ebook, 21 pages
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The Other Girl by Pam Jenoff is a complementary story to her new novel, The Winter Guest (my review), in which Maria finds herself married and estranged from her father in rural Biekowice, Poland, during WWII. Maria, who is married to Piotr, finds that she is an outsider at her in-laws home, and is unable to share even her sense of loss with them after he was conscripted by the Germans. She fills her days avoiding the scrutiny of her mother-in-law, and dreaming about what life will be like when her husband returns. She feels alone now that she’s severed herself from her father, whom she caught selling information to the Nazis. However, her father’s betrayal is the least of the secrets she will uncover.
“War had nipped at the edges of their tiny village, Biekowice, changing little things first, like the requirement of registration cards. Later had come the food requisitioning that left the market so bare. Piotr’s family had not been affected as badly as most — the farm produced enough simple fare to keep their stomachs full.”
While she lives in relative comfort, Maria must remain strong for herself and a young Jewish girls she discovers hiding in the family barn. Maria is a young wife who is still finding her place in her new family, while at the same time trying to make sense of the families around her who turn in their neighbors or make other deals with the Nazis to survive. When she is faced with the dilemma of a little Jewish girl, it is clear that her father’s betrayal propels her to take a different action. The Other Girl by Pam Jenoff expounds upon a minor character in her novel, The Winter Guest, giving readers a glimpse into how much the paranoia and fear had begun to permeate even the smallest villages as Nazis traipsed through the city squares and fought through the countryside. It’s too bad that this story is so short; it would make a good novel.
About the Author:
22nd book for 2014 European Reading Challenge; (Set in Poland)
32nd book for 2014 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.
27th book (WWII) for the 2014 War Challenge With a Twist.