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The Girl with the Red Hair by Imogen Matthews

The Girl with the Red Hair by Imogen Matthews is a poignant and emotionally gripping novel that plunges the reader into the heart of Nazi-occupied Amsterdam during World War II. Through the lives of Hannie, Sonja, and their circle, Matthews paints a vivid picture of the fear, bravery, and camaraderie that defined one of history's darkest times.

Matthews' narrative is a beautifully crafted tapestry of friendship, resistance, and the relentless pursuit of justice. Hannie's character, with her distinctive red hair and indomitable spirit, embodies the resilience of those who fought against the oppression of the Nazi regime from the shadows. Her journey is not just a tale of survival, but a testament to the power of human will to effect change in the face of insurmountable odds.

The relationship between Hannie and Sonja is the emotional core of the story, showcasing the depth of their bond and the sacrifices they are willing to make for each other. This dynamic is further enriched by the introduction of Jan, whose involvement with the resistance adds layers of complexity and intrigue to the narrative.

Matthews does not shy away from the harrowing realities of war, yet her storytelling is imbued with a sense of hope and the enduring strength of the human spirit. The incorporation of true-life events and figures lends authenticity and power to the narrative, making the reader reflect on the past with a renewed sense of appreciation for the sacrifices made by those who came before us.

The Girl with the Red Hair is not only a testament to the bravery of a young Dutch woman but also a homage to all who fought for freedom against tyranny. Matthews' skillful writing and meticulous research make this novel a compelling read for fans of historical fiction. The book's themes of courage, friendship, and sacrifice are universal, resonating with readers long after the last page is turned.

This novel is a moving tribute to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of love and friendship to overcome the darkest of times.

More About the Book

My heart thrashes inside my chest as I watch my best friend get dragged away by German soldiers. I run towards her, begging them to stop, but then I see the gun. ‘No, please!’ I shout as panicked tears stream down my face. ‘Don’t hurt her!’ I’m the only one left who can save her…

1942, Amsterdam. The Nazi occupation has shattered the lives of inseparable best friends Hannie and Sonja. The canals and rainy cobbled streets they once strolled down are now patrolled by soldiers day and night, who arrest people at will and beat those who resist.

Hannie can’t stand by and watch the lives of the innocent be destroyed by the evil occupiers. At great danger to herself, she joins the underground resistance, where she meets the charming and mysterious Jan. She covers her bright red hair to avoid detection by the Nazis while distributing fake IDs. And she makes a promise to Sonja and her little sister Maya, who are Jewish – she will hide them and keep them safe, no matter the cost.

But as the German grip on the country tightens with each passing day, Sonja’s worst fears come true when members of her family are taken prisoner. With Jan by her side, Hannie goes undercover as a nurse to try to free them. But she’s devastated when she discovers they’ve been taken to a concentration camp in the isolated far east of the country. Is she too late to save them?

And when Sonja goes missing, Hannie is terrified the worst has happened – has someone betrayed her best friend? Hannie knows her most dangerous task is now ahead of her. Can Hannie save Sonja, and will she have to make the biggest sacrifice of all to bring her home?

Inspired by the incredible true-life story of a brave young Dutch woman who would stop at nothing to fight for justice and freedom, The Girl with the Red Hair is an utterly heart-wrenching and emotional World War Two novel of one woman’s bravery and sacrifice. Perfect for fans of Heather Morris, Kristin Hannah and Fiona Valpy.

More About Imogen Matthews

Imogen MatthewsImogen Matthews writes novels based on true stories about the Netherlands during the German occupation in World War 2. Some stories she discovered by chance, others are based on her Dutch mother's own experiences of hardship and survival during the Hunger Winter of 1944-45.

Her first novel, The Hidden Village, is set in the Veluwe woods, a beautiful part of Holland that Imogen has visited frequently over the past 30 years. It was in these woods that she discovered the story of the real hidden village which provided shelter in underground huts for Jews during WW2. Imogen retells the story of the hidden village with characters drawn from real life and from her imagination.

Within weeks of publication in 2017, The Hidden Village became an international bestseller, ranking at the top of a number Amazon's most-read book lists.

Following on from The Hidden Village comes Hidden in the Shadows, which has the pace of a thriller yet is also a love story. It tells the story about two young people who are brutally torn apart and must find a way to be together against all odds.

Imogen's third WW2 novel, The Girl Across the Wire Fence, is set in Amersfoort, Netherlands, and is based on the unforgettable tale of two young lovers who risked everything to keep hope alive in the very depths of hell - the little known Dutch concentration camp called Kamp Amersfoort.

Imogen's WW2 novels are published by Bookouture, a digital imprint of Hachette.

Learn more about Imogen's story in this video:


Connect with Imogen Matthews on social media:

Facebook: @theHiddenVillagenovel

Twitter: @ImogenMatthews3

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