Inspired by a true story, My Mother’s Secret is a captivating and ultimately uplifting tale intertwining the lives of two Jewish families in hiding from the Nazis, a fleeing German soldier, and the mother and daughter who save them all.
Franciszka and her daughter, Helena, are simple, ordinary people…until 1939, when the Nazis invade their homeland. Providing shelter to Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland is a death sentence, but Franciszka and Helena do exactly that. In their tiny home in Sokal, they hide a Jewish family in a loft above their pigsty, a Jewish doctor with his wife and son in a makeshift cellar under the kitchen, and a defecting German soldier in the attic—each party completely unknown to the others. For everyone to survive, Franciszka will have to outsmart her neighbors and the German commander.
Told simply and succinctly from four different perspectives—all under one roof—My Mother’s Secret is a testament to the kindness, courage, and generosity of ordinary people who chose to be extraordinary.
No. of pages:- 209 pages
Published:- September 5th 2013
Genre:- Historical Fiction
Any book based on Holocaust appeals me. My Mother’s Secret by J.L. Witterick is one such book, based on the true events. The book talks about two women, Franciszka and her daughter Helena, who led a simple life in a small Polish town called Sokal with Damien, Helena’s older brother, until Germans invade Poland in 1939 and outbreak of WWII. This story talks about how this one woman, through courageous and bravery act saves two Jewish families and a German deserted soldier, all under one roof without raising suspicions from the neighbors.
The story is told from the four perspectives–Helena who gets a job as a clerk in a German company and falls in love with a German man named Casmir who owns the factory. Helena was initially scared at the thought of Jewish families hiding in their home but soon started to help those families. Brodnek is a Jew who was sent to ghetto with his family and after witnessing his brother’s death and his daughter taken away, he escapes from the ghetto and asks help from Franciszka who helps him and his family to hide in the pig shed. Another Jewish family, whose father is a doctor and the mother becomes friends with Franciszka and because of her friendship, the family hides under the cellar. Vilhelm, a German soldier who silently disagrees with the Nazi principles runs away and hides in the attic of the house. Through these perspectives we see how this one woman with brave and courage helps them to survive in the war.
Though I really like the story what with it being a true story, the writing to me was a bit childish. Nevertheless, the story was short, easy to read and also quick to read that you could actually finish this book in one setting. The language used in the book was easy and simply to understand and since all these perspectives are written in first person point of view, you get to know each of these characters’ lives, before, during and after the war.
Truly an emotional story and worth five stars!
J.L. Witterick is the international bestselling author of My Mother’s Secret. It was always her passion to create a story about how anything is possible if we connect with each other through kindness, understanding, and courage. Originally from Taiwan, she has been living in Canada since her family’s arrival in 1968.