“The Winter Guest” by Pam Jenoff

Pam Jenoff has written a very good book, “The Winter Guest”, published by Harlequin MIRA.  She has a list of other great books that she has written.  I especially enjoy reading wartime historical novels.  This one did not disappoint.

Two girls, twins Helena and Ruth, are left to raise their three younger siblings in rural Poland during the Nazi occupation.  They, as are most of the inhabitants of Nazi occupied nations, are under constant threat of arrest or deportation for some imagined crime against the invaders.  Rations are becoming scarcer and just keeping themselves from starving and warm takes all that they can give.  Helena is the strong one of the two and takes care of gathering wood for the stove and visiting their invalid mother in Krakow.  She sneaks in and out of the city because travel is forbidden between areas without a pass.  Ruth takes care of the little ones, cooking, sewing, keeping house and sometimes resents Helena’s freedom to roam.

On one of Helena’s trips to Krakow, she comes upon an American flier whose plane has been shot down and who is hiding from the Gestapo and local police.  He is looking for the resistance fighters to give them help.  Because he is hurt, he cannot run and is dependent on Helena to bring food to his hiding place.  As they become closer, Sam convinces Helena that she and her siblings need to flee in the face of further Nazi occupation and the threat of clashes with the Russians.

The beginning of the book is a little slow starting, at least as I read it, but then the story picked up and I was very interested in it.  I was a little disappointed that I was not able to envision the countryside from the descriptions given.  I always place myself in the habitat and lose myself in the novel in that way.  Not to say that the descriptions were not accurate, but perhaps more descriptive wording would have worked for me.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and have other books by Ms. Jenoff waiting for me to read.

I was offered a free Kindle copy of “The Winter Guest” from NetGalley.com in return for my honest review of the book.


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