Tuesday 5 May 2020

#BlogTour Hidden in the Shadows by Imogen Matthews

Today it's also my turn on the BlogTour Hidden in the Shadows by Imogen Matthews, it's the sequel to The Hidden Village.
About the Author
Imogen Matthews is English and lives in the beautiful University town of Oxford. Before she wrote The Hidden Village, she published two romantic fiction e-novels under her pen name, Alex Johnson. The Hidden Village is published by Amsterdam Publishers, based in the Netherlands.

Imogen has strong connections with the Netherlands. Born in Rijswijk to a Dutch mother and English father, the family moved to England when Imogen was very young.

Every year since 1990, Imogen has been on family holidays to Nunspeet on the edge of the Veluwe woods. It was here that she discovered the story of the hidden village, and together with her mother’s vivid stories of life in WW2 Holland, she was inspired to write her novel.

Follow @ImogenMatthews3 on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit imogenmatthewsbooks.comBuy Hidden in the Shadows

About the book
Escape from the hidden village is just the beginning

September 1944: The hidden village is in ruins. Stormed by the Nazis. Several are dead and dozens flee for their lives.

Instead of leading survivors to safety, Wouter panics and abandons Laura, the love of his life. He has no choice but to keep running from the enemy who want to hunt him down.

Laura must also stay hidden as she is Jewish. Moving from one safe house to another, she is concealed in attics and cellars. The threat of discovery is always close at hand.

On the run with no end in sight, the two young people despair of ever seeing each other again. As cold sweeps in signaling the start of the Hunger Winter, time is running out. Wouter’s search now becomes a battle for survival. Where can Laura be? Will they ever be reunited?

This is the sequel to The Hidden Village, although both can be read as standalone novels I would recommend reading both to get the gist and entirety of the story.

This book gives readers a conclusion to the story of Wouter and Laura. Young blossoming love is torn apart by German soldiers accidentally stumbling across the hidden village. Panic rears its head and survival becomes more important to some than the pre-arranged plan to help everyone get to safety.

This is historical fiction based on the factual story of a tiny village hidden in the dense forest of Vierhouten in the Netherlands during World War 2. A place where Jews and other fugitives were hidden from the Germans by the Dutch.

There is this moment towards the end between Laura and Sofie - one that implies the need for guilt. It's so easy to judge when one of them is scarred for life and the other assumes to know better. The stigma of association, which to the majority equalled collaboration regardless of whether consent was involved, became a reason to punish publicly. With that in mind, and the trauma, the choice is quite understandable.

Simultaneously it's also quite interesting how Wouter is quick to forget his own sins and point a judgy finger at others. How fast we forget our own mistakes and cast stones in the directions of others.

I think the author shows us how fickle and fleeting life can be, and how our reactions to certain situations depend on the position we find ourselves in. Safety breeds complacency and often contempt, whereas survival mode can bring us tighter together or drive us to extreme choices.

The topic of the Second World War and the Holocaust is never an easy one to read about or write about for that matter. I believe it's important to note that there were moments of great courage, endurance and selflessness. In times when it was safer to look away many chose to help, and they deserve to be noted and remembered alongside the many victims both dead and living.

Buy Hidden in the Shadows at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Amsterdam Publishers; pub date 1 Dec. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Also by Imogen Matthews - Buy Hidden in the Village. An unforgettable WW2 novel 
Series: Untold WW2 Stories,. Publisher Amsterdam Publishers pub date Dec 2019. Amsterdampublishers.com

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