Monday, February 18, 2019

The Girl They Left Behind Book Review

The Girl They Left Behind Book Review

The Girl They Left Behind: A Novel by Roxanne Veletzos


I have read a number of books since I last wrote a post here on Review This and I had to do a bit of a  debate with myself as to which one I would write about today since they have all been such good stories.  Please stay tuned for more reviews of books that you should add to your reading list!

The Girl They Left Behind, by Roxanne Veletzos, is a moving story. The title tells exactly what the book is about. Quite literally, a three-year old girl is left behind in Bucharest, Romania in 1941. Her parents abandon her on the steps of an apartment building in the face of Nazi persecution with the hope that she might somehow survive.

What a brutal decision. At first I struggled with this book because it seemed not just heartbreaking but also outlandish that anyone would abandon such a young child and expect her to survive in a place where people would not be quick to take in an unknown child. I know these things and worse happened, but I still struggled at first with this theme.

The little girl is rescued and then left with an orphanage until eventually a wealthy family adopts her and renames her Natalia. Because of her age, she quickly puts all early memories of her birth parents behind her though of course, the abandonment would haunt both her birth mother and father forever.

The story is slightly unusual because it deals with the persecution of the Jewish people in Romania and of communist life behind the Iron Curtain in the Soviet Union. I have read numerous similar stories set in other countries like France, Germany and Poland but I am not sure if I have read another one set in Romania and I expect I have read few set behind the Iron Curtain.

Anyway, the story is a tangled story of survival that spans decades and eventually sees Natalia give up her adoptive family and her love in order to start a new life in the United States.

The story is one of those impossible-but-true stories. It turns out that the author, Roxanne Veletzos,  was born in Bucharest and eventually moved to California and that this this book was inspired by her mother's life though I do not know if in fact she was abandoned by her parents.


Highly Recommended


The Girl They Left Behind is in my opinion very well told. It is engrossing; you will not be able to put it down. It is about family and love and history. It features drama and suspense and even has an ending that will satisfy you. Yes, this book is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me.

If you enjoy historically based fiction like Sarah's Key, The Nightingale, The Ragged Edge of NightAll The Light We Cannot See, The Piano Maker and The Orphan Train you will enjoy this book. You can buy your copy in the format of your choice on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
at the book store!
Brenda

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8 comments:

  1. Oh, my! I couldn't help but think what a difficult decision it would be for parents to make in the hopes that their child would be better off. I don't even want to imagine being put in a place where such a thing would even be a consideration, much less a real decision. It would truly be the ultimate sacrifice, especially since there is no guarantee that your baby would survive. I assume, the were certain she would not survive with them. Clearly, I will have to carefully choose the time that I will want to read this book, but thank you so much for the review and recommendation. You know, I am always looking for a good book!

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    1. The persecution was pretty awful though they did survive. I guess there was no way of knowing...

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  2. it's always hard to imagine what life was like for people who never knew day-to-day whether they would even survive. It had to be heartbreaking to give up a child who they must have been sure would not have survived on the run with them. You do find some interesting historical fiction stories, Brenda.

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  3. Oh Brenda, I had just put this book on my list of reads to get to and now it is moving up a notch or two. This book sounds like one that I can really sink my teeth into. Sad and yet happy, full of the full human emotions.....It sounds great!

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    1. Thanks, Grammie! I hope you enjoy it when it makes it to the top of your list.

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  4. Thank you for this review. This sounds like an engrossing - albeit sad - story. I really loved Orphan Train, so it sounds like this is a book/author I'll enjoy. Adding it to my "to read" list.

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  5. Great review. Another book that's peeked my reading. I can't believe all the books people read and review on this site, that alone is amazing! This book does sound like it would be hard to put down. I know I would get lost in it. Added to the list. Thanks.

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