As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They mean to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.
Gretl is the only survivor. Though spare
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Wow. I’ll say it again. Wow. I was not prepared for this book. The premise and the cover intrigued me, but I had no idea the journey I would be taking. I don’t exaggerate when I say it took my breath away. I know you’ve heard the phrase “I could hardly put it down”. Well, here it comes again. 😉 I read this entire book in 2 days.
Hold on to your seat, friends! This heartfelt coming-of-age story sweeps through several years and settings. The journey is long, but worth it. My heart was instantly ch
it was amazing
Rarely is there a historical novel that that so perfectly places all of its elements in a balanced way. The Girl from the Train is a love story, but it’s not a romance. It’s a book about the consequences and far-reaching effects of war, but also a harrowing coming-of-age tale of overcoming tragedy and lasting friendship. The writing style is sparse at times, but yet says everything that needs to be said. The historical details are captivating and haunting, and the same can be said of the charact
I’ve read very few, in any, novels of World War II set in Poland. I found the setting here to be fascinating and such a tumultuous backdrop for Gretl’s story. From the farmland of Poland to a new home in South Africa, following Gretl and Jakob’s story was enthralling from page one. The plot is varied in that it starts out with high stakes and many intense events and scenes. I didn’t mind the slower-paced second half as it provided a nice complement to the intensity of the beginning.
I’m sorry to admit that this is the first story I’ve ever read concerning the relocation of German orphans to South Africa. It provided an interesting lens through which Gretl viewed the world; despite the uncertainty of her life up until that point, she made every effort to fully engage in her new life. Gretl truly grows up throughout this entire story. Jakob, already mostly grown when they meet, also goes through his own developments. Despite tragedy, horrible circumstances and even their own mistakes, the resiliency that they show throughout the story truly captivated me. I loved these characters and hated to see their story end, even though it was an altogether satisfying conclusion. The ending – what a tender, realistic, well-deserved ending!
The Girl from the Train is definitely one of my top picks for 2015. It wasn’t really on my radar at all for this year, and what a sad thing it would have been to have missed it! I have been and will continue to recommend this book to others, especially readers of historical fiction.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson and the Fiction Guild for my advance copy. This review is my honest opinion.
WWII fiction seems to be everywhere today and I have enjoyed many of them. This particular novel left me wanting. I wanted to feel more for these characters. I just felt that as a reader I was kept at a distance; seeing the circumstances surronding the characters but not feeling them. 3.5 stars.