Thursday, October 20, 2016

#FRC2016: An Address in Amsterdam by Mary Fillmore

This fall, members of the Vise Library are going back to school by participating in a Fall Reading Challenge (it's our Junior Year!)  We have received copies of several books from publishers for honest reviews. We hope that you enjoy these reviews (and books)!

Course Title: Jewish Studies
Department: Historical Fiction
About the book:

Rachel Klein hopes she can ignore the Nazis when they roll into Amsterdam in May 1940. She’s falling in love, and her city has been the safest place in the world for Jewish people since the Spanish Inquisition. But when Rachel’s Gentile boyfriend is forced to disappear rather than face arrest, she realizes that everything is changing, and so must she―so, although she is often tired and scared, she delivers papers for the underground under the Nazis’ noses. But after eighteen months of ever increasing danger, she pushes her parents to go into hiding with her. The dank basement where they take refuge seems like the last place where Rachel would meet a new man―but she does.

An Address in Amsterdam shows that, even in the most hopeless situation, an ordinary young woman can make the choice to act with courage―and even love.
Rachel Klein is living in Amsterdam during WWII.  The Germans are moving towards Amsterdam and Rachel hopes that she can avoid them at all costs.  However, this is not possible and times get harder.  Rachel starts to fall in love with a boy that must disappear.  This forces Rachel to accept that everything is changing and she decides to deliver papers for the underground resistance.  After doing this for some time, her family must go into hiding after something very horrible happens.  They find refuge in a basement and despite their circumstances, Rachel's family becomes even stronger.  Rachel even falls in love during the most unlikely situation.  

This book is very descriptive of the time and makes you feel the horrors that happened.  I loved how this book was also a coming of age story for Rachel.  She shows you how resilient people were during this time.  You will feel tugs on your heart strings for sure while you read this book!

Find it: Amazon Barnes & Noble |

About the author:

After a lifetime of private creative writing, I was seized by a subject too important to hide in my journal or a letter to friends. Living in a house where Jewish people were hidden inspired my novel, An Address in Amsterdam, to be published by She Writes Press in October 2016. Since my first lengthy stay in Amsterdam in 2001, I have been visiting, researching, writing, and talking about the Holocaust and resistance in the Netherlands. No, I'm neither Dutch nor Jewish, just a lover of the city of Amsterdam and its people, living and dead. I would have been a neighbor of the deported citizens had I been alive at that time, and I will always wonder whether I would have colluded passively, collaborated, or resisted as I would hope. 

To develop my craft as a writer to be worthy of this topic, I earned my MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2005. I like giving talks which explore the many shades of grey in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, and the wrenching choices which good people face, then and now. The Vermont Humanities Council Speakers’ Bureau sponsors my presentation of “Anne Frank’s Neighbors: What Did They Do?," and I am always looking for ways to spread the message that action is always possible against persecution and oppression.

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