the Kommandant's Girl
Written by Pam Jenoff
This is the story of Emma Bau, a 19-year old Polish Jew living in Poland during WWII and Nazi occupation. She marries a young resistances member, Jacob. Shortly, after the Jews are forced into the Ghetto, Jacob leaves Emma to go underground and Emma makes her way to the Ghetto in search of her parents. While in the Ghetto she is befriended by a group of other young Jews, who happen to be connected to the resistances.
Emma later gets out of the Ghetto and is living with Jacob's Catholic Aunt, also allied with the resistance. They are entrusted with the care of a young Jewish toddler.
At a dinner party, Emma nka as Anna meets the Kommandant. Emma from that point forward must make some very tough choices, risking her life for those she loves.
What I liked
Well the entire book actually. I thought this was a wonderfully rich tale of love, choices, desires, and about every other emotion under the sun. The story was faced paced at times, but always remained attentive to detail. The descriptions of historical events and locations in the story were well done.
I also think that Jenoff spent enough time developing each character, so that they felt real and she did not depend on stock characters as so many historical fiction works sometimes depend on.
My favorite passage in the book is :
Anna: I think I do not have a choice," I say, sinking to the sofa beside her.
"There's always a choice, Emma." Krysia replies. "We have to take responsibility for our actions. It is the only way we can avoid becoming victims and keep our dignity."
This is in my opinion a major theme in the book and one very applicable to our lives today.
What I did not like
Well nothing. I have questions, which Jenoff left unresolved, there were a number of characters, who played a minor role in the book. Also, I wonder what ultimately happens to Jacob and Emma. The ending is really a beginning in some ways. But then I always wonder what happens next.
Overall this is a great book and one well worth reading. It is not beach reading, but the prose is easy to read and Jenoff style is very appealing, very clear and the story is well developed. It was a pleasure to read.
To learn more about Pam Jenoff and this book, check out Pam's website.