1944. ‘I have to go away, my darling. Please, be brave, stay alive, for me.’ Her mother’s voice breaks. The little girl tries to stop the forbidden tears from falling, as the train takes her mother, and she is left alone in the camp…
Berlin, six years later. When Hanni Winter shows her new husband the heartbreaking photos she captured during the war, his reaction is unexpected. His face white, Freddy can’t take his eyes off the photo of a young girl around four years old. ‘That’s Renny,’ he whispers, ‘my sister, she was taken by the Nazis…’
Hanni remembers her perfectly – the child with the wide eyes and bitten lips, who wouldn’t let herself cry despite the chaos and cruelty all around them in the camp. Her heart had broken for the little girl as she took her picture, desperate to reveal the truth about the Nazis to the world. If that child is Renny, then they must try to find her. They must return to hell on earth.
But when Hanni arrives at the black and white arch of the camp, she comes face to face with a man she fears more than any other. Can she find the strength to fight again, or will every hope for the future be lost forever?
A heart-wrenching novel about love and courage in the face of terrible odds. Fans of The Alice Network, The Nightingale and The Tattooist of Auschwitz will need a box of tissues handy.
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Title: The Girl in the Photo
Author: Catherine Hokin
Series: Hanni Winter #3
Genre: Historical Fiction
Date of Publication: January 27, 2023
My Rating: 5 Stars
The Commandant’s Daughter and The Pilot’s Girl are the first two books in Hanni Winter series by Catherine Hokin. In this third book, The Girl in the Photo, more of Hanni’s tragic story is told. The war is over, and Hanni was among countless people who experienced unspeakable horrors while trying to survive. Now married to Freddy, Hanni is excelling in her photography career.
Hanni and Freddy are at her first photo exhibit, and Freddy spies a photo of a young girl that takes him on a path of near obsession. Why? He tells Hanni that the girl, at about four years of age in the photo, is his sister Renny. Freddy is determined to find Renny, and this means returning to the concentration camp that holds terrible memories. Fred strongly believes that by returning to the Theresienstadt camp it could possibly be the successful first step in locating Renny.
As Freddy gets closer to locating Renny, Hanni is forced to deal with her painful past. Hanni has had very good reasons for not sharing the depth of events from her life of years ago with Freddy. In fact, this has led to Hanni having kept a huge secret from him. This is where this stellar read becomes heartbreaking, as Hanni is forced to reconnect with her father. What is worse is that she also crosses paths someone truly despicable from her past, and this could bring her life crashing down.
This amazing book had quite an impact on me as it tells a story that I will not soon forget. I imagine there might be one more book in the series. Lovers of historical fiction will get to know Hanni and feel her pain, all while she strives to hold onto a thread of hope as they read all three of these compelling stories.
Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
Please also enjoy this video book review -
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I seem to have followed a rather meandering career, including marketing and teaching and politics (don't try and join the dots), to get where I have always wanted to be, which is writing historical fiction. I am a story lover as well as a story writer and nothing fascinates me more than a strong female protagonist and a quest. Hopefully those are what you will encounter when you pick up my books.
I am from the North of England but now live very happily in Glasgow with my American husband. Both my children have left home (one to London and one to Berlin) which may explain why I am finally writing. If I'm not at my desk you'll most probably find me in the cinema, or just follow the sound of very loud music.
I'd love to hear from you and there are lots of ways you can find me, so jump in via my website https://www.catherinehokin.com/ or on my Cat Hokin FB page or on twitter @cathokin..
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