Posts Tagged ‘The Hidden Village’

Celebrating Indie Publishing today has a review of a book I read at the end of 2019 and it’s stayed with me ever since. The book in question comes from a publisher I discovered late last year, but they are proving to be favourite when it comes to one of my top genres to read, WWII historical fiction.

  • Title: Hidden in the Shadows
  • Author: Imogen Matthews
  • Publisher: Amsterdam Publishers
  • Publication Date: 1st December 2019

Copy received from publisher for review purposes.


Escape from the hidden village is just the beginning

September 1944: The hidden village is in ruins. Stormed by the Nazis. Several are dead and dozens flee for their lives.

Instead of leading survivors to safety, Wouter panics and abandons Laura, the love of his life. He has no choice but to keep running from the enemy who want to hunt him down.

Laura must also stay hidden as she is Jewish. Moving from one safe house to another, she is concealed in attics and cellars. The threat of discovery is always close at hand.

On the run with no end in sight, the two young people despair for ever seeing each other again.

As cold sweeps in signalling the start of the Hunger Winter, time is running out.

Wouter’s search now becomes a battle for survival.

Where can Laura be? Will they ever be reunited?

Hidden in the Shadows is an unforgettable story of bravery and love, inspired by historical events.

My Thoughts:

This sounded like a unique and fascinating book when I read the description, I can’t think that I’d ever read a book quite like this one before so I was keen to find out more. I was certainly intrigued by the idea of a hidden village in the woods and the lengths that people had to go to to hide from the Nazis.

Following the tale of Wouter, readers are taken on an emotional journey as he flees from the danger of the advancing Nazis, who are systematically clearing the area of any Jewish people and anyone they deem a danger to their regime. With an army of people ready to help where they can, offering safety, food, clothing or even links to The Underground, Wouter runs to safety where he can find it.
But for me, the most poignant tale had to be that of Laura. She flees the village after the Nazis discover it and runs blindly to any form of safety she can find. Never knowing whether it’s truly safe or who she can trust, she has to rely on others to hide her and the others who fled the village.

With so much danger and unease woven throughout the narrative, this was a book that I became heavily invested in. I cared about Wouter and Laura, I cared what happened to them and hoped they would find their way back together again. Watching these characters growing, seeing events from their perspectives really made me think. The way that Imogen Matthews writes Laura as a young woman slowly finding her strength and courage was moving. This portrayal was superb and I liked this character more as I read on, seeing the challenges facing a young Jewish woman in hiding in 1944 was deeply moving, I got a great sense of the fear, anxiety and panic felt by Laura as she moved from safe house to safe house, never truly knowing if this might be the last journey she would make.
The same can be said for Wouter, his growth as a character was interesting to see, finding out his reasons for being in the village in the first place, the lengths he would go to to avoid capture … it made for poignant reading.

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