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Monday, January 28, 2019

Review and Giveaway: Annelies by David R. Gillham

Title: Annelies
Author: David R. Gillham
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Viking
Publish Date: January 15, 2019
Source: Publisher


What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "The year is 1945, and Anne Frank is sixteen years old. Having survived the concentration camps, but lost her mother and sister, she reunites with her father, Pim, in newly liberated Amsterdam. But it’s not as easy to fit the pieces of their life back together. Anne is adrift, haunted by the ghosts of the horrors they experienced, while Pim is fixated on returning to normalcy. Her beloved diary has been lost, and her dreams of becoming a writer seem distant and pointless now.

As Anne struggles to overcome the brutality of memory and build a new life for herself, she grapples with heartbreak, grief, and ultimately the freedom of forgiveness. A story of trauma and redemption, Annelies honors Anne Frank’s legacy as not only a symbol of hope and perseverance, but also a complex young woman of great ambition and heart.

Anne Frank is a cultural icon whose diary painted a vivid picture of the Holocaust and made her an image of humanity in one of history’s darkest moments. But she was also a person—a precocious young girl with a rich inner life and tremendous skill as a writer. In this masterful new novel, David R. Gillham explores with breathtaking empathy the woman—and the writer—she might have become.
"


My Two Cents:

"Annelies" is an alternative history that looks at what would happened if Anne Frank, much remembered for her diary who was a victim of the Bergen-Belsen death camp during World War II, would have stayed alive and returned back to the Netherlands after the war ended. Anne Frank's diary is beloved worldwide and her diary continues to stand a valuable window into the lives of those who witnessed World War II.

Alternative histories can be tricky, especially when they take on well-known people. We all know what happened to Anne and the story of how her diary got published is fascinating. It is hard to write a different end for an end so ingrained into our collective memories. Anne Frank is incredibly well-known and her voice through her diary is distinctive. I thought that Gillham did a good job in this homage to her. To me, he captured her voice and gave her a fascinating alternate ending.

Had she lived, Anne would have still been quite young when the war ended. Much of this book is about survivor's guilt. In the book, Anne still loses her mother and sister in the concentration camp. She comes back home to an Amsterdam that is still not particularly welcoming in many ways. She wonders endlessly about why she was saved when so many other people didn't make it. Gillham does a great job of capturing her innermost thoughts and turmoil as she comes to terms with her new reality.

This was a great story that had me wondering "what if."



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6 comments:

  1. Great review! I read a retelling/alternate history book on Anne Frank a few years ago, but was disappointed with the characters. This book sounds intriguing and I'd love to read it for myself. I have family ties to concentration camps.

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  2. Thanks for this wonderful feature and giveaway which interests me greatly since I am Jewish. The story sounds extraordinary and compelling.

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  3. I have read some alternate histories and its interesting to see where the authors take the stories sparking my imagination for my own version.
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  4. Seen this book around, and read lots of reviews as well. Story sounds very good.

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  5. I've seen good reviews of this one, but somehow, I can't bring myself to read alternative history! I tend to nit pick at historical fiction when I feel they have the facts wrong, so I'm pretty sure that, already knowing Anne's fate, this one would drive me crazy!

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