Hello Sunshines, I am super excited to be today’s stop on this incredible blog tour for; The Girl I Left Behind by Andie Newton. Not only will I be sharing my review of this stunning book, but I have an exclusive excerpt that I know you will love and make you want to rush out and grab a copy. So sit back, grab a cuppa and enjoy.
What would you risk to save your best friend?
As a young girl, Ella never considered that those around her weren’t as they appeared. But when her childhood best-friend shows Ella that you can’t always believe what you see, Ella finds herself thrown into the world of the German Resistance.
On a dark night in 1941, Claudia is taken by the Gestapo, likely never to be seen again, unless Ella can save her. With the help of the man she loves, Ella must undertake her most dangerous mission yet and infiltrate the Nazi Party.
Selling secrets isn’t an easy job. In order to find Claudia, Ella must risk not only her life, but the lives of those she cares about.
Will Ella be able to leave behind the girl of her youth and step into the shoes of another?
Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The German Midwife and Kate Furnivall.
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I had just blown out the candle on my nightstand and settled deep into the down of my feathered bed, when I heard the tick of a fingernail tapping against my window. I kicked off the sheets and then peered into the dark reflection of the glass. It could have only been one person.
She climbed through the window, plopping the burlap bag she had strung over her shoulder onto my bed. I tipped the bag upside down and gave it a stiff shake: a brown mop-topped wig, a sack of hair pins, barbed metal hooks, and a tin of lard to help mold it in place—the makings for a disguise.
Claudia sat on my bed and batted her emerald-green eyes. A row of pin-pricked freckles ran across her crinkled nose as she held the wig close to her face. ‘Can you pin this?’
My jaw cracked when I yawned, nodding.
‘Thank you for doing this, Ella. I know it’s late.’ She kissed my cheek before wrapping her arms around my neck.
I cleared a spot on the floor with my foot and then relit the smoldering pillar candle on the nightstand next to my bed. This wasn’t the first time she’d asked me to thread her hair. I’d plaited a synthetic wig into it last week. But never had she come to my window so close to midnight.
Claudia situated herself on the floor, talking about how she wanted to use every strand of hair she had brought. ‘None of it should be wasted.’
I brushed her hair out before dividing it into sections. Plaiting was meticulous, eye-straining work, but it was the best way to secure pieces of a wig into place. Her scalp still looked tender and raw from the last time. ‘Your scalp hasn’t healed.’
‘Don’t worry about that,’ she said, flicking her fingers at me. ‘Pull it as tight as you can. Even if it hurts.’ And I did, pulling and stretching her hair tightly into place, especially behind her ears, using a dab of lard to smooth fly-a-ways before snipping a small lock of hair from the wig.
‘I’m getting good at your disguises.’ I rubbed a few of the strands in between my fingers; it was silky, not dry and bristly like the last one. ‘Is this—’
‘Real? You can tell?’
I held it to my nose. There was a delicate scent to it, almost as if she had rinsed the hair in rose water.
Claudia’s stomach rumbled. My aunt’s room was opposite of mine, down a long corridor in the corner of an old, half-timbered house in the Altstadt, Old Town, and even though there was a good distance between our rooms, she had sharp ears. Auntie also had the bladder of a little girl, often getting up in the middle of the night to relieve herself. The sound of splintering floorboards always gave her away. Tonight, those noises would serve as a warning.
Claudia’s stomach rumbled again, but this time it sounded like a wrecking ball slamming against her ribs. ‘Shh! You’ll wake my aunt.’
She winced. ‘I didn’t have time to eat dinner. I’d stop it if I could—I swear it.’
‘I’d get you something from the kitchen, but with my aunt…’
‘I know,’ she said. She turned around unexpectedly, and her soft hair slid down the flank of my hand, unraveling the twisty curl I’d pulled from the wig. ‘You’re an incredible friend, Ella, always helping me, never asking any questions.’ She reached for my face, her fingers feeling unusually icy as they grabbed my lower jaw and aligned my eyes to her own. ‘I need another favor. You can say no.’
‘What is it?’
‘I need you to deliver a key to a man you don’t know.’
I scooted up. She’d never asked me to do something so mysterious before, and my heart beat faster. ‘Where? And who is he?’
‘At the Hauptmarkt near the fountain, before the merchants set up their tents in the morning. His name is Wilhelm.’
***Excerpt provided by the publisher, as apart of this blog tour.***
Andie Newton is a new to me author and I was completely taken in by her vivid and exceedingly clever writing, she really is a remarkable writer, one that I know I will be reading more of.
That first chapter is the best start to a book you could ever read, it immediately draws the reader in, you dive straight into the action, it makes you start asking questions, which will be answered throughout the intricately entwined story. I utterly loved it, Ms Newton has done an incredible job at building up the tension on each page, I was completely transfixed ad couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.
1941, Ella is a young woman, living in Nuremberg with an aunt after the death of her parent’s, like all German girls joins the League of German Girls as is required of all until they reach the age of eighteen, unlike most she uses her uniform and her position as a cover, something to not just hide behind but it is also protection for her, especially as she is apart of the German Resistance. It is this aspect of Ella’s life that I found utterly fascinating, I am hugely fascinated by the resistance of WWII the courage they showed in the face of adversity is inspiring and shocking.
When Ella’s friend and fellow resistance fighter; Claudia is taken by the Gestapo, if Ella doesn’t find a way to locate and rescue her friend then it could be the last she will ever see of Claudia. Ella must undertake the most dangerous task she has ever done, a task that could not only see her death but that of those she loves, including the mysterious man she has fallen in love with. Ella must go undercover and infiltrate the Nazi party.
I really won’t say any more about the plot, even the tiniest slip would ruin the whole story for other’s and believe me this book needs to be ready everyone, if you love the likes of The Kommandants Girl by Pam Jenoff and Citadel by Kate Mosse then you will love this, it is in a league of its own.
I have always been a fan of WWII era books, I’ve been reading them for years and must have devoured so many, which has made me a little picky with them, yet this was an instant like, this is one of the finest I’ve read for many years. Andie Newton has got an incredible skill at weaving dramatic history with a stunning fictional story that is full of raw emotion and poignant realism which will take your breath away.
This is how you write a WWII story, it’s a beautiful, atmospheric and illuminating book, that I know will stay with me for a long time. Ella, the heroine here, is a superb character her voice and courage shines through, she is beautifully written young woman who is in the midst of one of the most dangerous episodes of human history, Ms Newton has created one of the most memorable heroines I have come across, Ella is strong, brave and feisty. I love how over the course of the book we go from meeting her as a young seventeen-year-old girl who is shocked to see and hear what is happening around her to one who has matured beyond her years, she has experienced things that no young girl should experience and yet through it all, through the danger, the heartache, the secrets and lies and the mystery that twines through the story like a rampant vine, Ella is true and she keeps her individual sparkle. I think that to write such deep tension and so much heart-ache and to keep the leading character as likeable as Ella is throughout is a real skill.
I honestly cannot recommend this book enough, it has everything you would ever want from a WWII story, fantastic descriptions and gloriously researched detail, brilliant characters, a plot that will have you perched at the edge of your seat and a dangerous game of cat and mouse. A wonderful coming of age story that is all about what a person would do for those they loved, It’s thrilling and heartbreaking.
About the Author
Andie Newton is an American writer living in Washington State with her husband and two boys. She writes female-driven historical fiction set in WWII. The Girl I Left Behind is her first novel. She would love to say she spends her free time gardening and cooking, but she’s killed everything she’s ever planted and set off more fire alarms than she cares to admit. Andie does, however, love spending time with her family, ultra trail running, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.
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