AUTHOR = SUZY ZAIL
GENRE = HOLOCAUST, WW2
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9, 10
A sensitive portrayal of the suffering of Jewish families during the Holocaust. Hanna has always dreamed of becoming a concert pianist but these dreams are shattered by the coming of the Nazi regime to Hungary. AS the story opens she and her family are being rounded up out of the ghetto where they have been forced to live and into concentration camps. The stress has taken its toll on their mother but Hanna and her brave sister, Erika, are determined to survive, so they can follow their father’s instructions to tell others about the horrors they have been forced to face.
Ultimately, it is Hanna’s musical talent that saves the day: she is selected to play for the Commandant and this earns her a warm coat, extra food and the enmity of others in her camp. Even Erika begins to wonder about Hanna’s Jewish faith when it appears that Hanna is falling in love with the Commandant’s son. Can this really be love or is it just gratitude .. and how can she have feelings for a Nazi son?
The ending may seem a little unlikely but the story as a whole is a compelling read for anyone wanting to know more about the Holocaust. The characters may be fictional but the events are described with the ring of truth.
A thought provoking novel, it was shortlisted for the 2013 Book of The Year (Older Readers).
Recommended (dma) ****