THE BORROWED HOUSE by Hilda van Stockum


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Like The Winged Watchman this is an upbeat look at the Dutch Resistance, and the heroine's beginnings as an avid Hitler Youth make less difference than you'd think. Janna is torn away from her approaching youth group performance as Brunhilde to join her parents, both well known German actors, in occupied Amsterdam. Janna grows uneasy about the fate of a girl her age, whose possessions still fill her room in the confiscated house her mother has connived to get; she overhears her mother's would-be lover (an officer described as a junker although he is Bavarian) criticize Hitler; and eventually, when she discovers a Resistance worker in a hidden room, Janna helps keep his secret. . . and even faces up to the discovery that her Dutch Siegfried is a Jew. Janna's psychological shift, while complex enough to be credible of! the surface, is far less involving than the richly furnished, honeycombed interior of the house. Despite the debates. . . with her Dutch tutor and others. . . about the Wagnerian themes of power and violence, and despite this Brunhilde's climactic bout with flame when she accidentally sets fire to the house in the middle of a party for Occupation functionaries, this is basically a suspense story of secret rooms, lost paintings and hidden passages.

Pub Date: May 19th, 1975
ISBN: 1883937469
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux