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My Mother’s Secret by J.L. Witterick and Giveaway

Source: Penguin Random House
Paperback, 180 pages
On Amazon and on Kobo

My Mother’s Secret by J.L. Witterick is inspired by the real-life story of Franciszka and Helena Halamajowa who in Nazi-occupied Poland were able to save several families and a German soldier from being killed by the Nazis.  Told in understated, spare prose, the novel travels through the perspectives of Helena who grows up in Poland with her mother and brother without a father; Bronek, the head of one of the Jewish families; Mikolaj, the son of a premiere Jewish doctor before the Nazi occupation; and Vilheim, the German soldier who is vegetarian and does not want to kill.

“In all of us, there is a child that exists while we have our parents.

With my mother gone, I feel a sadness for the loss of the child within myself.” (page 68)

Helena’s perspective is the most developed of the four, in that readers garner a deeper understanding of her family and the losses they endure. Despite those hardships, she admires her mother’s commitment to doing the right thing. Her relationship with her brother is heart-warming from the beginning as they struggle to keep their stomachs full and steer clear of their father’s rage. Her mother’s secret is not so much that she begins hiding families from the Nazis but that she has the strength and conviction to do so no matter how much it could cost her personally. And while Helena sees herself differently, she carries with her that same strength, especially when her way of life changes drastically under Nazi occupation.

My Mother’s Secret by J.L. Witterick covers the range of reasons people were in hiding during WWII, and examines the perseverance of those hiding them. But it also takes a look at how keeping up appearances and going unnoticed can be the key to survival, as is showing love to fellow man with no expectation of getting anything in return.

About the Author:

Originally from Taiwan, J.L. Witterick has been living in Canada since her family’s arrival in 1968. She attended the University of Western Ontario, graduating from the Richard Ivey School of Business. My Mother’s Secret is her debut novel. It is a bestseller in Canada and has been published in several countries around the world. Witterick lives in Toronto with her husband and son.

Giveaway:

U.S./Canada residents 18+ can leave a comment below to be entered; list a WWII book that you’ve loved. Deadline to enter is Sept. 22, 2014, 11:59 PM EST.

58th book for 2014 New Author Reading Challenge.

 

 

 

 

18th book for 2014 European Reading Challenge; (Set in Germany/Poland)

 

 

 

29th book for 2014 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

 

 

 

 

23rd book (WWII) for the 2014 War Challenge With a Twist.

  • Anna

    No need to enter me, as I’m on the tour as well. This sounds really good, and I’m excited to be starting it soon!

  • Debbie Rodgers

    Pied Piper by Nevil Shute – brilliant! Thanks for the chance to win My Mother’s Secret. 🙂

  • anne

    This book would be a treasure since I am Jewish and enjoy books from this era and period. A World War 11 novel which was memorable was The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons.

  • bermudaonion(Kathy)

    I’m looking forward to reading this book. No need to enter me.