Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse Review is here. This novel centers around Hanneke, who is living in Amsterdam during World War II. Her beloved boyfriend, Bas, died while fighting to protect the borders of their country. An event that has haunted Hanneke since it happened. She’s never been able to let go of his memory, their love, or the pain his death caused her.
She gets by during this time by selling black market goods to wealthy people in the city in need of perfume, lotions, lipsticks, food, etc. One of her customers, Mrs. Janssen, approaches her with a dangerous task. She needs to find a Jewish girl she’s been hiding in a secret room of her house for three weeks. The girl went missing, and there is no trace of her. The problem is the task, if caught, means death. However, Hanneke finds herself looking for this girl in a blue coat before she can stop herself from turning away.
Hanneke’s task throws her back into the circle of Ollie, Bas’s older brother, whom she hasn’t seen since the funeral. Ollie is studying at college, but beneath his exterior, he is hiding deep secrets. Secrets that force Hanneke to know the truth of the Germans and what’s really occurring around her.
Now, Hanneke will stop at nothing to rescue the girl in the blue coat before it’s too late, even if it means putting her own self at risk. But will she find her? Or will it be another façade in this war that she can’t get to the bottom of? Either way, Hanneke must come to terms with the guilt of Bas’s death and realize that saving this girl won’t bring him back.
This book was one of my favorite historical novels to date. It was a truly beautiful story of love, heartbreak, survival, and hope. Each character was well rounded with a story that was so moving I couldn’t stop reading it. What made Girl in a Blue Coat unique was the love stories interwoven throughout it. While it wasn’t the central plot of the book, it was the foundation that made it a great novel. You really get brought into the story of Hanneke and feel her raw emotions. It makes us see that even those that weren’t brought into the concentration camps were significantly affected by this horrible war.
Another great feature of this novel is it makes the reader see the fight those secretly fought right in front of the German’s eyes. They were heroes, too, in saving the lives of babies, kids, older people, and neighbors. Even those you least expected were harboring secrets to keep those around them safe. It makes you feel the hope and vigilance people had during that time of never giving up no matter what.
Girl in a Blue Coat is a lifechanging book that Monica Hesse did a phenomenal job with. I definitely recommend reading this novel. To think, I almost didn’t make this purchase!