Pastel Orphans

Written by Gemma Liviero
Review by Waheed Rabbani

Young, half-Jewish, German Polish boy Henrik watches his world fall apart after Hitler comes to power and his family suffers the inevitable discriminations associated with having even partial Jewish ancestry in the Germany of the 1930s and ’40s. He and his mother and younger sister are force to flee to Poland, leaving his dying father behind. But things are no better there: Germany soon invades, and a German officer steals Henrik’s blond-haired, blue-eyed sister for adoption back in Germany. With his mother injured in an attempt to protect her daughter, it is up to Henrik to find his sibling and rescue her.

A professional edit may benefit the novel as things bog down a bit in the middle (where there is little action and a lot of snarling), but the narrative picks up to a frantic pace at the end of the book. Despite the slow going at times, this was an interesting read.