The Silent Child

Written by J. Kelly
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

The story opens in 1943. Hanna is a small child, rescued from Poland, who arrives in the fens in Cambridgeshire to live with Uncle Marcin and Aunt Lydia and who remembers nothing of who she is or where she is from. Years later her uncle dies, and a letter found among his possessions leads her to Berlin to try and find her family, if any are still alive, and anything else about her identity. The book then follows Hanna’s life through the war. She finds she is Jewish, which complicates things even more.

The book is well written, the characterisation is good, and the tense atmosphere comes across very well in places, but I did not find it a comfortable read. For younger readers or those who are keen to follow the events of WWII, it is full of information about the darker side of the war, but for those of us who are older and lived through it all, even from this side of the channel, it can be a very uneasy read. Not one with which to curl up in front of the fire on a chilly evening.

Is Hanna successful in her mission? That is for the reader to decide.