Girl in the Blue Coat

Girl in the Blue Coat

By Monica Hesse

Hanneke, a teenage girl trying to make ends meet, delivers black market goods to paying customers in Nazi occupied Amsterdam.  Hanneke has a special knack for finding sought after items. Her boyfriend was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded, so Hanneke likes to think of her illegal acts as a small rebellion against the Nazis. 

When delivering to a regular customer, Anneke is asked for help locating something special.  Mrs. Janssen is desperately looking for a highly dangerous person: a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding in a secret room of her house. The girl had vanished without a trace in a city that was not kind to girls like her. The race against the clock for Hanneke to solve the mystery of the girl in the blue coat is one fraught with danger, intrigue, and grief. 

Along her search, she encounters members of the resistance and is forced to look outside her narrow, grief stricken views of what is happening to her country and accept that a much larger evil is at hand.  The dark secret that is Jewish treatment under Nazi occupation in World War 2 is revealed to her and she must decide whether to face this new truth, or pretend it does not exist.  Weaving into the historic tales of the onderduikers, the hidden Jews of Holland, this mystery novel has a great blend of history and intrigue laced throughout. 

Read with a box of tissues if you’re the type that cries over books, maybe even if you’re not! At times heart wrenching, this book is wonderfully written and insightful. I loved the characters’ growth throughout the novel, and appreciated the historical events recounted in this story.

A good read alike would be Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.