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The Girl With The Red Hair, by Imogen Matthews

The Girl With The Red Hair book cover
TRIGGER WARNING: Nazi ideology and brutality
Hannie’s beautiful red hair is striking and brings her to the attention of others. A dangerous situation while her homeland is occupied by Nazis and her best friend is Jewish…
The Girl With The Red Hair is an historical book set in the Netherlands during WW2.
Hannie is horrified by the invasion and occupation, followed up by the terrible scenes she witnesses on the streets of Amsterdam. She and her parents offer to hide her best friend Sonja who is Jewish and therefore in danger of arrest and deportation. Sonja gets a fake ID which allows her to leave the house and Hannie takes her chance to move out into a less constricted student residence.
This is quite a slow burn of a book. The initial drama of the prologue is forgotten as the timeline skips back to show how that situation emerged. The descriptions of the plot, characters and settings are quite vivid and well researched but I did feel the pace was a little slow. There is plenty of emotion for the characters as they are forced to adjust to life under Nazi occupation and the brutality that ensues.
Almost inevitably, Hannie becomes involved with the resistance and needs to save her friend again. I felt quite annoyed with Sonja at times. Whilst I could imagine her frustration at being hidden away, it is for her own protection and she puts herself and others at risk by venturing out. This seems a poor way to thank those that are trying to save your life!
The Girl With The Red Hair is an interesting and well researched novel based on a true story.
The Girl With The Red Hair blog tour banner
The Girl with the Red Hair: Heartbreaking and completely unforgettable World War Two historical fiction inspired by a true story (The Dutch Girls Book 2)
My heart thrashes inside my chest as I watch my best friend get dragged away by German soldiers. I run towards her, begging them to stop, but then I see the gun. ‘No, please!’ I shout as panicked tears stream down my face. ‘Don’t hurt her!’ I’m the only one left who can save her…

1942, Amsterdam. The Nazi occupation has shattered the lives of inseparable best friends Hannie and Sonja. The canals and rainy cobbled streets they once strolled down are now patrolled by soldiers day and night, who arrest people at will and beat those who resist.

Hannie can’t stand by and watch the lives of the innocent be destroyed by the evil occupiers. At great danger to herself, she joins the underground resistance, where she meets the charming and mysterious Jan. She covers her bright red hair to avoid detection by the Nazis while distributing fake IDs. And she makes a promise to Sonja and her little sister Maya, who are Jewish – she will hide them and keep them safe, no matter the cost.

But as the German grip on the country tightens with each passing day, Sonja’s worst fears come true when members of her family are taken prisoner. With Jan by her side, Hannie goes undercover as a nurse to try to free them. But she’s devastated when she discovers they’ve been taken to a concentration camp in the isolated far east of the country. Is she too late to save them?

And when Sonja goes missing, Hannie is terrified the worst has happened – has someone betrayed her best friend? Hannie knows her most dangerous task is now ahead of her. Can Hannie save Sonja, and will she have to make the biggest sacrifice of all to bring her home?

Inspired by the incredible true-life story of a brave young Dutch woman who would stop at nothing to fight for justice and freedom, The Girl with the Red Hair is an utterly heart-wrenching and emotional World War Two novel of one woman’s bravery and sacrifice. Perfect for fans of Heather Morris, Kristin Hannah and Fiona Valpy.

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.
Learn more about Imogen’s story in this video: https://youtu.be/2YO0IWJSjj0
 Author social media
Facebook: @theHiddenVillagenovel
Twitter: @ImogenMatthews3
Author email sign up: https://www.bookouture.com/imogen-matthews

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