Gretl remains there for three years, hiding her Jewish origins from Jakob’s Catholic family, until Jakob seizes an opportunity to send her to South Africa to be adopted by a Protestant family.
Again, Gretl has to hide her religion, this time pretending to be Protestant, and changing her name to Grietjie.
She settles into life in South Africa with her new family but never forgets Jakob and her past in Europe. As she grows into a young woman, circumstances align to bring back her past.
I was expecting a harrowing story of wartime but this story is quite gentle in a way. There are sad parts but they do not dwell on the brutality and injustice, they are there to tell us more about the characters and what has made them who they are. It’s an interesting tale and makes you think about the influences of religion and culture on individuals.
The changing nature of Gretl and Jakob’s relationship lies at the heart of this book but a lot of other topics are covered, especially family, love, loyalty and tolerance.
It is also available as an eBook and on audio CD.
Title: The girl from the train
Author: Irma Joubert
Recommended by Kathy N, Collections Development
Kathy N can’t sleep unless she has read a bit before turning the light off. As well as most fiction, she enjoys craft and lifestyle books to get project ideas for her rural home.