Today I’m on the blog tour for The Child Of Auschwitz by Lily Graham, not my normal kind of read by any means, but I do like to mix up my genres once in a blue moon. Before I share my review here’s the book description…..
She touched the photograph in its gilt frame that was always on her desk, of a young, thin woman with very short hair and a baby in her arms. She had one last story to tell. Theirs. And it began in hell on earth.’
It is 1942 and Eva Adami has boarded a train to Auschwitz. Barely able to breathe due to the press of bodies and exhausted from standing up for two days, she can think only of her longed-for reunion with her husband Michal, who was sent there six months earlier.
But when Eva arrives at Auschwitz, there is no sign of Michal and the stark reality of the camp comes crashing down upon her. As she lies heartbroken and shivering on a thin mattress, her head shaved by rough hands, she hears a whisper. Her bunkmate, Sofie, is reaching out her hand…As the days pass, the two women learn each other’s hopes and dreams – Eva’s is that she will find Michal alive in this terrible place, and Sofie’s is that she will be reunited with her son Tomas, over the border in an orphanage in Austria. Sofie sees the chance to engineer one last meeting between Eva and Michal and knows she must take it even if means befriending the enemy…
But when Eva realises she is pregnant she fears she has endangered both their lives. The women promise to protect each other’s children, should the worst occur. For they are determined to hold on to the last flower of hope in the shadows and degradation: their precious children, who they pray will live to tell their story when they no longer can.
A heart-breaking story of survival, where life or death relies on the smallest chance and happiness can be found in the darkest times. Fans of The Choice and The Tattooist of Auschwitz will fall in love with this beautiful novel.
This is the first book I have read by Lily Graham, I feel it’s improper to say I enjoyed a book based on an appalling time in history, but I found it to be a compelling read. It’s exquisitely written, a bittersweet tale, which recounts the story of Eva, one of thousands of women held captive in the death camp Auschwitz. The story shifts between two timelines, when Eva and Michael first met, and the troubling times that led up to the war and persecution of Jews, and the second focuses on Eva’s time at Auschwitz, and her search for Michael, and the birth of their child. The Child Of Auschwitz is a remarkable tale of endurance, love and friendship, and the worse and best of humanity.
The novel is set against the harrowing backdrop of Auschwitz, personally I think any author who uses a concentration camp as a location hasn’t chosen an easy path. When ever I pick up a fictional book about this location, I always worry an author won’t be able to get the balance right, I generally find Auschwitz has been used as a setting to shock and sell books, and lack empathy for the real victims of Auschwitz, or the story overshadows just how horrifying these concentrations camps were. I think Lily Graham manages to get the balance right; she doesn’t shy away from describing the severe conditions or the cruel treatment of Eva and her fellow prisoners, but neither is this her primary focus, it’s very much a character driven novel about friendship, lost, survival and hope.
It was heartwarming to see the developing friendship between Eva and Sophie blossom, a friendship so deep that they willing forego their own moral compass to help each other through sickness and starvation. When Eva gave birth my heart broke, It’s almost impossible to imagine that babies were born in Auschwitz let alone survived, their mothers experienced a life of starvation, forced labour, and infectious diseases, which hardly gave these innocent infants the best start in life. I found this read incredibly sad as fact blended with fiction, at other times my heart lifted at the strength, determination and camaraderie between the prisoners shone through.
The Child Of Auschwitz is a reminder that even in the darkest of places its possible to find happiness, it may be only have been for a few seconds, before it crumbled to dust, but it was moments like this that gave prisoners hope and the will to survive. Whilst reading The Child Of Auschwitz I found it difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction, Eva’s story could be any number of women who had the misfortune to end up in Auschwitz in fact the story was inspired by Vera Bein who gave birth during her time in Auschwitz. The Child Of Auschwitz is a moving story that’s emotive, horrifying, and heartbreaking, you can’t help but think of the millions of prisoners who suffered, and died in the concentration camps. Highly recommended to those who enjoy historical fiction
- Print Length: 149 pages
- Publisher: Bookouture (8 Nov. 2019)
Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧 Amazon US 🇺🇸
Lily Graham grew up in South Africa, and is a former journalist. She lives now in the Suffolk coast with her husband and English bulldog, Fudge.
She is the author of six novels, published by Bookouture, including the bestselling, The Paris Secret and The Island Villa.
Her latest novel The Child of Auschwitz published 8th November 2019 by digital publishers Bookouture.
My thanks to Kim Nash and Bookouture for my ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Follow the blog tour………