This story is set in the Netherlands at the very end of the second World War.
The main character is a young teenage girl, Leen, who runs over and kills a German soldier’s dog. Young and immature, she believes it triggers a chain of bad luck for her and her family. A subsequent tragedy in her family leads to a delicate situation that marks her transition from adolescent to mature teenager - not so much the situation per se, but the circumstances and their relevance in the bitter times in which they lived.
I’ve read very few books set in this era, and I was very impressed by how the author conveyed those tough times; the need that led people to do things against their better judgement, the senseless loss of lives – young lives – the harshness of having to survive on basic necessities we take so much for granted in modern times. The desperation and weariness of war is well delivered. I thought the story was well written and I liked the use of (old) Dutch words and sentences (untranslated). It wasn’t hard to get the gist and added authenticity.
Leen was well portrayed as a 15-year-old teetering between adolescence and maturity. Boscha brought a poignancy to her mixed, confused emotions; I would, however, have liked a little more character development – I would have liked a little more of Minne, Leen’s best friend who tested her loyalty, I would have liked to know more of Jakob, the handsome young boy who had feelings for Leen, more than Leen did for him. I would have liked a little more of Issac, Leen’s brother, a young boy challenged by a tragic and unfortunate incident.
I liked Tina Boscha’s style, but I did find this novel just a little boring.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to review it.