29 May 2012



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. 


naida said...

The premise sounds good, too bad this dissapointed.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

It's always disappointing when a book doesn't meet your expectations. Sorry this was one of those books.

Suko said...

Sorry this one let you down! It sounds like a book that attempted too much.

Kelly said...

Yes, it does sound like an interesting premise, but not necessarily one I'd want to read. I'm sorry it disappointed you.

Blond Duck said...

Doesn't sound like my style either.

Dorte H said...

A pity that it didn´t live up to your expectations. It sounds as if it might be something for my daughter.

carol said...

It's a shame this one didn't live up to your expectations.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Aw... too bad it didn't stick with one thread of the story. It sounds like it sound have been really poignant.

The Golden Eagle said...

It sounds like it could have been a really interesting story, had it been written better. It's too bad it didn't live up to expectations!

Fairday Morrow said...

The idea of the book sounded fascinating. A well-written honest review. Thanks for reading it and sharing your thoughts. :)


GMR said...

Okay, though I wasn't taken in my the opener, the memorable line was a chuckle and a half! Too bad on the confusion that seemed to ensue. Better luck next read!

Betty Manousos said...

tracy, i'm really in awe of your book knowledge.

the premise does sound interesting
i'm sorry this one disappointed you.

big hugs.

Brandileigh2003 (Blkosiners Book Blog) said...

Nice choice of quotes. Thanks for honest review.
Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog