Hi friends! So…I’m behind on reviews all the time. Am I the only one who feels that way??? But ya know what, at least they’re getting up*. But anyways…I finally read a historical fiction novel and didn’t completely hate it. I know, it’s crazy. Also, I’m trying out a new review format so tell me how you feel about it!
*watch me jinx myself and not review anything for six months
Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.
On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person – a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.
As a whole, I’m not the biggest fan of World War II stories. There’s just so much of it on the market, it’s really hard to differentiate between all of them sometimes. But I will say that I think that this is really unique in quite a few ways! So let’s get to my favorite parts of the book!
I’m just going to jump straight into it and say that I really liked how the main character wasn’t Jewish but Dutch, how she’d lost someone who wasn’t Jewish but in fact, you guessed it, Dutch. It added a new layer of perspective that I wasn’t expecting in the story. And I’m not going to spoil anything but I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity!
The mystery was what drew me in the first place and I’m not going to lie, it ended up being slightly bittersweet. However, the twist at the end really hammered in the final nails to Hanneke’s character development, and was an excellent culmination of all the tension that had been building up to this point.
Oh! And the black marketing*! I actually wasn’t aware of how it all worked, and clearly the author did her research. So basically I learned while reading. That doesn’t happen often with me. You could really tell that it was very well thought-out but all the facts sorta flowed seamlessly into the story, the writing.
*don’t judge me the black market is intriguing
So my only big complaint is high-key petty but what can you do I’m hard to please. Anyways, I kinda started shipping two characters but there was a complication that didn’t come up until like the last 50 pages which really annoyed me. It should have been stated at the beginning to prevent my romantic heart from jumping to conclusions*.
*this entire complaint is irrelevant to everyone but me. just making that clear.
Everything else I’d have to “critique” isn’t really big but here we gooooooo! Personally, I found the characters kind of bland, for the most part. Like, they weren’t bad, and I liked Hanneke’s character arc but if you ask me their dreams, passions, actions,
names in a month’s time I’d probably just stare into your eyes until you gave it up.
And the mystery. Look, obviously the mystery isn’t going to be the main focus and I knew that but still set myself up for disappointment whoops. There were certain times when the mystery was thrust back into the spotlight for a convenient, minor, predictable plot twist and then shoved back into the broom closet*. IT JUST FELT LIKE A PLOT DEVICE UNTIL THE END OKAY.
*aww, now I feel bad poor mystery
So yeah that’s about it! Have you read this??? Are there any good historical mystery novels I should pick up?