"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

23 October 2017

2017 Book Review #31: The Girl With No Name

I discovered another new-to-me author at our local town library.

The title captured my interest.

This book is set in one of my favorite time periods:  WWII.  And it's set in Germany and then England.  Most of the story takes place in England over a period of about 6 years.  And from the very first page, it grabbed me and wouldn't let go.


Franz and Marta Becker have two teenaged children.  Martin, who is blind, is about 15 and Lisa is just 13.  They live in Hanau, Germany, where Franz is a doctor and Marta is a homemaker. They are Jewish.

One night, their world is rocked upside down.

Lisa is put on the Kindertransport while Marta and Martin stay behind at Aunt Trudi's.  Franz is taken away by the Nazi soldiers.

Lisa arrives in London, England in August 1939.  She doesn't speak or read a word of English.  Her only belongings are crammed into a small suitcase and one thing that is very precious to her is a photo of her family, left behind in Germany.

Lisa is lonely and homesick but gets adopted by a wonderful childless couple named Dan and Naomi Federman.  She gets enrolled in school but quickly becomes the target of class bullies because she is German and England is at war.  A boy named Harry Black (born Heinrich Schwarz) comes to her defense and becomes a good friend.  In fact, he came over on the train too from Hanau!

Soon, London experiences the Blitz and her entire world is blown apart.  Lisa wakes up in a hospital with no memory of her name or where she has been living.  She does not even remember that she came from Germany.  The authorities at the hospital give her a new name, Charlotte Smith, because she was found on the street, being protected by the body of a man named Smith from Harrowgate.   She ends up in a children's home.  What will become of her??

She soon gets moved to a safer area of England and is taken care of by a bitter older woman named Edie.  Edie is very much anti-German because her finance Herbert was killed by the Germans in the Great War.  That was over 20 years ago and she has been bitter ever since.  Lisa begins to make new friends in this little village and her best friends are Billy and Clare.  Billy's parents invite her over to the farm often. 

Slowly, over time, Lisa begins to recall certain events and people and realizes she wants to know what happened to Naomi and Dan when the house was bombed.  Are they still alive?  How come they haven't come to find her?

Meanwhile,Lisa/Charlotte's sweet spirit wins Edie over and Edie begins to enjoy life again and comes to love Lisa very much.  When Edie dies suddenly, Lisa discovers that she has inherited Edie's home and savings. 

Lisa begins to work in a children's home with Caroline, the woman who helped her after she was found lying in the street, and soon discovers that Naomi and Dan are still alive!

Billy begins to fall in love with Lisa/Charlotte but Harry comes back into Lisa's life complicating matters. Harry has been in and out of prison during this war, and the people in Lisa's life do not trust him.  Lisa is just an innocent 16 year old when Harry pressures Lisa  to go away with him to Australia.  Whom will she choose??  Will she go away with Harry or will she stay in England with the people who matter the most to her?

Will she find the precious people who first adopted her when she arrived on the train from Germany as a refugee?

And what about her real family??  Will she ever learn the truth??


I really enjoyed this book.  The story was wonderfully predictable in spots, but also had many surprises in other spots.

The character development was quite well done and I found myself hoping Naomi would learn the truth about what really happened to Lisa.

I enjoy historical fiction and this one is a gem.  It is quite long and sadly, there were many editing mistakes which makes my rating slip a bit.

If you like reading stories set in WWII this is a good one....but keep in mind it is very similar to other stories regarding children who escaped Germany.

I liked that Lisa was a teenager from start to finish and that the ending, although predictable, wraps up nicely with all of the characters accounted for, minus one.  I won't tell you which one!

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 14 and older.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this an 8.


Susanne said...

You're right,this does sound like something I would like. I'm starting a WWII story today too called Nightsong - A Story of Sacrifice.

And I notice that you are reading a book by Michelle Phoenix. That is the author of a book I just reviewed recently that you thought you would like: about the survivor of the French Bataclan attacks.

Faith said...

I KNEW she sounded familiar!!! The one I'm reading has been called The Poisonwood Bible for the new generation. Did you read Poisonwood Bible?? it was EXCELLENT. I read it years ago. My niece had to read it for her summer reading to go into honors English 9th grade!!

Susanne said...

No, never been drawn to Poisonwood Bible.