Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Almost Autumn

Almost Autumn. Marianne Kaurin. Translated by Rosie Hedger. 2012/2017. Scholastic. 278 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Summer is over.

Premise/plot: Almost Autumn is set in Oslo, Norway in 1942. The heroine is a young teenager named Ilse Stern. She has an older sister and a younger sister. The novel opens with Ilse sneaking out of the house wearing a white dress with red polka dots. It's clearly a summer dress, and it is almost autumn. But she's meeting a boy, Hermann Rod, and it's more important to be beautiful than warm. He breaks the date, and disappoints the girl. But he's broken the date for an important reason: he's part of the Resistance, and he's trapped hiding in a building waiting for the Nazis to disperse. She doesn't know this, of course, no one does. Hermann isn't going to to around telling everyone what he's doing when he's not at work--not even his parents, especially not his parents. Hermann struggles in this one: should he warn Ilse Stern and her family to flee for their lives and press on her the urgency of the matter, the seriousness of the situation, or does he wait until he knows more?

Hermann isn't the only one struggling, there are others as well. Isak Stern is struggling as well. Should he and his family stay? Should they try to sneak out of the country and into Sweden? How much time does he have before it becomes critical? He's reluctant to make such a drastic, dramatic decision. But time isn't on his side.

Another who is struggling is a taxi driver who lives in the same apartment building. One day he's hired by the Germans for a secret project. He knows that it is wrong on every level to be doing what he's doing. Some of the Jews he's transporting for round-up are his friends, his neighbors. But he goes along with it anyway. Yet is he beyond redemption? Will he always lose the struggle with his conscience?

My thoughts: Almost Autumn is a fictional account of the Holocaust from the point of view of Norwegian Jews. In October, Jewish men were arrested and rounded up. In November, Jewish women and children were arrested and rounded up. They were sent by ship to concentration camps.
"The German ship Donau sailed from Oslo on the afternoon of that same day [November 26, 1942] with 532 Norwegian Jews on board. Only nine of those were to survive Auschwitz." (276)

Almost Autumn is dramatic but not overly dramatic. I think it's well worth reading. It's not unusual for Holocaust books to be set in Germany, Poland, or Austria, but how many have you read set in Norway? Even if there were dozens, no two stories are the same.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP