Dutch Girl
Twenty-five years after her passing, Audrey Hepburn remains the most beloved of all Hollywood stars, known as much for her role as UNICEF ambassador as for films like Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Several biographies have chronicled her stardom, but none has covered her intense experiences through five years of Nazi occupation in the Netherlands. According to her son, Luca Dotti, “The war made my mother who she was.” Audrey Hepburn’s war included participation in the Dutch Resistance, working as a doctor’s assistant during the “Bridge Too Far” battle of Arnhem, the brutal execution of her uncle, and the ordeal of the Hunger Winter of 1944. She also had to contend with the fact that her father was a Nazi agent and her mother was pro-Nazi for the first two years of the occupation. But the war years also brought triumphs as Audrey became Arnhem’s most famous young ballerina. Audrey’s own reminiscences, new interviews with people who knew her in the war, wartime diaries, and research in classified Dutch archives shed light on the riveting, untold story of Audrey Hepburn under fire in World War II. Also included is a section of color and black-and-white photos. Many of these images are from Audrey’s personal collection and are published here for the first time.

Dutch Girl Details

TitleDutch Girl
Author
ReleaseApr 15th, 2019
PublisherGoodKnight Books
ISBN-139781732273535
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Biography, History, Historical, War, World War II

Dutch Girl Review

  • Valerity (Val)
    January 1, 1970
    This book is about Hepburn’s early years in Europe during the war. It has a foreword by her youngest son Luca Dotta. She had always been very introverted, a quiet, shy girl. Probably more so after her parents split and her father wasn’t around anymore. but the ballet lessons she loved so much finally helped her become more expressive outwardly. Her mother, Baroness Ella Van Heemstra was very pro-German before the war began and had met Hitler a couple of times during their many travels. But then This book is about Hepburn’s early years in Europe during the war. It has a foreword by her youngest son Luca Dotta. She had always been very introverted, a quiet, shy girl. Probably more so after her parents split and her father wasn’t around anymore. but the ballet lessons she loved so much finally helped her become more expressive outwardly. Her mother, Baroness Ella Van Heemstra was very pro-German before the war began and had met Hitler a couple of times during their many travels. But then Audrey’s father had walked out when she was 6. They were both taking it hard but Audrey was really worried about her mother.Elle put Audrey in a school and found her some ballet classes in London, but when war became imminent her mother had her brought to the always previously neutral Netherlands to live. It was hard for Audrey because she didn’t speak the language there and so didn’t understand a word of what they were saying at school. The only thing that made it bearable for her was that her mother was able to get her into ballet classes again. She grew up as Adriaantje (little Audrey) Van Heemstra, but after the Germans moved in she became known as the English-sounding Audrey Hepburn-Ruston. Ella is good at organizing events, especially if it will be something that will offer a chance to show her daughter’s talent. But she’s lacking in showing warm feelings to Audrey, who is so needing them. Audrey can’t understand why Ella is still friendly with the Germans, who are being so cruel to their Jewish friends. Though, as time goes on and her mother can no longer ignore what’s going on, she does stop socializing with them, etc. But this will cause problems for Audrey throughout the rest of her life.About halfway through the book, near the end of the war, it begins speaking from Audrey’s later perspective, done in italics, where she returns to the Netherlands and reminisces about the war, married and a star. This appears off and on through the book. It’s well researched and reads well. This is for those interested in the old star biographies, and WWII. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Robert Matzen, and the publisher for my fair review.My full review on BookZone blog:https://wordpress.com/post/bookblog20...
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  • Lauren Stoolfire
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Audrey Hepburn is such an iconic actress and I've seen so many of her films multiple times. Outside of her films though I didn't know much about her life, especially as a young woman growing up during WWII in Europe. This biography from Robert Matzen is a fascinating read if you're interested in her life. I learned so much about her and I can definitely say that I have a newfound respect for her knowing what she went through. Audr I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Audrey Hepburn is such an iconic actress and I've seen so many of her films multiple times. Outside of her films though I didn't know much about her life, especially as a young woman growing up during WWII in Europe. This biography from Robert Matzen is a fascinating read if you're interested in her life. I learned so much about her and I can definitely say that I have a newfound respect for her knowing what she went through. Audrey and her family lived through the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and witnessed the terrible events of the war first hand, including the Hunger Winter of 1944-45. I knew nothing about her parents going in and their story is just as interesting given all of the circumstances. One thing that I didn't expect was the close connection between Audrey and Anne Frank - they were almost exactly the same age and lived fairly close to one another, but their lives were very different. It's easy to see how she grew to become the woman she did especially when it comes to work with children and UNICEF.
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  • Juli
    January 1, 1970
    I have always loved Audrey Hepburn's films. She just shines on the screen...so beautiful, so poised and talented. I learned years ago about her charitable work through UNICEF. She was a kind and giving person, as well as intelligent and talented. This book talks about Audrey's life before Hollywood...the years she lived under the Nazi occupation of Holland. I never realized how much she went through during World War II in the Netherlands. My respect for her has increased so much since I finished I have always loved Audrey Hepburn's films. She just shines on the screen...so beautiful, so poised and talented. I learned years ago about her charitable work through UNICEF. She was a kind and giving person, as well as intelligent and talented. This book talks about Audrey's life before Hollywood...the years she lived under the Nazi occupation of Holland. I never realized how much she went through during World War II in the Netherlands. My respect for her has increased so much since I finished reading this book. She worked as a doctor's assistant, witnessed brutality, hunger and death, and survived it all. This book is not about Audrey as an actress....it is about her life prior to all of that. Her film career is mentioned only in passing. This book is about Audrey's years growing up during the war and how those experiences shaped who she became as an adult. Her life is so much more than her Hollywood career!! This is the first book by Robert Matzen that I've read. He has also written books about Carole Lombard, Jimmy Stewart and Mulholland Farm...an infamous house owned by Errol Flynn. I'm definitely going to read his other books, starting with the one about Jimmy Stewart's war service: Mission (on my TBR shelf already). **I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from GoodKnight Books via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, I really didnt realise how interesting the WW2 / Audrey Hepburn combo would be when I first picked up this book. I'm pretty shocked at some of the things I have read.Audrey's parents were particularly interesting, her father was British and was considered a traitor and spent most of the war in a British prison. Her mother, Dutch, actively supported and met Hitler on many occasions, and even wrote about it in a fascist newspaper, something that followed her for a lifetime and had many implic Wow, I really didnt realise how interesting the WW2 / Audrey Hepburn combo would be when I first picked up this book. I'm pretty shocked at some of the things I have read.Audrey's parents were particularly interesting, her father was British and was considered a traitor and spent most of the war in a British prison. Her mother, Dutch, actively supported and met Hitler on many occasions, and even wrote about it in a fascist newspaper, something that followed her for a lifetime and had many implications. What really struck a cord with me though was the connection to Anne Frank. Anne and Audrey were born weeks apart, the same age, just 60 miles away from each other and how different their lives were. I was amazed that Anne wrote in her diary an event in which Audrey's uncle was murdered. Audrey was called upon many a times to play Anne is various films which she always turned down. Overall I enjoyed this however in true non fiction style it's a dry read.
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  • Kasa Cotugno
    January 1, 1970
    The book has been marketed as telling the story of Audrey Hepburn's young years during World War II in which she lived in Arnhem, developing her skills as a dancer and working as an agent for the underground. While this is true in parts, it primarily chronicles what life in that town (the town of "a bridge too far") was like for the inhabitants and the transformations wrought by invasion, occupation and liberation. Such devastating affect on Audrey and members of her family was truly immersive, The book has been marketed as telling the story of Audrey Hepburn's young years during World War II in which she lived in Arnhem, developing her skills as a dancer and working as an agent for the underground. While this is true in parts, it primarily chronicles what life in that town (the town of "a bridge too far") was like for the inhabitants and the transformations wrought by invasion, occupation and liberation. Such devastating affect on Audrey and members of her family was truly immersive, but the author's obvious high regard for Audrey is apparent with every description and episode, imbuing all with a great deal of affection. Her mother's history was remarkable, being enraptured by Hitler, even meeting him in 1935 and being a believer until some time into the occupation. Later in life during interviews as an adult, Audrey didn't talk about this aspect of her family history. In fact, she sublimated a lot of the horror and deprivation and tamped it down inside. That changed in 1946 when she first came across Anne Frank's diary. The similarities she and Anne shared went straight to her heart, and provided her with what became her most important mission later in life, that of the protection and welfare of children via UNICEF. The reader thus comes away with a deeper understanding of why Hepburn projected such empathy especially for children, However, I found the book on the whole to be quite repetitious in parts and much more of a history than a biography.
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  • Keith Chawgo
    January 1, 1970
    Dutch Girl documents the life of Audrey Hepburn during her years in the Netherlands which includes the torrent episodes of World War 2. At times the book comes across as a history book about the Netherlands and WWII and the story of a would be actress who would steal the hearts of the world in her adulthood.The novel does not really go into her films or life after she had become a star. It does however document an important part of world history and the part she played in these events and her fa Dutch Girl documents the life of Audrey Hepburn during her years in the Netherlands which includes the torrent episodes of World War 2. At times the book comes across as a history book about the Netherlands and WWII and the story of a would be actress who would steal the hearts of the world in her adulthood.The novel does not really go into her films or life after she had become a star. It does however document an important part of world history and the part she played in these events and her family, mainly her mother’s role with Nazi’s and the change of attitude once the Germans invade the Netherlands. It is a very interesting novel and I was captivated by the way Matzen is able to weave the two stories together. The story of the Netherlands is more interesting and tends to overshadow the story of Hepburn. The novel can be described as a thinly disguised book selling on the life of a movie star but delivering a historical account of Germany and Netherlands. I personally found it to be about a family and their involvement during the War and it gave the war a personal face through their experiences. This is where the novel does amazingly well. There will be a bit of disappointment who are expecting a straightforward biography. This will probably be the thorn in the books side because this is more a book about the war and a girl who will grow to be one of the most iconic film stars of her generation. This is really an extraordinary book that if it was dressed up as a WW2 book, I probably would have bypassed it on the shelves but as it was a biography, it kept me interested and engrossed in the history. I learned about an awkward girl and her family during a terrible time in history, I was able to empathise with life during this time period.My hats are off to Matzen and it is pure ingenious on how he was able to give me a history lesson disguised as a biography of a film star and show me the human story behind historical events. This is a winner and one of the hardest reviews to write. Highly recommended.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    In the forward, the author claims to have all this never before known knowledge about Audrey's life during the war. However, it did not appear that anything--or at least very little--was revealed about Audrey's life during that time in this book. Audrey did speak about her life during the war--most chapters start with a quote from her about it--but she spoke about it very rarely because it caused her such pain. What the author more accurately did was put what little we know about her into a wide In the forward, the author claims to have all this never before known knowledge about Audrey's life during the war. However, it did not appear that anything--or at least very little--was revealed about Audrey's life during that time in this book. Audrey did speak about her life during the war--most chapters start with a quote from her about it--but she spoke about it very rarely because it caused her such pain. What the author more accurately did was put what little we know about her into a wider historical context. So when Audrey was taking dance classes or when her uncle was killed, the author spends a lot of time explaining what else was happening in the war around Europe. There are entire chapters where Audrey is not mentioned AT ALL while the author goes off on these tangents. While the context is of course relevant, it is given far too much precedence in a story that is supposed to be about Audrey Hepburn. The largest value this book has is the chapter that talks about Audrey and Anne Frank. That was fabulous and should be its own book. Audrey and Anne were the same age, living in the same country at the same time--but their lives took wildly different paths. And yet, they intertwined. Audrey read Anne's diary many times during her life and later met Anne's father Otto. It was an incredibly fascinating chapter and would love to see this fleshed out. Why "Audrey and Anne" has not already been made into a book and movie is very surprising to me.
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  • FabAudrey
    January 1, 1970
    If Audrey Hepburn was a puzzle, then there was a good one-third that had always been lost to the outside world. We may have seen a few pieces in biographies and a handful from her sons' books and interviews, but there was still something wanting. With Dutch Girl, we finally see just how much we had been missing.This is not a biography for a casual fan, or someone new to Hepburn fandom and looking to learn more about her in general. Granted, you learn so much about what made Audrey Hepburn who th If Audrey Hepburn was a puzzle, then there was a good one-third that had always been lost to the outside world. We may have seen a few pieces in biographies and a handful from her sons' books and interviews, but there was still something wanting. With Dutch Girl, we finally see just how much we had been missing.This is not a biography for a casual fan, or someone new to Hepburn fandom and looking to learn more about her in general. Granted, you learn so much about what made Audrey Hepburn who the world "discovered" once Roman Holiday was released, but I feel that you should have a decent overview of the arc of her life before digging into this book. It focuses specifically on Audrey's formative years in England and the Netherlands, coming of age in a brutal war, and gives details on what she experienced in a level of detail never before seen.There is so much to digest in these roughly 350 pages, and it's taken a while to get my thoughts into something coherent. I've read all the books available on Audrey and felt that I knew quite a lot about her, but this book is nothing short of startling. The absolutely exhaustive research done on the ground in the Netherlands unearthed a trove of documents never before shown, plus private diaries to add a level of detail to everyday life in an occupied country during a savage war. While every biography of Audrey Hepburn says she barely survived World War II, we never before saw how she survived, let alone what it cost her to come out the other side.Even her children were stunned by the final results of this research, and her son Luca Dotti said as much in the foreword (he was also kind enough to share with the author his own research, plus previously unseen family photos).Forcing myself to cut this review short, would I recommend this book? In a heartbeat. Is it a necessary piece in learning more about Audrey Hepburn? Absolutely.This review was originally written for The Fabulous Audrey Hepburn.
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  • Molly
    January 1, 1970
    When my mother wanted to teach me a lesson about life she never used stories about her career. She always told stories about the war. The war was very, very important to her. It made her who she was. ~ Luca Dotti, youngest son of Audrey HepburnBreaking out at the height of the studio era, World War II indelibly impacted Hollywood’s stars as much as it did the movie going public. Author Robert Matzen has highlighted three dynamic instances of this in a WWII trilogy that began with Carole Lombard When my mother wanted to teach me a lesson about life she never used stories about her career. She always told stories about the war. The war was very, very important to her. It made her who she was. ~ Luca Dotti, youngest son of Audrey HepburnBreaking out at the height of the studio era, World War II indelibly impacted Hollywood’s stars as much as it did the movie going public. Author Robert Matzen has highlighted three dynamic instances of this in a WWII trilogy that began with Carole Lombard and her tragic death, continued with Jimmy Stewart’s service as a bomber pilot and concludes with his latest book Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II. Dutch Girl is a somber and rich book, filled with meticulous detail and compassion. Matzen does a superb job of weaving together an exploration of the searing impact of the war upon the adolescent Audrey, or Adriaantje as she was endearingly known to her family, and the history of the German occupation and subsequent Allied advancement into Holland. The onslaught the country endured is chronologically depicted yet always brought back to the story of this particular girl, in this time. Throughout, the actor remains a lilting, inspirational presence.The book is graced with an introduction by Hepburn’s son Luca Dotti, who also agreed to a sit-down interview with the author, provided photos and in essence his blessing to the project. His enthusiastic endorsement brings heightened legitimacy, a sense even further solidified by conversational chapter notes. The breadth of Matzen's research is admirable and awe-inspiring. Yet the book is never dry nor disinterested in the tale of its dual subjects, that of the battering of the Netherlands, and the young Audrey who later became its most cherished and famous celebrity. Most telling are passages that relate Hepburn’s struggles with hunger during the final year:The last winter, the so-called ‘hunger winter’ was the nearest I could come to saying I’ve seen starvation… Children were always rummaging in the dust bins and people were dying of hunger and cold.Dutch Girl is a stirring and remarkable read, thoroughly researched and compelling. It is highly recommended for Audrey admirers (you haven't read all of this before!), classic film fans and history lovers. A special thank you to Smith Publicity Inc, the author and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book. For full review please see: https://dreaminginthebalcony.wordpres...
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  • Olivia
    January 1, 1970
    *I received this book from the publisher to read in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own*While the premise of this book caught my attention (I love Audrey Hepburn!), I struggled to get into this book as the amount of people mentioned and events pulled away from me enjoying getting to know Audrey's childhood. I may have tried to read more, but unfortunately the thought of it every time I needed to read it, made me cringe. So I decided to leave it after many struggles to get into *I received this book from the publisher to read in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own*While the premise of this book caught my attention (I love Audrey Hepburn!), I struggled to get into this book as the amount of people mentioned and events pulled away from me enjoying getting to know Audrey's childhood. I may have tried to read more, but unfortunately the thought of it every time I needed to read it, made me cringe. So I decided to leave it after many struggles to get into it. I still recommend this book as I know it holds a lot of historical and fascinating references to this time in history and for some readers it may just be what they're looking for :)
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    This is a book about Audrey Hepburn but not the movie star person who we got to see in Breakfast at Tiffany's, My Fair Lady and many other Hollywood Films. This is the young Audrey who was a teenager during the years of the Nazi occupation of her homeland. It reads more like a history book of the war in the Netherlands than it does as a biography of a Hollywood icon and was a well researched look at how Audrey grew up and how it affected her later life.When Audrey was 11 years old, the Germans b This is a book about Audrey Hepburn but not the movie star person who we got to see in Breakfast at Tiffany's, My Fair Lady and many other Hollywood Films. This is the young Audrey who was a teenager during the years of the Nazi occupation of her homeland. It reads more like a history book of the war in the Netherlands than it does as a biography of a Hollywood icon and was a well researched look at how Audrey grew up and how it affected her later life.When Audrey was 11 years old, the Germans began their occupation of the Netherlands. As a child, life didn't change much for her but as time went on and the restrictions gotten worse her life began to change and she had to give up her much loved ballet lessons. In 1944, her life took a turn for the worse when the Allies started bombing the town that she lived in. She and her family spent much of their time in the cellar of their home hoping to survive while bombs exploded all around them. Following that came the 'hunger winter'. There wasn't enough food and many people starved to death. Audrey commented that this was the first time she had ever seen starvation of such a large scale. She had a lot of determination to go from a starving young girl to a Hollywood icon in such a short period of time.The author of this book worked with the members of Audrey's family plus did considerable research and found out things about Audrey's early life that her family didn't know - that her father was a Nazi agent and her mother was pro-Nazi for the first two years of the occupation. Audrey’s own reminiscences, new interviews with people who knew her in the war, wartime diaries, and research into classified Dutch archives shed light on the riveting, untold story of Audrey Hepburn's life during World War II.I found this book to be a very well researched and interesting book about a Hollywood icon and how her early life affected the rest of her life when being a UNICEF ambassador and visiting poor places in the world were more important to her than her life in Hollywood.Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
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  • gini
    January 1, 1970
    A look at one family during WWllI could not put this book down. A must read for everyone! It gives a real depiction of the war in Arnhem Holland and the effects it had on Audrey Hepburn and it's citizens.
  • Linda Zagon
    January 1, 1970
    Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “Dutch Girl” “Audrey Hepburn and World War 11” by Robert Matzen, April 15, 2019Robert Matzen , Author of “Dutch Girl”; Audrey Hepburn and World War 11″ has written an intriguing and intense biography with tremendous historical background on the life and times of Audrey Hepburn. Most of this centers around the 5 year period that the Nazis occupied The Netherlands. At that time Audrey lived with her mother and family in the Netherlands.When I decided to read this boo Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “Dutch Girl” “Audrey Hepburn and World War 11” by Robert Matzen, April 15, 2019Robert Matzen , Author of “Dutch Girl”; Audrey Hepburn and World War 11″ has written an intriguing and intense biography with tremendous historical background on the life and times of Audrey Hepburn. Most of this centers around the 5 year period that the Nazis occupied The Netherlands. At that time Audrey lived with her mother and family in the Netherlands.When I decided to read this book, I thought I would be reading more of Audrey Hepburn’s life , and it turns out I read about her Mother’s life. some of her father’s life and her family life, and much information about Germany and World War Two. I would have preferred to read more about Audrey Hepburn’s life.The information provided by the author was interesting. Audrey had gone to school in England, and did speak English. She treasured dancing, and always wanted to be a ballerina. The five years of German occupation was traumatic and deadly for the Dutch people. Audrey did help as much as she could, and emotionally had the scars from this tragic timeline.I appreciate that the author describes Audrey as a sympathetic and empathetic person who wants to do good in this world. I would recommend this book for readers who enjoy reading about World War 11 and German History.
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  • Gayle Noble
    January 1, 1970
    An intriguing biography of Audrey Hepburn's formative years during WWII. I had absolutely no idea about her family and her work for a member of the Dutch Resistance. The amount of research that must have been carried out is phenomenal, yet the author writes in an accessible manner. If you are expecting lots of detail about her film career, then this is not the book for you, but if you want to learn what made Hepburn such an extraordinary person, then you will find this book fascinating. Thanks t An intriguing biography of Audrey Hepburn's formative years during WWII. I had absolutely no idea about her family and her work for a member of the Dutch Resistance. The amount of research that must have been carried out is phenomenal, yet the author writes in an accessible manner. If you are expecting lots of detail about her film career, then this is not the book for you, but if you want to learn what made Hepburn such an extraordinary person, then you will find this book fascinating. Thanks to NetGalley & publishers, GoodKnight Books, for the opportunity to review an ARC.
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  • Jenny
    January 1, 1970
    With her classic elegance and beauty, it is no wonder that Audrey Hepburn becomes a fashion icon all over the world. However, she is more than a classy icon. In this well-detailed biography, Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and the World War II, readers will understand just how much the war made her and why she is one of the most renowned women of all time.Full Review on my blog: https://levicorpvsblog.wordpress.com/...
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  • Cheryl
    January 1, 1970
    I found this account of Audrey Hepburn's early years in Nazi occupied Netherlands riveting. It gives new depth to this actress that I have long admired. It balances the terrors of the war with her emerging love for dance and performance. Her family was not untouched by the brutality of war, but this taught the young Hepburn an appreciation of life that she carried with her beyond those difficult years. This book was well researched and a gripping read. I will definitely look for the companion ti I found this account of Audrey Hepburn's early years in Nazi occupied Netherlands riveting. It gives new depth to this actress that I have long admired. It balances the terrors of the war with her emerging love for dance and performance. Her family was not untouched by the brutality of war, but this taught the young Hepburn an appreciation of life that she carried with her beyond those difficult years. This book was well researched and a gripping read. I will definitely look for the companion titles about Jimmy Stewart and Carol Lombard and their war experiences.
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  • Simoa
    January 1, 1970
    A thoroughly absorbing account of Audrey Hepburn’s life during WWII. These were her formative years, from ages 11-16. Imagine being a young girl, learning about the world and yourself, your body, and all of those experiences and puberty being impacted by trauma, death, and hunger. Robert Matzen writes with a clear reverence for his subject, one of the most renowned women of all time. Audrey was destined to be a star; this book once again shows us why, in so many vivid ways. The ending is almost A thoroughly absorbing account of Audrey Hepburn’s life during WWII. These were her formative years, from ages 11-16. Imagine being a young girl, learning about the world and yourself, your body, and all of those experiences and puberty being impacted by trauma, death, and hunger. Robert Matzen writes with a clear reverence for his subject, one of the most renowned women of all time. Audrey was destined to be a star; this book once again shows us why, in so many vivid ways. The ending is almost like a cliff hanger, as if the story of Audrey isn’t yet over. Though she’s been gone for over 25 years, she’s left an imprint on the world that can’t be easily removed. And who would want to? The reason we are all still talking about, dressing like, and admiring Audrey Hepburn is because she was a real jewel of a human being. Forged in the fires of a cruel war, but ultimately rejoicing even when death and destruction were always so near. Beautiful biography of a tremendous lady.
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  • sanne_reads
    January 1, 1970
    3.5*
  • Betty
    January 1, 1970
    Review coming soon.
  • Hermien
    January 1, 1970
    An extra star because Audrey Hepburn and WWII are subjects that interest me. I felt some bits of it were a bit self-serving.
  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    I was deeply disappointed in this bait-and-switch book aimed at fans of Audrey Hepburn. This was an overwhelmingly and excessively detailed book about WWII, specifically in the Netherlands, and oh, Audrey Hepburn was there too! If the author's goal was to impress us with all the minutia, then he succeeded. However, most people looking to read a book stated to be about Ms. Hepburn during the War aren't going to be impressed. They, like myself, are going to be angry. Additionally, for a book that I was deeply disappointed in this bait-and-switch book aimed at fans of Audrey Hepburn. This was an overwhelmingly and excessively detailed book about WWII, specifically in the Netherlands, and oh, Audrey Hepburn was there too! If the author's goal was to impress us with all the minutia, then he succeeded. However, most people looking to read a book stated to be about Ms. Hepburn during the War aren't going to be impressed. They, like myself, are going to be angry. Additionally, for a book that is non-fiction, I was surprised at the assumptions Mr. Matzen made about what people were thinking, especially at moments right before they died and had no way to let others know. That sounds more like historical fiction than non-fiction. Another issue I had with the book was the writing style that many times felt immature and too casual for the topic. "Then came more good news. Food!" This doesn't sound appropriate when you are discussing people who have survived the Hunger Winter. I have other examples, but I hope only one is needed. The vast swings from casual story telling to in depth details about only tangentially related events (or events not even related other than they took place during the War), did nothing to improve my impression of the book. Either the book should be edited to about 40% of what it is now and truly focus on Ms. Hepburn, or it should be renamed something that does not imply Ms. Hepburn is the central theme. I debated giving this book 1 star; however, despite my disappointment with the book, it was very informative and I always like learning new things. I just expected to learn things about Audrey Hepburn not the entire history of the Netherlands. Thanks to NetGalley and GoodKnight Books for a copy of this book. My opinions and review are my own.
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  • Sue Parker
    January 1, 1970
    Definitely an autobiography rather than a novel. I was fascinated to read about the life, especially early years of Audrey Hepburn, who I admire as an actress. Lots of detail here but it is rather long winded and can be a dull read at times. Cut it back by a third and have it written less like a history text book in places and it will be more suitable for sale to the masses.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    Dutch Girl Audrey Hepburn And World War II by Robert Matzen is a comprehensive account of Audrey Hepburn’s teenage years in the Netherlands during WWII. It also touches on her life up until her death in 1993 aged just 63 years from abdominal cancer – a cruel end for a beautiful lady who gave so much.Audrey Hepburn was ‘emotionally wounded’ by WWII saying, “It was worse than you could ever imagine.” Consequently her whole life was lived in its shadow. She involved herself in UNICEF and the plight Dutch Girl Audrey Hepburn And World War II by Robert Matzen is a comprehensive account of Audrey Hepburn’s teenage years in the Netherlands during WWII. It also touches on her life up until her death in 1993 aged just 63 years from abdominal cancer – a cruel end for a beautiful lady who gave so much.Audrey Hepburn was ‘emotionally wounded’ by WWII saying, “It was worse than you could ever imagine.” Consequently her whole life was lived in its shadow. She involved herself in UNICEF and the plight of suffering children due to her experiences in the war.Not only did the war years shape Audrey Hepburn but her love of dancing did. “I wanted to be Margot Fonteyn.” Audrey Hepburn gave concerts to raise money for the resistance. Following the war she ‘stumbled into acting.’The war made the teenager into the woman we see on screen. She was incredibly brave and saw things no one should have to see. The faces of the Jewish men, women and children as they were herded into cattle cars would haunt her forever.We see the elegant, beautiful woman on screen but Audrey Hepburn thought she was ugly and ungainly with large hands and feet as a teen. Her poise and beauty are what I remember Audrey Hepburn for – and none more so than her transformation in My Fair Lady.Robert Matzen has produced an excellent account of both WWII in the Netherlands and Audrey Hepburn’s part in it. As a historian it was both fascinating and horrifying. As a fan of Audrey Hepburn I admire her even more after reading this book. Audrey Hepburn was so much more than just a beautiful face – she was incredibly brave and full of compassion. Thank you Robert Matzen for opening my eyes to the brave and very beautiful Audrey Hepburn. Thank you also for showing the true picture of WWII. We owe it to the six million innocents to keep their memory alive.I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
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  • Lola Et La Vie
    January 1, 1970
    I started out wanting to read this book because an interest in Audrey Hepburn and her connection to The Netherlands, where I was born and now live again, but this book was so much more than a biography.Besides finding out more about an icon, this book tells the story of a war, of a small area, in a country I grew up in. Of course much time was spent on WWII in school. I remember being moved and touched by documentaries about the war shown during history lessons, the images of stacks of dead peop I started out wanting to read this book because an interest in Audrey Hepburn and her connection to The Netherlands, where I was born and now live again, but this book was so much more than a biography.Besides finding out more about an icon, this book tells the story of a war, of a small area, in a country I grew up in. Of course much time was spent on WWII in school. I remember being moved and touched by documentaries about the war shown during history lessons, the images of stacks of dead people, the horrors of concentration camps are still burnt into my heart, as they should be. In a way, this was a different kind of WWII story. It still brought the horrors of war home, but from the perspective of a small area and the people that lived there.Through Audrey’s story and the story of her family, we find out what life was life for everyone living through the war; the suffering, the uncertainty, the fear, the hunger.It all paints a picture of the girl Audrey was and the woman she was to become. Robert Matzen did a great job piecing the facts together with a bit of artistic licence here and there. I think this book is very well written and very coherently tells of a complicated time in history and the effects it had on people. I particularly found Audrey’s mother Ella fascinating character.This book reiterates the fact that although I do not like reading WWII based fiction, I do really appreciate a well written non-fiction book on the subject and this one showed a different perspective from any other book I have read on WWII. This is not so much a biography as a historical portrait of Arnhem and Velp during the war.Highly recommended if you are interested in either Audrey Hepburn or WWII.
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  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    I was excited to see a biography that focused on Audrey Hepburn's early life and experiences relating to World War II. It didn't disappoint. I left the biography with a greater understanding of Audrey Hepburn. It added depth to a woman who is usually just recognized for her career and role as a fashion icon. Audrey's own words are included in this historical account of her life, and there is an interesting foreword by her son Luca Dotti, who shared his own research with the author. How World Wa I was excited to see a biography that focused on Audrey Hepburn's early life and experiences relating to World War II. It didn't disappoint. I left the biography with a greater understanding of Audrey Hepburn. It added depth to a woman who is usually just recognized for her career and role as a fashion icon. Audrey's own words are included in this historical account of her life, and there is an interesting foreword by her son Luca Dotti, who shared his own research with the author. How World War II impacted Audrey's childhood is clearly explained, and it is fascinating as well as shocking to read. I think it's easy to forget how severely World War II altered the lives of citizens living in Europe. I've read my share of historical books about World War II, but I really appreciated how the history was related to Audrey Hepburn's life.Audrey's mother was an especially riveting figure to read about, and like all parents had attributes and flaws that impacted her children. I appreciated how honest the author was in portraying Audrey's mother. The good, the bad, and the ugly is shared. I didn't find this biography dry at all. It's readable, engaging, and surprisingly touching. It is DENSE. This biography is packed with information, and because of that I found it was best read in chunks over a period of several days. Like other reviews have mentioned, this biography isn't for low-key Audrey Hepburn fans. This doesn't focus on the glamorous side of her life. People interested in learning more about Audrey Hepburn's formative years will be satisfied, and leave with a deeper understanding of the actress. *ARC received via Netgalley
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  • George1st
    January 1, 1970
    Robert Matzen is described by his publisher as "one of today’s top authors in popular biography" but the word popular should not detract from the years of scholarly research that have gone into producing this readable but also authoritative book. Painstaking research included new interviews with those who actually knew Hepburn in the Netherlands, archival research in several countries, previously unpublished secret diary entries and the limited references made by Hepburn to her early life. Hepbu Robert Matzen is described by his publisher as "one of today’s top authors in popular biography" but the word popular should not detract from the years of scholarly research that have gone into producing this readable but also authoritative book. Painstaking research included new interviews with those who actually knew Hepburn in the Netherlands, archival research in several countries, previously unpublished secret diary entries and the limited references made by Hepburn to her early life. Hepburn as is repeatedly mentioned in the book was a very private person who was very careful whom she granted interviews to, always ensuring that the conversations did not stray into areas of her life that she felt uncomfortable with until her death.In the preface her son Luca Dotti states that after the research conducted for the book he now has a greater understanding to this reticence and "why she was open about certain facts and why she kept so many others in a secluded area of her being." The central thesis of the book is that not only did the wartime experiences that she suffered make her the person that she would become but that they would also ultimately shorten her life.The book delves into the murky lives of her parents which Hepburn would always try to conceal. Her mother wrote propaganda articles for British Fascist magazines in the 1930's, attended Nazi rallies and at least at the start of the occupation of the Netherlands would take an outwardly collaborationist stance. Her estranged father would be detained in a British prison during the war as an enemy agent. Although she was at school in England when war commenced, her mother believing that the neutrality of the Netherlands would be respected took in hindsight the disastrous decision in 1939 to fly her back there to escape the ravages of war. The book's main content focuses on the occupation of the Netherlands and the effect this had on Audrey Hepburn and her family. This included the execution of her uncle, severe hunger, helping the resistance and witnessing the intense fighting due to her location near Arnhem. Although primarily concerned with her formative years reference is also made to her later life where she became not only a world famous actress and lasting fashion icon but also a humanitarian with The Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund continuing to have a number of ongoing projects designed to raise money and awareness for the needs of children worldwide.A fascinating biography that dispels some previously accepted beliefs and is accompanied by a large selection of photographs. If you are interested in the factors that helped to shape such an iconic figure then this will be of interest to you.
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  • Lauren Knapper
    January 1, 1970
    Dutch Girl follows young Audrey Hepburn during the Second World War. The foreword is written by her youngest son, Luca Dotti.Audrey Hepburn was shy, introvert that longed to be a dancer in the ballet. We learn of Audrey’s childhood; her father leaving, her mother’s pro-German attitude before the war and how this effected the young girl. It was her dream to become a dancer. It was these dance lessons that allowed her to become more expressive in life.As a reader, we follow this young girl who lon Dutch Girl follows young Audrey Hepburn during the Second World War. The foreword is written by her youngest son, Luca Dotti.Audrey Hepburn was shy, introvert that longed to be a dancer in the ballet. We learn of Audrey’s childhood; her father leaving, her mother’s pro-German attitude before the war and how this effected the young girl. It was her dream to become a dancer. It was these dance lessons that allowed her to become more expressive in life.As a reader, we follow this young girl who longed to be a dancer through her traumatic time in the Netherlands during the war. We find out in this interesting book why Audrey Hepburn was so hesitant to talk about the war during interviews with the media. Dutch Girl gives historical context to the beloved star and her family during this devastating period. We follow the family and Audrey as they grieve, they starve, and live in their cellar.Dutch Girl is a wonderfully written book and has been well researched. There’s so much writing, context and sources mentioned that truly bring a strong description of Audrey Hepburn, her family and the Netherlands during the Second World War. I loved this book because I truly felt with every page I was learning something new. It’s truly heart-breaking.I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Audrey Hepburn, like myself, or a lover of history. It’s a fantastically put together and after reading, you will sit thinking how lucky we are.
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  • Dianne McMahan
    January 1, 1970
    All Audrey Hepburn fans this is it !But don't expect to find this book.full of fab,Hollywood,glamour shots,This book is a down and dirty,telling all about her early life as a survivor of WWll.She suffered starvation and deprivation along with her mother,mothers family.and the rest of the tightly knit Dutch community.She did make it to Hollywood,after the war,but it wasn't her first choice,she wanted to be a ballet dancer.She did many interviews,over the yrs.but,never answered any questions about All Audrey Hepburn fans this is it !But don't expect to find this book.full of fab,Hollywood,glamour shots,This book is a down and dirty,telling all about her early life as a survivor of WWll.She suffered starvation and deprivation along with her mother,mothers family.and the rest of the tightly knit Dutch community.She did make it to Hollywood,after the war,but it wasn't her first choice,she wanted to be a ballet dancer.She did many interviews,over the yrs.but,never answered any questions about the War or her private life,She considered those questions,off limits.She retired from Hollywood,after 27 yrs.I'n the business to raise her two sons.She lived an enjoyable life,after all the glamour yrs.by keeping up with her gardening and the antics of her sons.She died at the age of 63 due to stomach cancer.I want to thank NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review "Dutch Girl" by author Robert Matzen.
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  • Asera
    January 1, 1970
    -- Read this book from NetGalley UK in exchange for a fair review. --An impressive feat by Robert Matzen to set the record straight about Audrey’s life during World War II and the events that led up to it.Good points: Audrey’s early life in detail. Her personal experiences in wartime is harrowing to read. Ella’s (Audrey’s mother) movements prior to the war was eye-opening. Stories about her other relatives were enjoyable.There were a few things that bothered me. The many and varied titles of nob -- Read this book from NetGalley UK in exchange for a fair review. --An impressive feat by Robert Matzen to set the record straight about Audrey’s life during World War II and the events that led up to it.Good points: Audrey’s early life in detail. Her personal experiences in wartime is harrowing to read. Ella’s (Audrey’s mother) movements prior to the war was eye-opening. Stories about her other relatives were enjoyable.There were a few things that bothered me. The many and varied titles of nobility got rather confusing as I continued onto the story. Could not help but wished the author stuck to everyone’s first names for clarity. And details of the war can get very technical? I felt very out of depth.All in all, reading this book made me understand a lot about her. For that I am grateful.
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  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    One of the best biographies I've read in a long time. This beautifully researched and written book chronicles the early life of actress/dancer Audrey Hepburn in the Netherlands in World War II. Though she spent some of her early years in England, she returned to Velp and Arnhem in the Netherlands right before the German occupation. Towards the end of the war, Audrey and three relatives took refuge in the cellar as one of the last major battles of the war raged right above them. "Dutch Girl," in One of the best biographies I've read in a long time. This beautifully researched and written book chronicles the early life of actress/dancer Audrey Hepburn in the Netherlands in World War II. Though she spent some of her early years in England, she returned to Velp and Arnhem in the Netherlands right before the German occupation. Towards the end of the war, Audrey and three relatives took refuge in the cellar as one of the last major battles of the war raged right above them. "Dutch Girl," in one sense, is a tale of one small Dutch town's experiences during the Nazi occupation. Historians and those who enjoy historical case studies will find this book riveting. The fact that the "main character" of the book turns out to be an A-list Hollywood actress is almost an aside. Nevertheless, the book insightfully shows how war affects children and young people for the rest of their lives - emotionally, psychologically, and physically.
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