About The Book
Three friends. Two sides. One memory.
Three young friends – Leo, Elsa and Max – spend a perfect day together, unaware that around them Europe is descending into a growing darkness, and that events soon mean that they will be cruelly ripped apart from each other. With their lives taking them across Europe – to Germany, England, Prague and Poland – will they ever find their way back to each other? Will they want to?
Inspired by a true story, WHEN THE WORLD WAS OURS is an extraordinary novel that is as powerful as it is heartbreaking, and shows how the bonds of love, family and friendship allow glimmers of hope to flourish, even in the most hopeless of times.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I don’t read it a lot of YA or children’s fiction but I was intrigued by the synopsis of this novel. A tale about the Holocaust but told through the eyes of three different children.
The novel starts in 1936 on Leo’s birthday. You see the friendship between him and his two friends Elsa and Max, the love and respect they have for Leo’s father and the incident which led to lives being saved. From there each of the often very short chapters is narrated by each of the children and covers the period from then up until the end of the war.
I have read books about the Holocaust before, but never through a child’s perspective. How a young boy is so desperate to get his father’s attention he follows his nazism views thus betraying his memories of his childhood friends. Max’s story was desperately sad but whilst I detested his actions and apparent beliefs I still had sympathy for him. I wanted him to remember what he had lost but he was too scared of giving up his new way of life and his wish for respect from his parents.
But it was Leo and Elsa I wanted to read about. Leo who gets a lucky escape and Elsa who believes that those around her will care for her and make sure that her and family and friends are safe. Their stories are mesmerising, heartbreaking and believable. Probably more so, because whilst they do show the horrors of the Holocaust it is from children who don’t really understand what is happening. They are not tall enough to see how many are crammed into transport or how many are discarded on the way. They are not old enough to understand what is happening when some are sent to the left and some to the right.
It is pure coincidence that I read this book around Holocaust Day and saw the number of interviews that the author was doing on all types of media. If you get chance find those, they are just as fascinating as this novel.
For the week of the Blog Tour, readers will be able to get dedicated and signed copies of When The World Was Ours from Bags of Books here https://bags-of-books.co.uk/