The Girl in the Blue Coat – Book Review

I just finished a story which was set in Amsterdam during the Second World War. This book was really interesting and thought-provoking so I felt I definitely should make time to review it on this blog. Packed with history and twists and turns, this book was even better than I initially expected.

‘The Girl in the Blue Coat‘ was published in 2016 by a writer called Monica Hesse and caught my attention because of its intriguing title and brilliant front cover design. Holland is one of my favourite countries and I had intended to visit Amsterdam in 2020 but the pandemic stopped me. Meanwhile, this book has transported me back there, during the 1940s, a time of shortages and conflict.

Now I feel even more motivated to go soon and, whilst in Amsterdam lookout for the features mentioned in this beautiful novel.

The Story

Hanneke was known for sneaking around Amsterdam delivering contraband goods, such as pieces of cheese and meat, otherwise not allowed during rationing. Whatever her clients wanted, she would somehow lay her hands on it. Hiding her deals behind a seemingly normal life, she was still grieving the death of her boyfriend, who had perished at war. Sneaking around behind her parents’ backs, she had woven a complex web of friends and confidantes.

One day, while in an old lady’s house, she was asked to find a missing Jewish girl (a girl in the blue coat) that had been living secretly in a hidden annex. Hanneke immediately got drawn into lots of difficult situations as she made it her life’s mission to find and protect the girl – Mirjam, hoping to do her bit for her community.


This book is advertised as a YA story but was a very mature tale of people suffering under the German occupation of Holland. Hanneke gets involved in the resistance as she delves into a trail of clues that she thinks will lead her to Mirjam – increasingly known as the girl in the blue coat. In some ways she feels she owes the world something for allowing her boyfriend to go off and join the army. She is constantly punishing herself for this decision, which she believes was her doing.

The writing is clever and entertaining. Each chapter is short and the book length is around 152 pages on Apple Books. I will definitely be looking out for more books by Monica Hesse as this was compelling and satisfying. I totally recommend checking out ‘The Girl in the Blue Coat.’

Thank you for taking the time to read my brief review. For another YA book review, check here. If you want to read similar future content about books as well as the environment, perhaps consider following my growing blog.

Books I Am Loving

People are constantly recommending books to me and I am one of those people who likes to try different books all of the time. This means that I usually end up reading several books at a time. I love doing this because it means I have a choice. At bedtime I may feel like a drama or biography and in the morning a thriller may meet my needs.

As someone who started as a book blogger, I wanted to update my current reading choices as I am totally enjoying the stories and non-fiction books that I am right in the middle of at the moment. It may sound odd that I like to have several books on the go but that is just the way I operate. Here are a couple of my current faves.

Flat Share – Beth O’Leary

A work colleague lent me this book and couldn’t speak highly enough of it. She said it was packed with short chapters and is really engaging. So I gratefully took it home and then completely forgot about it for six months. Finally I got round to starting it just before Christmas and I wish I could read all of Beth’s books at once. Her style is fantastic!

Flipping between chapters by Leon, who works as a medic, and Tiffy, who works in publishing, this entertaining book covers an interesting predicament. Imagine having the option of a cheap flat in London which is fully furnished and provides a perfect living solution after a break up. Leon’s flat has one peculiar twist. There is just one bed. Leon happens to sleep there during the day and Tiffy gets the flat(and bed) to herself at night time. Odd but brilliant!

Three Wishes – Liane Moriarty

I am getting towards the end of this masterpiece. Liane never lets me down with her contemporary dramas. She is a massive inspiration for me as a fledgling author. Following some episodes in the life of three thirty something triplets living in Sydney, this story is amusing and captivating.

The sisters have divorced parents who still play a big role in their lives. We see flashbacks to the time when their parents split, spliced amongst chapters about modern events, including one husband’s affair, another’s attempt to keep a new relationship with a locksmith going and the third’s challenges relating to becoming a step mother.

Liane uses the close third person to follow each woman closely as they go through a personal struggle or quandary. It is not a dark story and Liane regularly makes comical observations about modern life. Her clever way with words and short chapters (my favourite kind of chapters) make for a fun, easy to follow story which will one day be either a movie or TV series. Every single one of her books has been bought by Hollywood.

Thank you for taking the time to read my bookish post. For a more detailed book review check this out. Please also consider following my blog for future similar content. It is always brilliant to read the thoughts of other readers and compare books. I especially enjoy finding out about new authors that are gaining popularity.

Honeycomb – A Book to Cherish

AFF – These is a link to the Amazon version of this book. I would get a small kickback if you bought a copy, at no expense to yourself. This is an honest review of a book I purchased myself.

This year Joanne Harris brought out a compendium book of short stories called ‘Honeycomb’. Originally this collection stemmed from a series of short Twitter stories that Joanne had written over the past few years. As a lover of these intriguing fairy tales, I got myself a copy straight away.

This is the beautiful hardback version.

Anyone who follows Joanne (@joannechocolat) on Twitter, will know that she likes to tell a story as a twitter thread, piece by piece. Usually each story commences with, ‘There is a story the bees used to tell…’ I seem to have a thing about bees lately, as ‘Writers and Lovers’ (recently reviewed here) also had a fascination with them.

In A Nutshell…

A Lacewing King travels the worlds and comes across a variety of odd and sometimes dark characters. For instance he meets the Spider Queen and the deadly Harlequinn. He acquires a coat of bees which often protects him from dangerous forces but his common sense frequently lets him down and he is drawn to hazardous situations.

These exquisite stories range from two to ten pages each and are easy to pick up and put down. When I have a spare five minutes I read another one and can guarantee it will give me something to ponder afterwards. Each tale presents a warning, a message or a clue that builds towards an overarching tapestry of stories. This work of fiction is gripping, imaginative and thought-provoking.

If you haven’t tried one of Joanne’s books before, start here. These bite size narratives are thrilling and fun. As soon as you have tried one of her stories, you will be keen to explore more of her work. She also writes YA books about Loki and the Norse Gods and is famous for writing ‘Chocolat’ which was turned into a movie with Judi Dench and Juliette Binoche.

Hopefully this review was useful and perhaps you want to read more of my book and TV related articles in future. If so, please follow my blog and help me grow a little.