. This façade is well played as she puts on a front in many alarming situations (something I can’t ever fathom). She must be strong and hide many secrets so that she can pursue freedom. The story is about her journey, of which I won’t go into any more details to spoil the plot…

    The novel was well researched, characters and storyline were credible. I haven’t read any of Andie Newton’s books. I give this book 4 stars with the only qualm being I felt was the buildup was slow and then a very rushed ending. Still worth the read and happy to recommend. It’s a genre I enjoy reading about, with some of my favorite authors writing on similar themes. This is why this novel pique my interest. Thank you to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Head of Zeus Publishing for the reading and reviewing opportunity.

  5. I am a big fan of this time of book and the author didn’t disappoint providing another side to the story that isn’t always told. Ella the main character is German, but she doesn’t agree with what is happening.

    I found the story well paced and at times found it hard to put down as I wanted to know what would happen next.

    My one complaint is the ending, there were so many characters and relationships that I felt deserved an ending that they didn’t get. I really was left wanting more.

    But a great debut novel and I will look out for more by the same author.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Zeus Publishing for the opportunity to review this book.

  6. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this book. From start to finish it was wonderful. It flowed freely and it made me very aware of how it was for a lot of people in the time of war.
    Totally recommend this book!!!!

  7. Of late I have read a few books on Nazi Germany, all with a different focus. I loved reading “The Girl I Left Behind” as the author bought the characters to life
    We see Ella grow in years and courage as the story progresses. She is a real heroine in a horrid setting.
    I really felt like I knew her and held my breath reading some scenes. This is a powerful debut novel and I look forward to reading more works by Andie Newtown. The ending I felt left it open for a sequel to this story, which I would welcome
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Head of Zeus Publishing for the chance to read this novel

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