Posted in 1940's, Book reviews, Fiction Guild, Spiritual beliefs

Fiction Guild Book Review: “The Girl from the Train” by Irma Joubert

“The Girl from the Train” by Irma Joubert

Review copy source: Fiction Guild

Releases November 3rd, 2015

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars


About the Book:

Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Auschwitz. Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks.

As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They mean to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her home. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.

My Thoughts:


This book had an interesting concept, and the plot was definitely interesting. I liked the writing style for the most part, but there was a lot of political-ness that I didn’t quite understand. It was kind of slow for me to get through, especially in the beginning/middle. The end started to speed up a bit, and was more able to capture my attention, but it still didn’t ‘fill me’.
I’ll start with what I liked; there were definitely parts in this book that I enjoyed. I liked the characters – Gretjie and Jakob were very likeable characters! Gretjie’s father was explaining to her how we grow in trials, it was really cool because he used the refining of silver as an example, and he said that God refines us – He knows how long to leave us in the fire, until He can see His image in us. The book explained it way better, but it really was an amazing scene!
While I didn’t hate this book, I did have some concerns:
The romance was…hard to ingest. At times it seemed lovely, but I think it caused more of a stumbling block than a dreamy-romance kind of thing for me. I don’t read a ton of romances, but I don’t mind some romance in books, as long as it is God-centered and clean. The purpose of romance in books should always be to keep God center stage and point back to Him. Keeping it innocent. And I just personally didn’t feel like that occurred much in “The Girl on the Train” – at least for me. Oh it was an interesting romance, to be sure – not the typical story. But after I finished the book, I just didn’t feel…I don’t know; “right”? This book was not building me up in the faith, and for that reason I couldn’t love it.
The romance in itself was probably typical of many books, but it leaves a girl wanting – yearning for what isn’t. I also didn’t care for the kissing. That is an age-old complaint for me in books – kissing before marriage. I know there are many views on this, but for my personal convictions I feel kissing should be saved for marriage. We are to keep ourselves for our spouses, and I think that means saving our kisses too. In the world today, kisses are just nothing. They are casual, they are used often. But they are sacred.
And I want books to encourage that – to encourage romance even after marriage. They portray the fact that bubbly romance can only occur before marriage – but that’s not true! If we save ourselves and enter into God’s covenant of marriage, He will bless us, and of course the romance will be sweeter, if we save ourselves.
I’m going off on a tangent now, aren’t I? :) Those were just my thoughts after finishing this book.
I guess my biggest ‘concern’ and possibly ‘turn-off’ from the book was how the romance left me feeling, and the vast amount of political facts which just didn’t register in my mind.
So, to end, there were interesting aspects of this book, and many may love it – it just wasn’t totally for me.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers and Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

Posted in Books, reading, update

Some September Reads

September books 2015 (2)


Hello readers!

I thought that perhaps today I’d show a picture of some of my September Reads. From the picture, it doesn’t look too big, but seeing that September is already half over and I actually forgot a couple of my ‘to-read’ books, it’s big enough for me! In case you can’t really tell the titles from the picture, I’m reading/going to read:

“All Our Empty Places” by Alicia G. Ruggieri – I am actually almost done with this one and it is FANTASTIC! I am so excited for this new release of Alicia’s. For anyone that read the first book in this series, “The Fragrance of Geraniums”, you definitely won’t want to miss this one! And if you haven’t read either, I highly recommend it! You’ll hear more about “All Our Empty Places” soon enough, when I share my review and spotlight the release!

“The Girl From the Train” by Irma Joubert – I started this one at the beginning of September, but it has been kind of slow for me to get through. I set it down momentarily, to read “All Our Empty Places” but I will be picking it back up shortly. :)

“Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty” by Angela Hunt – I am looking forward to this Biblical fiction; I haven’t read any of Hunt’s work before and so this will be a great chance to do so. The cover is beautiful.

“Hiding Places” by Erin Healy – Again, I haven’t read anything by this author, but I am looking forward to it. It’s a mystery/suspense novel, so it should be interesting!


And then I’m also beta-reading a couple short novella’s not pictured here. :)

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get them all read before October First, but I am certainly going to try! What are you reading?