Firstly I wish to thank Sarah Hardy, representing Bookouture for inviting me on the Blog Tour for A View Across the Rooftops by Suzanne Kelman. Love the cover for this book.
1941, Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. An unforgettable story of love, hope and betrayal, and a testament to the courage of humanity in history’s darkest days.
University professor Josef Held has never recovered from the loss of his beloved wife – and has no intention of ever letting anyone new into his quiet, safe world. It is a world where the clock ticks steadily in his mathematics classroom, even as the sinister beat of Nazi soldiers’ boots threaten to drown it out.
Terrified, Josef tries to keep his eyes on the ground as Jews across the city are forced into ghettos. But then Michael Blum, his most reluctant, infuriating pupil, tells Josef Jews like him will no longer be allowed to study at all. Josef can ignore the situation no longer. And, after the shock of seeing his neighbour killed on his own doorstep, he offers Michael a place to hide in an impulsive act of courage.
Michael is everything Josef is not: spontaneous, poetic, and unafraid to love. Even though his passionate relationship with a Dutch girl is strictly forbidden – for he is Jewish, and she is not. Somehow, in the quiet gloom of the attic, Josef doesn’t mind things about Michael that annoyed him in the classroom, and a bond begins to grow.
Remembering the pain of his own heartbreak, Josef is desperate to give Michael and his girlfriend a chance. He must go on as if nothing has changed: teaching his class, bowing to the Nazis. Beneath the fear, a thrill of defiance begins to bloom. But then Michael becomes perilously ill, and there is no way to get him the help he desperately needs.
As the dark days of war continue, with danger and betrayal at every turn, no-one can be trusted. If Michael is to survive and get back to the woman he loves, it will be down to Josef – to find the hero inside himself, and do whatever it takes to keep Michael alive. Even if it means putting his own life on the line.
A heartbreakingly beautiful story about love, trust, and courage against the odds, perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Lilac Girls, and The Nightingale.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
Oh my, this was another tearful book for me for all the best reason. At times there feels such a strong connection with a story that it seems to become personal and so how you feel and care about the characters affect you. This was such a book for me.
Set in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam in 1941 the local people have no choice but to follow the constantly changing demands given to them. Michael Blum was a young man who had an infectious personality, challenging, sensitive and very in love with a Dutch girl. A perfect match in every way, except for now because Michael was a Jew and she wasn’t. Michael was studying advanced Math at university under Professor Josef Held and was a real thorn in his side with his teasing antics. When Michael tells the Professor that Jews will no longer be allowed to attend University Josef gives him a book. A book that will save his life.
When the Nazis go to round Michael up to be taken away he escapes because of a good friend, leaving the love of his life and making her promise to make a life for herself without him. He heads for his only hope of not being caught that night, the Professor’s house, the address had been in the book cover unknown to the Professor when he gave Michael the book.
What begins as a one-night solution builds into a friendship that still brings tears to my eyes. There is some terrible hold your breath moments, especially as Josef’s niece takes up with a high ranking Nazi. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the shame and guilt that the people left behind felt when life long friends were hauled out of their homes and taken away. Whole communities and streets left baron of its occupants within hours of being raided by the Nazis while others turned their backs unable to help because they would have been killed.
This story is brutal and inspirational, cruel and beautiful, the worst and the very best of humanity. So very beautifully written, so very tender at times it is how both men became the salvation for each other. I love the characters that the author created each one brought the perfect reaction from me. Do read the authors notes, which again brought floods of tears for me. Very highly recommended!
I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Suzanne Kelman is the Amazon International Bestselling author of “The Rejected Writers’ Book Club”, published by Lake Union, which is the first book in the Southlea Bay series. Also in the series, “Rejected Writers Take the Stage” and “The Rejected Writers’ Christmas Wedding”.
In 2019 Suzanne is releasing her first Historical Fiction book inspired by a true story called, “A View Across the Rooftops”, published by Bookouture, an imprint for Hachette U.K.
Kelman is also an award-winning writer/screenwriter whose accolades include the Best Comedy Feature Screenplay Award from the L.A. International Film Festival, the Gold Award from the California Film Awards, and the Van Gogh Award from the Amsterdam Film Festival.
In 2015 her script, Held, was regonized by the Academy of Motion Pictures and was shortlisted to the top ten in the Academy Of Motion Pictures Nichols Fellowship competition.
As well as a screenwriter and a published author, Suzanne is also a playwright and her award-winning comedy play, “Over My Dead Body”, has its World Premiere at Outcast Theatre in Washington, Fall 2019.
Born in the United Kingdom, Suzanne now resides in Washington State.