1950, Hanni displays her wartime photos and her Jewish husband Freddy recognises a girl in one of the photos as his sister. This gives him hope that she survived the camps so the couple travel to Prague to try to find her. Hanni has been keeping her own past a secret but now she may need to call upon her Nazi ather for help…
The Girl in the Photo is the third book to feature Hannelore Foss who has reinvented herself as Hanni Winters. It works as a stand alone novel but I think it would help to create a deeper understanding of the characters if you read the books in order.
Hanni and Freddy have now married but she still hasn’t revealed to him that she is the daughter of a high ranking Nazi. Freddy finally has hope that one of his own family survived the death camps and is desperate to find his little sister. They embark on a dangerous journey across national and political borders. The anti Jewish sentiments, as well as the brutality described, make this book uncomfortable to read at times but the author and Hanni’s revulsion at these opinions is clear.
The majority of the book is written in 1950 to show Hanni and Freddy’s journey. However we also see Renny’s perspective as her mother leaves her and she is rescued by a Nazi wife going on the run. There is a huge emotional aspect to the book as we share Freddy’s hope to be reunited, Renny’s childish understanding of events, and the fear that grips Hanni. The pair have a personal mission in this book unlike the previous books where there was a killer to catch.
The Girl in the Photo has plenty of emotion and drama, and has been thoroughly researched.
1944. ‘I have to go away, my darling. Please, be brave, stay alive, for me.’ Her mother’s voice breaks. The little girl tries to stop the forbidden tears from falling, as the train takes her mother, and she is left alone in the camp…
Berlin, six years later. When Hanni Winter shows her new husband the heartbreaking photos she captured during the war, his reaction is unexpected. His face white, Freddy can’t take his eyes off the photo of a young girl around four years old. ‘That’s Renny,’ he whispers, ‘my sister, she was taken by the Nazis…’
Hanni remembers her perfectly – the child with the wide eyes and bitten lips, who wouldn’t let herself cry despite the chaos and cruelty all around them in the camp. Her heart had broken for the little girl as she took her picture, desperate to reveal the truth about the Nazis to the world. If that child is Renny, then they must try to find her. They must return to hell on earth.
But when Hanni arrives at the black and white arch of the camp, she comes face to face with a man she fears more than any other. Can she find the strength to fight again, or will every hope for the future be lost forever?
A heart-wrenching novel about love and courage in the face of terrible odds. Fans of The Alice Network, The Nightingale and The Tattooist of Auschwitz will need a box of tissues handy.
I seem to have followed a rather meandering career, including marketing and teaching and politics (don’t try and join the dots), to get where I have always wanted to be, which is writing historical fiction. I am a story lover as well as a story writer and nothing fascinates me more than a strong female protagonist and a quest. Hopefully those are what you will encounter when you pick up my books.
I am from the North of England but now live very happily in Glasgow with my American husband. Both my children have left home (one to London and one to Berlin) which may explain why I am finally writing. If I’m not at my desk you’ll most probably find me in the cinema, or just follow the sound of very loud music.
I’d love to hear from you and there are lots of ways you can find me, so jump in via my website https://www.catherinehokin.com/ or on my Cat Hokin FB page or on twitter @cathokin