As World War II rages, a naïve almost–15-year-old American girl is brought to Berlin by her German spy mother; there, she’s expected to be a perfect Deutsches Mädchen (German girl) and a loyal Nazi.
Harlow’s exciting historical novel begins with a bang as readers learn that Wendy Taylor, a character from Shadows on the Sea (2003), is really Wendy Dekker, the daughter of the woman she grew up thinking was her beloved Aunt Adrie. In a plot that neatly weaves historical facts with killer suspense, Wendy, now essentially a captive of her rabidly fanatical fan-of-the-Führer mother, must learn German and volunteer in a Lebensborn nursery, a eugenics program created by Himmler to create perfect blue-eyed, blond German citizens. There, her world perspective is enlarged by Jehovah’s Witness Joanna, a Bibelforscher who is being re-educated, as her religious sect will not fight for or worship Hitler. But Wendy is not as isolated as she thinks; she’s being watched over by Herr Strohkirch, a friend of her real father, and his blind grandson, Barret. They feed her information, counsel her on blending in and eventually help her to plot her escape. The final portion of the novel consists of Wendy’s harrowing journey—a nail-biting will-she-or-won’t-she flight from Germany to the relative safety of neutral Sweden.
A stimulating blend of suspense and history. (Historical fiction. 10-14)