THE GERMAN BOY by PATRICIA WASTVEDT.
It is 1947. A sixteen-year-old German orphan, Stefan Landau, has come to live with his aunt's family in England. Elizabeth does not know what to make of her sister's son - this dirty, traumatized boy in his shabby Hitler Youth uniform.
For among Stefan's meagre possessions is a portrait of a girl with long copper hair by a painter called Michael Ross. A portrait that brings back memories, both painful and precious, of Elizabeth's life in the years before the war ...... Spanning decades and generations, The German Boy is the moving story of two families entangled by love and friendship, divided by prejudice and war, and of a brief encounter between a man and a woman that touched each of their lives forever.
........ Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): At just gone five, the guest in the next room went past Elizabeth's door, his slippers flapping on the linoleum.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 48): Her mother told her she was a fool if she thought two faiths and races could make a happy union and normal offspring any more than sheep could marry hens.
MY THOUGHTS: Such a disappointment, here I was expecting a story that was largely about Stefan Landau, The German Boy of the title, when what I actually got was largely the story of Michael Ross and the two women, sisters Elizabeth and Karen, with whom his life became so entwined.
Concentrating on life between the wars and beyond, potentially this was a very good novel, the passages about the events leading up Kristallnacht (Night Of Broken Glass) being beautifully written and so poignant, it was just a shame that there were so many strands to the story.
Jumping from one incident to another, I confess that at times I did get lost off, something that wasn't helped by the numerous cast of characters, some of whom, not unlike Stefan, seemed to play no real part, their stories left unresolved.
DISCLAIMER: Read and reviewed on behalf of NEWBOOKS MAGAZINE, I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.