the-girl-they-left-behind-9781501187681_hr

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: November 13, 2018

Author: Roxanne Veletzos

Note: I received an ARC for review from the publisher via Netgalley.

Synopsis: This book is based on true events.  Set during the war in 1941 in Bucharest, and the Soviet Union occupation.

A young loving Jewish couple, along with their little girl are on the run for their lives.  Out of true love, and certainly not neglect, the couple make the ultimate sacrifice and leave their 3 year old daughter on the door steps of an apartment building on a cold January night in 1941.  They must do this to give her a chance at survival; otherwise the three of them would all die, if they remained together.

Natalia, as she is later named, is eventually adopted by a loving, wealthy family.  The three of them form a bond so strong that not even war can come between them.   But even the war takes its tolls on the wealthy, and Natalie and her adoptive parents go through many hardships, but at least they are together during these hard times.  The family survive several bombings, starvation, and even escape death by a mere few hours from a deadly infection.  With everything this family has endured, one thing has remained constant, and that is their love for their daughter and each other.   With the truth tightly hidden away and not spoken about, can this ever so close family of three survive facing the truth of Natalia’s true parentage?

It is Natalia in the end that is faced with a life changing sacrifice to pursue a life she can only dream of but in order to do so, she must leave behind all she knows to be the comfort, and security she has known most of her life.

My Review:  I really liked this book!  I cried a lot as it is very emotional.

Not only was World Word 2 such a devastating, and tragic time in history, but this story also deals with heartbreaking family issues such as giving up a loved one, and adoption.

The love between a parent to a child and vice versa is really explored in this book.

I grieved for Natalia’s birth parents when they had to make that difficult decision that one cold January night in 1941, and I also grieved for them throughout the book as well.  But as much as I felt for the birth parents, I also feared for the adoptive parents. I felt torn between the two sets of parents constantly asking myself, who deserves her in the end?   This book is a true testament that true family does not always have to be blood related.

I loved so many of the characters. I fell in love with Natalia as a young girl in the Orphanage, and then again later as a young, respectful, adult.  I loved the way her story was told.  The writer did a wonderful job of creating not just one well-loved character but many!  Natalia’s mother was another favourite of mine.   Her courage and strength through some of the difficult times is noteworthy.

The story was well paced, and delivered in a very seamless way.  I loved the voice that told the story.  There was a good amount  of back story to allow the reader to connect with the characters, as well as a good overall portrayal of what life was like during this war-ridden time.

I was a little disappointed in the ending but that is only because I had my own hopes and ideas of how things should have turned out.   I wanted to know more about Natalia’s life, and I suppose I just was not ready to have the book come to an end when it did.  Putting my own hopes ad ideas aside, the ending was actually perfect!

Closing Thoughts: I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good, drama, and historical fiction.

The fact that a lot of the events in this book as well as a lot of the characters are based off of real events and people made this book all the more interesting to read. Overall I gave this book four stars on my Goodreads rating.  A well written, family love story about war, love, and hardships.

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