Sunday 8 September 2019

The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory BLOG TOUR @AnnaEllory @AmazonPub @ed_pr #TheRabbitGirls

Berlin, 1989. As the wall between East and West falls, Miriam Winter cares for her dying father, Henryk. When he cries out for someone named Frieda – and Miriam discovers an Auschwitz tattoo hidden under his watch strap – Henryk’s secret history begins to unravel.
Searching for more clues of her father’s past, Miriam finds an inmate uniform from the Ravensbrück women’s camp concealed among her mother’s things. Within its seams are dozens of letters to Henryk written by Frieda. The letters reveal the disturbing truth about the ‘Rabbit Girls’, young women experimented on at the camp. And amid their tales of sacrifice and endurance, Miriam pieces together a love story that has been hidden away in Henryk’s heart for almost fifty years.
Inspired by these extraordinary women, Miriam strives to break through the walls she has built around herself. Because even in the darkest of times, hope can survive.

The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory was published by Lake Union on 1 September 2019 in hardback.

My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and to Megan at ed public relations who invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

The Rabbit Girls is an impeccably written story that spans the decades from World War Two through to the fall of the Berlin War in 1989. 

There seems to have been a glut of Second World War fiction over the past few years, especially those that recount the stories of the ordinary people who were captured and held in the appalling concentration camps. 
The Rabbit Girls referred to in the title of this novel were the women held in these camps and used for experiments by the Nazis. Those women were treated worse than any animal, considered only for their worth as a body for experimentation; their humanity stripped away from them.

Anna Ellory's theme throughout this novel is one of oppression. From the camps, to the modern day where the reader learns about the brutality of an oppressive marriage.

The story is narrated by three characters; Miriam has returned to her childhood home to care for her dying father Henryk; theirs has not been the easiest of relationships and she misses her Mother. Miriam is also having to deal with her own failed relationship with her husband. 
When she discovers a tattoo under her father's wristwatch, she realises that he must have been held in a concentration camp during the war. She had never known that. When Henryk calls out the name Frieda, Miriam is even more unsettled. Her mother's name was not Frieda.

We are then taken back to 1942 when Henryk is a lecturer in college where he meets Frieda for the first time. We accompany him through his relationship with her.

Throughout the story we also hear the voice of Frieda. Written in the letters that are sewn into the seams of a uniform worn by an inmate of the concentration camps.

This is not an easy read, I often found it challenging; both in content and pace, but it is compelling and horrific and cleverly woven together; linking the historical story with Miriam's own troubles.

This is an incredibly well written story from a very talented author. It is a tribute to the strength and courage of the forgotten women in the war.

Anna Ellory is a former children’s nurse from Bath. 
She completed an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, where she was mentored by author Fay Weldon. 
Anna was inspired to write The Rabbit Girls as a way of shining a light on the rarely told experiences of women and children during the Holocaust. 
It has sold in over 10 territories worldwide so far.

Twitter @AnnaEllory

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