Gretl has been forced off the train by her grandmother along with her sister, but as the train goes over the bridge it explodes. The train has been sabotaged by a group of Polish Resisters. Gretl is found by a man who takes her to a safe place where her sister dies, presumably because of tuberculosis. Because she cannot stay where she is, Jakob takes her to his home where she lives for four years. As Poland is taken over by the Russians, Jakob takes Gretl to the orphanage with the hope that she can be adopted by a family in South Africa. Even though she is too old for the program, she is adopted by what she terms the best family she could have ever had. Because of Jakob's political leanings, he has to leave Poland as well. He ends up in South Africa by way of England and meets up with Gretl again.
This is a satellite view of the book. Gretl makes several name changes depending on where she is, but her name basically remains the same-ish. She is an incredibly bright young lady who has an ear for languages and majors in four languages at school. She is hired to be a translator for the newspaper in Johannesburg.
This is my first book by Irma Joubert and I couldn't put it down--I read until I could not keep my eyes open any more. This reads more as a life story than as a novel. The events follow a logical progression and make so much sense for the reader. The settings add so much richness to the plot-lines and create incredible pictures for the imagination to understand the story. It is more than a romance between Gretl and Jakob; in fact, their romance takes less than one-quarter of the book.
One of the key components of the book is Gretl's nightmares--things she remembers subconsciously but not consciously. When the Primus stove blows up while she's fixing pancakes, Jakob comes and helps Gretl's memories come to fore. By talking about the events in Poland and Germany, she is able to find freedom from her nightmares, but her father learns that things he didn't want to believe were actually true.
Five Stars, two thumbs up, and a dream come true.
My thanks to Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book.