THE EMPTY MOAT by Margaretha Shemin


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In wartime Holland, a story too small for its tragic reach with a sixteen-year-old too small-minded to be a heroine. Swaenenburgh Castle is occupied by the Germans and, upon learning that her older sister is going to marry one, Elizabeth's father has a stroke, putting her in a position to indulge her fears and refuse to harbor more Jewish refugees--an attitude she persists in even after she's reluctantly hidden a downed Englishman (in civilian clothes, which isn't explained). Told that childhood, friend Roza Cohen needs a hideout, she still hesitates momentarily, and only when faced with Roza's imminent capture does she acquire some courage. When death hangs in the balance, it's impossible not to be moved, and the reader is. . . by the plight, of the victims not of Elizabeth (whose conscience was thrust upon her by a principled German soldier and a selfless priest). But then this brief book is all stress and no tensile strength.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1969
Publisher: Coward-McCann