Publisher and Publication Date: Graydon House Books. February 2, 2021.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Audience: Readers of historical fiction who enjoy World War II history.
The book is based on a true story.
The Girl From the Channel Islands is a first novel for Jenny Lecoat.
Goodreads author page for Jenny Lecoat.
Jersey. The Channel Islands.
Hedy Bercu is a Jewish young woman who escaped Austria and fled to Jersey. She’s been working in the home of the Mitchells. The Mitchells have left Jersey ahead of the expected German invasion. Hedy is left without a job. She cannot stay in their huge home alone. Her best friend is Anton. He has a new girlfriend named Dorothea or Dory.
After the occupation of the Germans. Hedy is able to work as a translator for them. She begins a romantic relationship with a German officer.
Hedy’s knowledge of what is happening to the Jews in Europe is minimal. She knew enough about the Nazi’s to escape Austria, but she doesn’t know what has happened since she left. She fears for her parents.
I don’t know how many fiction and nonfiction books I’ve read on World War II history but it is lengthy. It is rare to read about a Jewish person who became involved romantically with a Nazi. I have often wondered what the percentage is of Jewish women who were in romantic relationships with Nazis? It is possible that because this story takes place on the island of Jersey and not mainland Europe, the love story has more believability. I wonder how a Jewish person at this time would view this situation? It is easy for me to say I am not going to be sexually aroused, attracted, or have romantic feelings for the known enemy. But, I am not living in “their” shoes. I am not experiencing this type of situation. And, The Girl From the Channel Islands has not helped me to understand the situation. This is the first reason why I have given this book an okay rating. I am not convinced at their situation, feelings, or plight. I could care less. I care about Hedy. I care about the people of Jersey. I care about what is going on in mainland Europe. I care about what is happening with the Jews. I care about Hedy’s parents and sister. Hedy’s romantic partner is Kurt. I don’t care how cute Kurt is-he is the enemy. I don’t care if he is a little bit of a Nazi. It is nice that he helped Hedy. He is still a Nazi. He is still the enemy.
I love the descriptions of the island, town, and the people. This is a strong feature of the book.
In one brief description of Hedy she is described as a “a pale skinny girl.” She has blonde hair. Her eyes are large. The “color of the sea.” Her description shows me she is vulnerable, but has lovely features. She is some what of a loner. I don’t feel that I really know her as a character. There is little information given about her background. She is not someone who stands out. However, she is the main character. This is a second reason why this book is an okay rating in my view. Her character is not developed.
Hedy works in a minor role of resistance. It is so minor I have forgotten exactly what she was doing. This point is disappointing. Especially since I cannot remember.
Themes in the story: romance, perseverance, loyalty, courage, bravery, kindness, good and evil, survival, peace and war, resistance, trust, temptation, self-control, and hope.