Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Synopsis: In the chaos of World War II, Polish teenagers Helena and Luzyna Grabowski have lost everything. Without parents or a home, they are shipped to a refugee camp in Persia, where the days ahead hold only darkness. When they hear that orphans are being selected for relocation to New Zealand, Helena is filled with hope—until the officials say they have a place only for her younger sister.
On the morning she is to be transported, Luzyna fails to join the chosen group, and Helena takes her place. But the horrors of war—and her guilt at abandoning her sister—follow Helena on the journey across the sea, as a man from her past preys on her fear and remorse.
Though the people in New Zealand embrace her, the traumas Helena has suffered threaten her peace and blind her to the devotion of James, a charming, heroic young Allied pilot. If Helena can let go and dare to hope again, she may finally step out of the long shadow of her past to find a future made whole—a new community, a new family, a new love.
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ Normally I don’t rate DNFs but I did get 50% through so I decided to rate what I did read, that is what my rating is for…
*I received this book as a Read Now through NetGalley from AmazonCrossing*
Full disclosure I only made it through 50% of this book so please take this review for what it is considering I did not finish the book.
I will admit, this book did not pull me in at all. I kept going hoping that it would pick up at some point but it just didn’t.
The main character Helena felt too one sided and boring to me, she betrays her sister, horrible things happen to her and then all she thinks about is these horrible things and ending her own life. Now don’t get me wrong, I get why she would be a somber character, but I’ve read about somber characters before without them making me feel miserable as well and all Helena makes you feel when you read this book is misery.
Even when she meets James I don’t even really feel a pull to his character at all. Most of the characters are just too one-note.
I was looking forward to this book as I really like WWII books and with the romance plot it seemed like a good mix, but I couldn’t get past the dreary first half. Even if the book picked up later there really wouldn’t be much of it left when the first half drags it down so far.
I will say that this could be a good read for someone interested in New Zealand life or culture back around that time period because while I was utterly confused I’m sure there are some people who would enjoy the cultural context in which the book is set.
So overall I thought the book had a good premise and had lots of potential, but in the end I just didn’t feel like it was the right choice for me to continue reading.