‘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.
It feels bad to say how I love reading books about the Holocaust. It’s just something that has always interested me and I think they are also a great reminder and how we should be learning from that period of time.
A story that is set in the camps, is always going to be an emotional read. The atrocities that went on inside them is just horrific. Through Eva and Sofie’s story though, we also get a glimpse of the friendships that happened inside as well as the hope and the fighting spirit that some of the prisoners never lost sight of.
Eva and Sofie are in a way quite different but their quests are very similar. To a certain extent it’s their hope of being reunited with loved ones that keep them fighting to stay alive. Sofie was a character that I especially loved, she goes above and beyond more than a few times with huge risks to her own life. Her courage was just outstanding.
The Child of Auschwitz is an emotional roller coaster of a read. Parts were horrific, saddening, shocking, heart warming, I think I went though every emotion possible whilst reading it. Even though fiction, for me, the author gives a very real account of what life was like in the camps as well as what took place inside them. An absolute must read.
My thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.
The Child of Auschwitz is available to purchase from Amazon. Please note that link used is an affiliate link).
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 will be out in 2019.