Laura and Wouter are inhabitants in the hidden village of Berkehnout when it is raided by the Nazis. They both flee in opposite directions: will the young sweethearts be reuinited?
Hidden in the Shadows is the second book by Imogen Matthews to describe wartime experiences in Holland. It is the sequel to The Hidden Village and continues the story of two of the more peripheral characters from that first book.
Laura is Jewish and Wouter has refused to join the Nazis so he is also hiding. He has a fiancee but falls in love with Laura whilst they are living in the hidden village. The surprise attack splits them up and they are desperate to be reunited. The drama and danger faced by the characters is relentless as they hide from the Germans and are continually fearful about being captured or betrayed.
Laura and Wouter’s characters were easy to like. I did feel more of a connection with Laura but this could be due to her parts of the book being written in the first person. They are brave yet vulnerable, with complex emotions and relationships that bring their characters to life.
The sense of community that was so strong in the first book carries on as the locals continue to support those in hiding. I felt that the author had done substantial research about the location, culture and history of the Dutch people during WW2 which gives a realism to the plot and characters.
Hidden in the Shadows is an enjoyable historical novel
Hidden in the Shadows: An utterly gripping and heartbreaking World War II historical novel about love and impossible choices (Wartime Holland Book 2)
The hidden village was meant to keep them safe, but the Nazis have found it… There’s no time to lose. Laura gathers the children and whispers to them to be brave. The smallest cowers in her arms as they hear the crack of gunshots outside. Laura knows they’ll have to run if they are to survive…
Nazi-occupied Holland, 1943: In a makeshift village in the middle of the woods, hiding from Nazi soldiers determined to find them, a beautiful young Jewish woman named Laura thought she was safe. By day she remained silent and out of sight, but as darkness fell, she began to fall in love with a resistance fighter named Wouter. Until everything changed, on the day the village was stormed…
Desperate to protect the six small and terrified children in her care, Laura races towards the church spires of the nearest town in the distance and just manages to escape from the soldiers.
Wouter is stuck on the other side of the village when the German officers start shooting. As he desperately scrambles through the dark, dense woodland, he has no idea whether Laura has made it out alive.
Devastated that he hadn’t tried to save her, Wouter spends his days delivering food and transporting people to safety, determined to help those most in peril. But he never gives up hope of finding the woman he loves.
Even when he hears the rumours about the Nazis cramming Jews onto cattle trains for deportation to brutal work camps, he can’t believe she’s gone forever. How could he live if Laura was amongst them? And if he does find her, will their love have survived the ravages of everything they’ve been through, together and apart?
An utterly heartbreaking tale of love, betrayal and sacrifice, Hidden in the Shadows is perfect for fans of Fiona Valpy, The Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See.
About Imogen Matthews
Imogen Matthews writes novels based on true stories about the Netherlands during the German occupation in World War 2. Some stories she discovered by chance, others are based on her Dutch mother’s own experiences of hardship and survival during the Hunger Winter of 1944-45.
Her first novel, The Hidden Village, is set in the Veluwe woods, a beautiful part of Holland that Imogen has visited frequently over the past 30 years. It was in these woods that she discovered the story of the real hidden village which provided shelter in underground huts for Jews during WW2. Imogen retells the story of the hidden village with characters drawn from real life and from her imagination.
Within weeks of publication in 2017, The Hidden Village became an international bestseller, ranking at the top of a number Amazon’s most-read book lists.
Following on from The Hidden Village comes Hidden in the Shadows, which has the pace of a thriller yet is also a love story. It tells the story about two young people who are brutally torn apart and must find a way to be together against all odds.
Imogen’s third WW2 novel, The Girl Across the Wire Fence, is set in Amersfoort, Netherlands, and is based on the unforgettable tale of two young lovers who risked everything to keep hope alive in the very depths of hell – the little known Dutch concentration camp called Kamp Amersfoort.
Imogen’s WW2 novels are published by Bookouture, a digital imprint of Hachette.