Today I have a review of Annelies by David R. Gillham and now available from Viking Books!
What if Anne Frank had survived the Holocaust?
I first read The Diary of a Young Girl as… a young girl. I remember being appalled and confused- how could humans be capable of such atrocities? This really happened? I remember deep in my heart, much like the story of Anastasia out of Russia, there was a glimmer of hope that Anne survived. I think we all wanted that, right? We could see her purpose on the pages of her writing. We could imagine a bright future, a full life. What if Anne Frank lived?
Anne Frank is now sixteen years old, and she has survived the Holocaust. Her sister and mother perished, but she is able to reunite with her father, Pim, in Amsterdam.
Anne is having a challenging time, understandably so, processing her losses and the horrors she witnessed. Pim just wants life as normal and to forget the past. To top it off, Anne’s diary, her anchor, has been lost.
Anne has many feelings to work through, including grief and heartbreak, along with trauma. Ultimately, she’s on the search for forgiveness, too.
Who would Anne be as an adult once she works through all these feelings? Would she write again?
David Gillham handles Anne’s survivor’s guilt masterfully. The writing is lyrical. This is a tribute to Anne Frank in all ways. The beautiful, full-of-heart child given a chance to survive and fulfill her dreams, answering that “what if” with sensitivity and respect. A story like this could come off as trite, but it doesn’t. It’s realistic and well-grounded. Thank you to the author for giving us Annelies.
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
A powerful and deeply humane new novel that asks the question: What if Anne Frank survived the Holocaust?
The year is 1945, and Anne Frank is sixteen years old. Having survived the concentration camps, but lost her mother and sister, she reunites with her father, Pim, in newly liberated Amsterdam. But it’s not as easy to fit the pieces of their life back together. Anne is adrift, haunted by the ghosts of the horrors they experienced, while Pim is fixated on returning to normalcy. Her beloved diary has been lost, and her dreams of becoming a writer seem distant and pointless now.
As Anne struggles to overcome the brutality of memory and build a new life for herself, she grapples with heartbreak, grief, and ultimately the freedom of forgiveness. A story of trauma and redemption, Annelies honors Anne Frank’s legacy as not only a symbol of hope and perseverance, but also a complex young woman of great ambition and heart.
Anne Frank is a cultural icon whose diary painted a vivid picture of the Holocaust and made her an image of humanity in one of history’s darkest moments. But she was also a person—a precocious young girl with a rich inner life and tremendous skill as a writer. In this masterful new novel, David R. Gillham explores with breathtaking empathy the woman—and the writer—she might have become.
Have you read Annelies, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR