Finally today, a review on the blog tour of The Girl in the Striped Dress by Ellie Midwood, a beautiful yet heartbreaking and thought-provoking novel, based on a true story…..

about the book

Title: The Girl in the Striped Dress
Author: Ellie Midwood
Genre: Historical Fiction (based on a true story)
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Estimated page count: 364
Formats available: Paperback, Audiobook and eBook.  Available on Kindle Unlimited
Publisher:Bookouture (9 Aug. 2021)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Tour organised by: Bookouture

Auschwitz, 1942: This unforgettable novel, based on a true story, brings to life history’s most powerful tale of forbidden love. Set within the barbed wire of Auschwitz, a man and a woman fall in love against unimaginable odds. What happens next will restore your faith in humanity, and make you believe in hope even where hope should not exist.

“I won’t let anything happen to you,” he whispered, pressing a note into her hand. Her entire body trembled when she read it: I am in love with you.

Helena steps off the cattle train onto the frozen grounds of Auschwitz. She has twenty-four hours to live. Scheduled to be killed tomorrow, she is not even tattooed with a prison number. As the snow falls around her, she shivers, knowing that she has been sentenced to death for a crime she didn’t commit.

When a gray-clad officer marches towards Helena and pulls her away, she fears the worst. Instead, he tells her that it’s one of the guard’s birthdays and orders her to serenade him.

Inside the SS barracks the air is warm, thick with cigarette smoke and boisterous conversation. After she sings to the guard, Franz, he presses a piece of cake into her hands––the first thing she has eaten in days. On the spot, he orders her life to be saved, forever changing the course of her fate.

What follows is a love story that was forbidden, that should have been impossible, and yet saved both of their lives––and hundreds of others––in more ways than one.

Fans of The Tattooist of AuschwitzThe Choice, and The Orphan Train will be utterly entranced by this unputdownable page-turner. This completely heartbreaking yet beautifully hopeful novel shows that love can survive anything and grow anywhere.

*Previously titled: Auschwitz Syndrome

Purchase links: Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ Audible UK ~ Audible US ~ Soundcloud

my thoughts

Helena arrives at Auschwitz and realises that she’s about to meet her end.  But beforehand she’s summoned to sing to one of the SS Officers as it’s his birthday, and after being enthralled by her, he orders for her execution to be cancelled.  She ends up working in the Kanada section  – a more ‘privileged’ part of the camp, overseen by Franz himself.  What slowly develops is a surprising and unexpected love, which saves more than one life…..

This is a heartbreaking, emotional and beautiful story that brings a true story to life.  Writing about the Holocaust and Auschwitz is a challenging task, but Ellie does it perfectly.  Not only does she follow up with an authors note at the end which gives us the facts on the real life characters and events, but she also introduces us in the beginning too which makes such a difference.

The story will get you thinking.  How can an inmate fall for one of the SS Officers? But even though I found Franz to be absolutely despicable in the beginning, you can’t help but warm to him as the story progresses.  The way he cares for Helena will warm your heart.  It really got me thinking about the real life Helena and Franz, other inmates/officers and the whole aspect of Stockholm syndrome.

I’m sure most people are aware of the atrocities that took place at Auschwitz, so be prepared for some of the detail in this book.  However, it has all been historically researched by Ellie and brings to life what the conditions of the camp must have been like.  As mentioned, the story covers more of the more ‘privileged’ part of the camp but there is still a lot of detail about the gas chambers and horrific level of murder.

As a historian in training and a book lover, this ticks every box for me.  Historically accurate, beautifully portrayed but heartbreakingly true, and with a storyline that will keep you turning every page.  You’ll feel torn about how you should feel about Franz and it will certainly raise a lot of questions for you.  In my opinion this is an outstanding book – absolutely highly recommended by me.

about the book

Ellie Midwood is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning historical fiction author. She owes her interest in the history of the Second World War to her grandfather, Junior Sergeant in the 2nd Guards Tank Army of the First Belorussian Front, who began telling her about his experiences on the frontline when she was a young girl. Growing up, her interest in history only deepened and transformed from reading about the war to writing about it. After obtaining her BA in Linguistics, Ellie decided to make writing her full-time career and began working on her first full-length historical novel, The Girl from Berlin.’ Ellie is continuously enriching her library with new research material and feeds her passion for WWII and Holocaust history by collecting rare memorabilia and documents.

In her free time, Ellie is a health-obsessed yoga enthusiast, neat freak, adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew, and a doggie mama. Ellie lives in New York with her fiancé and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.

Where to find Ellie online: Facebook | EllieMidwood ~ Instagram | @elliemidwood ~ Website 

follow the tour

Massive thanks to Noelle for inviting me on to the tour, and to Ellie, Bookouture and Netgalley for my copy of the book.  All views and opinions are my own.

I’ll be back in a few days lovelies – hope you have a good’un.

Chelle x

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