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I very much enjoying this book.It is well written.The main characters are sympathetic and the plot is well constructed.I would recommend this book to anyone interested in both the Jewish and German perspective on this era .Also It is well balanced,showing that all the people were victims of Nazism .
People Like Us takes place in Germany during the 1930’s, life is good for the Heinrich family and they have just moved into a beautiful house in Leipzig. Hetty's father is a busy man, Hetty, her mother and her brother Karl don’t question what the head of the household is up to, he works hard for their family and very long days. Hetty attends school at the local gymnasium, here she’s taught what every teenage German girl needs to know, the curriculum has been changed and it’s all about making Germany great again and they're being brainwashed.
Hetty starts to have doubts, she maybe a spoiled teenage girl, but she can’t understand why Jewish people are being treated so badly and she knows some nice Jewish families. Hetty almost drowned when she was eight her brother’s best friend Walter saved her and he is Jewish. But Karl, cuts all ties with Walter, his childhood friend is shunned and he’s no longer welcome at their house. Hetty also learns the shocking truth about her father’s job he’s working for the SS and how he obtained the house the family is living in.
The brown shirts start targeting innocent Jewish people, including children and older people. Their property is taken from them, they are bashed in the street, publicly humiliated, charged a fortune to try to get a passport and to leave the country. It’s very interesting to read about the German perspective as they head towards fighting in another world war, its scary what they think is necessary and right. Hitler had a plan for human progression, it’s not just Jewish people he wanted to eliminate, he wanted to create a super race, of pure Aryan blood, he believed this will stop crime, hereditary diseases, insanity and create scientific advancement. Hetty is horrified to discover her father also believes this, he thinks Hetty should marry a German man and produce perfect blond haired blue eyed pure Aryan babies. Hetty has major issues with what her father wants her to do, she hopes to finish school and dreams of being a doctor, she doesn’t want to be used as a German brood mare and she has fallen in love with Walter, he is of course Jewish and every time they meet they risk being arrested.
I couldn’t stop reading People Like Us, the book is very different to other WW II historical fiction I have read and I really liked it. The story is about two young people trying to go against the Nazi tide, finding the courage to keep going as they fight to survive and try desperately to be together. I gave the book five big stars.
I don’t want to spoil the story, so I’m not going to reveal the plot. This is the most beautifully written novel and I couldn’t put it down. It hooked me in right from the beginning. The narrative is told from the POV of a young girl, Hetty, and through her eyes you feel as though you are there living and breathing the rise of the Nazi party in prewar Germany. As a reader, it is interesting to see the events unfolding and told from the view of the young. The characters are clearly described and the unfolding story is guaranteed to pull at your heart strings. Cleverly told, with lots of historical research intertwined in realistic and convincing ways. It is interesting to read how the writer came to write this book, particularly her family’s own personal background as German Jews, which inspired this work. It must have been challenging to write it from the POV of a young girl who is brought up in a Nazi home, but as the narrative progresses, it is clear that this was a cleverly chosen stance as the conflicts and tensions that arise from Hetty’s breaking away from the Status Quo are the ones that shape her life and which eventually lead to a bittersweet ending. Fabulous!
This is a book that will stay with you, long after you have read the final word. It is both unusual but also engaging from the beginning as it is cleverly told from the point of view of ‘the enemy’, a young girl who through no choice of her own, is raised into the Nazi ideology of her time. Full of historical facts and vivid descriptions, you are drawn in to the brutal reality of 1930s Leipzig and the rising tensions and anti semitism of pre-war Germany. Although set in historical times, it brings to the fore the parallels that exist in our world today when an ideology takes over and as civilised and educated people, we can be so easily influenced and manipulated. It also beautifully depicts the humanity and bravery that connect us all and how it is possible to transcend and overcome even the most brutal and divisive of times.A book that will open your eyes and soul to the power of seeing the world at a distance from your own perspective. I highly recommend it.
"People Like Us" (Head of Zeus, May 2020) is a novel by debut author, Louise Fein, set in Leipzig, Germany, in the years running up to World War II.
Herta (Hetty) Heinrich is a good German girl, member of the BDM and daughter of an SS officer. Walter, her brother's childhood friend, is blond, blue-eyed, and a Jew. As their illicit friendship deepens and blossoms, Walter challenges Hetty's beliefs in the world they are living in.
"Why does love end in pain?" (p. 388)
This is a love story that will stay with me for a long time: it's beautiful, devastating, horrific and heartwarming. Highly recommend.
A wonderful read. A beautiful tale set in pre-WW2 Germany that has you rooting for the two young lovers who find themselves caught up in a Germany that starts to come under the control of Hitler. This story managed to transport me to 1930's Leipzig and I was genuinely moved by the tale. A stunning debut and one I could see bing made into an outstanding series: Amazon and Netflix, take note! I shall certainly be looking out for what the author pens next and thoroughly recommend you read this.
People Like Us is a powerful novel which tells the story of a forbidden love in pre-war Germany. Recounting the action from Hetty's perspective - the only daughter of an SS officer we see the rise of the Nazi party and how ordinary people were horrifyingly swept up in the ideology and propaganda. It's only when she falls in love with her childhood friend, Walter, who is Jewish that her eyes begin to open and she sees the truth of what is really happening. This is a gorgeous written, emotive and heart-rending debut that is surely a future classic of our times.
Heart wrenching story. What makes it different and so powerful is that it is written from the viewpoint of the daughter of a high ranking Nazi supporter. It is fascinating to watch her personal growth and how the Nazi brainwashing affected her when she fell in love with a Jewish boy. You might need tissues at the end. Couldn’t put it down.