Another Christmas short from St Mary's. Another delightful tale. What should have been an easy, although off the book, jump, will turn, as usual, into a more complicated situation really quick. And, of course, there will be danger involved.
I like these short stories on their own, but they are really good at portraying the St Mary's atmosphere. Also, it is just hilarious. This one in particular.
The German Girl is about a 12 year old Jewish girl named, Hannah Rosenthal and her well-to-do family that are living in Berlin during the war in 1939. The German authorities are in the process of rounding up the Jewish men first and deporting them to death camps. They are allowing some of the wealthier well known families to leave the country if they agree to hand over all of their possessions. The Rosenthal family along with 900+ Jewish refugees buy visas and gain passage on a transatlantic liner, the MS St. Louis, headed to Cuba. Originally Cuba agreed to accept all of the passengers but midway through their journey the Cuban President revoked the agreement, invalidated the visas and denied entry to all but 29 passengers, including Hannah and her mother. Her father was denied entry along with the others and the ship was sent back to Europe. The Captain, Gus Schröder, continued negotiations with other countries and the passengers were accepted in France, Belgium & the Netherlands. Many families were split up for years to come and some were never reunited.
Hannah's story was told in parallel with a present day story of a girl named Anna, who lives in New York City. She receives a mysterious envelope from Hannah who happens to be her great-aunt and related to her deceased father. Anna and her mother travel to Cuba to visit Hannah and unravel the connections between their families.
Both girl's stories are very moving but heart wrenching. The author does a fantastic job portraying the cruelty and suffering that the Jewish families endured in Nazi occupied Germany. They suffered incredible losses that no one should ever have to go through. It's not an easy read but if you have any interest in learning more about this last chance voyage that was suppose to be the saving grace for many Jewish families then I highly recommend reading this book.
*I received this ARC from NetGalley & Atria Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
"Badly battered by an apocalyptic storm, the crew of the Arctic Promise find themselves in increasingly dire circumstances as they sail blindly into unfamiliar waters and an ominously thickening fog. Without functioning navigation or communication equipment, they are lost and completely alone. One by one, the men fall prey to a mysterious illness. Deckhand Noah Cabot is the only person unaffected by the strange force plaguing the ship and her crew, which does little to ease their growing distrust of him."
"Dismissing Noah's warnings of worsening conditions, the captain of the ship presses on until the sea freezes into ice and they can go no farther. When the men are ordered overboard in an attempt to break the ship free by hand, the fog clears, revealing a faint shape in the distance that may or may not be their destination. Noah leads the last of the able-bodied crew on a journey across the ice and into an uncertain future where they must fight for their lives against the elements, the ghosts of the past and, ultimately, themselves."
I have a huge thing for books with cold weather settings like the Artic or Antarctica so I've been really excited about reading this book. Unfortunately though it wasn't as enjoyable as I was hoping for. The first half was very slow and lacking in suspense, and it took me all week to trudge through it. The second half had a lot more action but I didn't care for the
plot turn the story took. The ending also wasn't very satisfying. It felt rushed and it didn't tie up a lot of the loose ends and questions I had.
As for all of the characters that we were introduced to, including the main character, Noah, I really only liked Connor. Sometimes I could relate to Noah's character but then other times he came across as meek and spineless and I just wanted to yell - 'Stand up for yourself please!'
It took the entire book and almost 30 deaths for him to finally stand up to his father-in-law, Brewster?! And after all the times Brewster tried to kill him, he was surprised that the he purposely left the lashings loose?? Even I figured that out right at the beginning, so those reactions and some others didn't ring true to me.
What I did enjoy about the story though was the shipboard atmosphere and the cold climate setting. No I never felt the foreboding feeling and
even with the numerous deaths
I never felt the terror I was hoping for but I was able to feel the crews' plight of being stranded in the middle of ice as far as you can see.
The story had all of the ingredients for a good horror novel but, in my opinion it just didn't quite pull it off.
*I received this ARC from NetGalley & Tor Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
**I read this for my 2016 Halloween Bingo: ~It was a Dark & Stormy Night~ square