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.
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.