Fifteen-year-old Yael is on the run. The Jewish girl seeks shelter from the Germans on the farm of the village outcast. Aleksei is mute and solitary, but as the brutal winter advances, he reluctantly takes her in and a delicate relationship develops.
As her feelings towards Aleksei change, the war intrudes and Yael is forced to join a Jewish partisan group fighting in the woods.
I was sent this ebook ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is a historical fiction novel set in a very heartbreaking time in history, WW2. Our main character Yael is a young Jewish girl on the run from the Germans and completely alone as our story begins. Yael eventually (forces) her way into being sheltered by a man named Aleksei, who is a mute. While their relationship began rocky because Aleksei didn’t seen very keen on harboring a Jew, it eventually bloomed into a romance and our story takes off from there.
I had a hard time with this story for a variety of reasons. The writing just didn’t flow for me from the beginning. The first half of this book was agonizingly slow and I felt that the conclusion didn’t give the book any justice either. I felt that the book wrapped up very abruptly with huge cliffhangers on where some of (my personal favorite) characters ended up. I appreciate any novel written about such a tough subject but this one was just not my favorite. I had a hard time connecting with some of the characters. There was one small plot twist that I definitely appreciated but the rest was very cut and dry. I loved seeing Yael grow from a young girl into womanhood and seeing the hardships that she had to endure. It was a brutal position to be in during that time and I can respect the way Yael blossomed into a warrior. I am constantly rooting for a strong female lead and I loved Yael for becoming that person for me. I think my biggest gripe with this book was that Aleksei was continuously referred to as “the mute” rather than his own name. I think it would have been sufficient to explain briefly one or two times that he was unable to speak. I don’t know why this irritated me so badly but I almost felt offended that his proper name wasn’t used frequently. I don’t think a persons handicap defines them, nor should they be solely labeled as one.
I think this story would be very beneficial to somebody who isn’t familiar with World War 2, or someone who has a particular interest in that period of World history. I gave this book a solid 3 star Goodreads rating and I would recommend it to anyone remotely interested in historical fiction.
I want to leave off with a big thank you to Netgalley, Legend Press, and the author for sending me this for review.