The Girl From the Train

Title:  The Girl from the Train
Author:  Irma Joubert
Pages:  370
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
This is an interesting story about a little girl who is on a transport train to the Auschwitz prison in 1944 Germany.  She escapes from the train along with her sister, but they don’t know where they are when they jump from the train.  Gretl Schmidt is six years old.  Her sister is fourteen, but very sick.  An old man finds them and takes them to the home of a poor woman who can’t support her own four children.  She contacts a member of the Polish Home Army, who has been fighting a resistance battle against the occupying German forces.  Gretl learns she has ended up in Poland and this poor woman can’t afford to feed her.  The Home Army sends Jakob Kowalski to pick her up.  She ends up living with Jakob and his family for four years.
While with the family Gretl helps out on the farm and goes to mass.  After four years, Jakob’s family can no longer afford to feed her either.  Jakob and Gretl have formed a deep friendship, but he must send her away.  He takes her to an orphanage that is relocating certain children to South Africa via adoption.  Gretl can have no contact with Jakob.  They part and each one’s heart breaks with the loss of parting.
While Gretl loves her adopted family and learns about being a Protestant, she continues to miss Jakob.  The story continues with each one thinking about the other daily, but surviving and even thriving in new situations.  They are reunited in South Africa after several years.  Their joy at seeing one another again is wonderful, but other feelings begin to change their relationship.
I found this story to be intriguing and the idea of the story very creative.  The chapters were a bit long, and I think shorter chapters would have made the story pace quicker for my taste.  Gretl certainly suffered a lot for such a young girl and that really made me appreciate and thankful to God for my easy childhood in comparison.  I also liked the part of the story where Gretl was so good with languages and telling stories.  Grandpa John was such a lovable grandpa!  I learned some too about the attitudes at the time toward other religions, races and countries.
My rating is 4 stars.

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