The Girl From the Train By Irma Joubert was a delight to read and I am not normally one who picks to read historical fiction. What lured me in was the fact that I am obsessed with reading anything which has to do with the Holocaust; both in fiction form and non. While this book doesn’t really dive into the Holocaust itself; it is a tale about two people who connected because of the war. This story follows the life of little Gretl Schmidt from the age of six until the age of twenty-one.
The book is labeled as Christian Fiction, but is more of a coming-of-age story than it is a biblical work. I believe it helps that the author was a history teacher for 35-years because you can tell when reading that she pays very close attention to detail. The book is very well written and edited.
Despite reading the description prior to obtaining the book, I wasn’t sure how this story was going to pan out for me. Because I wasn’t really a big history buff and don’t read a lot of historical fiction, I was worried I wouldn’t finish the book. I was pleasantly surprised that this work of fiction kept me reading until the very end.
While I won’t give away spoilers, let’s just say the author disguised the climax of the story and the ending might just surprise you.
This book really made me stop and think about the world today. How things used to be, how things have changed and wondering how things will be in the future. It’s a book that will make you appreciate the simple things in life.
A sweeping international love story that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit over the inhumanities of war and prejudice.
Six-year-old Gretl and her sister jump from a train bound for Auschwitz, her mother and grandmother unable to squeeze between the bars covering the windows. The daughter of a German soldier, Gretl understands very little about how her grandmother’s Jewishness brought her first to the ghetto, then to the train, and now, to the Polish countryside where she wanders, searching for food and water for her dying sister.
Soon, Gretl finds refuge with Jakob, a Polish freedom fighter, and his family, where she is sheltered until the end of the war. Gretl is then sent away to a new life, a new name, and a new faith in Apartheid-era South Africa. As she comes of age in this strange place, she confronts its prejudices as she hides the truth of her past from her new family.
When Jakob makes his way to South Africa many years later, Gretl and Jakob are reunited in a love story that transcends time and distance and survives the ravages of hatred and war.
About the Author
International bestselling author Irma Joubert was a history teacher for 35 years before she began writing. Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and rich historical detail. She’s the author of eight novels and a regular fixture on bestseller lists in The Netherlands and in her native South Africa. She is the winner of the 2010 ATKV Prize for Romance Novels. Facebook: irmajoubertpage
Do you enjoy reading historical fiction? What’s the last good book you read?
Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher to facilitate my review. I am not being compensated for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says
That sounds like a great read. I need a new book for a road trip I am taking in April, so this might be it 🙂
Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says
I’ve never actually read historical fiction before. This sounds like a book that would be worth a foray into the genre, though.
This sounds like a great read. I’ve already got a few historical fiction books under my belt, and I absolutely love the genre.
I’m not a historical fiction fan, but now you have me intrigued by this book! I love christian books and I love mystery books! It’s just finding the time to read them…sigh.
MJ. L says
Sounds like a book I would be interested in reading! I will have to pick it up soon!
Catherine S says
This sounds like a good book. I don’t normally read historical fiction, but I will add this to my must read list. The last book I read was the Divergent series.
I really enjoy historical fiction. This sounds like a book that I would like to read.
Seattle Travel Blogger says
Yeah, I am not a historical/Christian fiction reader either.
But if the book makes you appreciate the simple things in life, I may be up for it.
Liz Mays says
This sounds like a book my mom and I could both read. I’m curious about the big climax of the story!
I haven’t read historical fiction before, that I can recall. But this book looks great. Love that there is a love story in there too.
Ann Bacciaglia says
The Girl from the Train sounds like a great book. I just finished the one i was reading and this sounds perfect. I will have to get a copy.
I can’t say I’ve ever read historical fiction before but this sounds interesting, and like something I may need to check out!
I love when books have a hint of history tucked in. Somehow makes me relate to the story more
Katherine G says
I am not a huge historical fiction reader. I tend to read what interests me. This book sounds extremely interesting. I am going to have to check this out.
Nicole escat says
I really love reading. And i think it was a great read looks interesting and such a historical book
Toni | BoulderLocavore says
Excellent review without giving away anything too much. You’ve piqued my interest enough to read it.
I do like historical fiction, though I haven’t read a lot of it. I was introduced to it a few years ago in a classroom.