Monday, November 19, 2018

The Girl They Left Behind
by Roxanne Veletzos

Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 368
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  On a freezing night in January 1941, a little Jewish girl is found on the steps of an apartment building in Bucharest. With Romania recently allied with the Nazis, the Jewish population is in grave danger, undergoing increasingly violent persecution. The girl is placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by a wealthy childless couple who name her Natalia. As she assimilates into her new life, she all but forgets the parents who were forced to leave her behind. They are even further from her mind when Romania falls under Soviet occupation.

Yet, as Natalia comes of age in a bleak and hopeless world, traces of her identity pierce the surface of her everyday life, leading gradually to a discovery that will change her destiny. She has a secret crush on Victor, an intense young man who as an impoverished student befriended her family long ago. Years later, when Natalia is in her early twenties and working at a warehouse packing fruit, she and Victor, now an important official in the Communist regime, cross paths again. This time they are fatefully drawn into a passionate affair despite the obstacles swirling around them and Victor’s dark secrets.

When Natalia is suddenly offered a one-time chance at freedom, Victor is determined to help her escape, even if it means losing her. Natalia must make an agonizing decision: remain in Bucharest with her beloved adoptive parents and the man she has come to love, or seize the chance to finally live life on her own terms, and to confront the painful enigma of her past.


Kritters Thoughts:  A young girl is left on a front stoop and she ends up with a couple that has yearned for a child for a long time.  This couple have money and connections, but when the government changes their life and lifestyle doesn't help them and really almost hinders them.

The question that I had running through my mind throughout the book was what happened to her biological parents AND was them leaving her behind the best decision for her and her future.  Thankfully both of those questions are sort of answered by the end of the book.  

To spoil something a bit, I loved finding out in the end that this book was based in truth and in the author's family's truth.  The author's note in the end tells the reader where the fact and fiction are, but how fun to have some truth in the heart of this story.  

I have read a few World War II books recently and thankfully all of them have taken place in a different setting, so I am getting all sorts of viewpoints of how this war affected people across the globe.  

This story was set in a country that I have never read about and I am sad to admit that I didn't think about Eastern Europe being affected by Nazi Germany and World War II.  I love it when a book makes me go research a time and place to get more context around the story.  

This was a great debut and I hope that this author has a few more up her sleeve!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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