A View Across the Rooftops
Would you risk your life to save just one person? An incredible story of love, hope and friendship, and a testament to humanity and courage in history’s darkest days. 1941, Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Professor Josef Held has never recovered from the loss of his beloved wife – and has no intention of ever letting anyone new into his quiet, safe world. It is a world where the clock ticks steadily in his mathematics classroom, where every equation has a solution. Every day he walks the same route home, past his neighbour Mrs Epstein’s, to a home inhabited only by him and a cat he refuses to even name. But then the Nazis come for the Jews – and Mrs Epstein is killed. And Josef, in an impulsive act of courage, offers his student Michael Blum a place to hide. Michael is everything Josef is not: spontaneous, poetic, and unafraid to love. Even though his passionate relationship with a Dutch girl called Elke strictly is forbidden by the Nazis – for he is Jewish, and she is not. Desperate to give Michael and Elke’s love a chance to survive, Josef gives Michael refuge in his attic: an act of bravery and resistance that will change both of their lives. But as the dark days of war continue, with danger and betrayal at every turn, no-one can be trusted, and no one is safe. If Michael is going to get back to the woman he loves, it is down to Josef – to find the hero inside himself, and do whatever it takes to keep Michael alive. A heartbreakingly beautiful story about love, trust, and courage against the odds, perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Lilac Girls, and The Nightingale.

A View Across the Rooftops Details

TitleA View Across the Rooftops
Author
ReleaseOct 22nd, 2019
PublisherBookouture
ISBN-139781838880347
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, War, World War II, Fiction

A View Across the Rooftops Review

  • Paige
    January 1, 1970
    Romance and resistance in Amsterdam. What matters to you enough that you would sacrifice your own life? Widowed math professor, Josef, is faced with a decision to help a student, Michael, when the Jewish raids begin. Yet when Josef’s niece, Ingrid, becomes involved with the Nazi’s, Josef not only must decide where him and Ingrid’s relationship stands but he must also choose to follow his moralistic principles or surrender his values to solidify his own safety. Michael’s girlfriend, Elke, is Romance and resistance in Amsterdam. What matters to you enough that you would sacrifice your own life? Widowed math professor, Josef, is faced with a decision to help a student, Michael, when the Jewish raids begin. Yet when Josef’s niece, Ingrid, becomes involved with the Nazi’s, Josef not only must decide where him and Ingrid’s relationship stands but he must also choose to follow his moralistic principles or surrender his values to solidify his own safety. Michael’s girlfriend, Elke, is faced with turmoil when Michael goes missing and she struggles to accept that he is gone. My notes: As a reader, you will not learn much history that has not already been accounted for in a plethora of other novels. The atmosphere of war and the setting of Amsterdam 1940-1945 is well constructed. However, the focus is on the characters and their tales during this time. The inhumane atrocities experienced by Jews and their life in concentration camps is not accounted for. Overall, the novel was a light, easy read. The plot did not create a complexity of profound thoughts or cause for deep reflection. For me it was not gripping or intensely captivating, but rather a normal WW2 read that avoids harrowing specifics. There is a good true story of sacrifice buried in here, and it is revealed and noted by the author in the end. Thanks to Netgalley, Bookouture, and Suzanne Kelman for a copy. Opinions are my own.
    more
  • Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
    January 1, 1970
    EXCERPT: As Held walked home that evening, he bought a bottle of wine with his groceries as he dwelled on his day. The loss was acute. He knew it was just a wireless, a thing, an object, but it was what it represented to him. Hadn't the Nazis already taken so much? Their town, their way of life, their hope. Why was one more thing so important? They were already stripped and surrendered. What was the point of taking even more? And what would they do with his wireless? The sting of resentment EXCERPT: As Held walked home that evening, he bought a bottle of wine with his groceries as he dwelled on his day. The loss was acute. He knew it was just a wireless, a thing, an object, but it was what it represented to him. Hadn't the Nazis already taken so much? Their town, their way of life, their hope. Why was one more thing so important? They were already stripped and surrendered. What was the point of taking even more? And what would they do with his wireless? The sting of resentment coursed through him as he imagined it taking pride of place in some Nazi's home or, worse, getting dusty on some German requisition shelf. What harm could come to Germany from a mathematics professor with a wireless tuned to a classical music station?ABOUT THIS BOOK: 1941, Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. An unforgettable story of love, hope and betrayal, and a testament to the courage of humanity in history’s darkest days.As Nazis occupy his beloved city, Professor Josef Held feels helpless. So when he discovers his former pupil Michael Blum is trying to escape the Gestapo, he offers Michael a place to hide in his attic.In the quiet gloom of the secret room, Michael talks of his beautiful, fearless girlfriend, Elke. Michael insists that not even the Nazis will come between them. But Elke is a non-Jewish Dutch girl, and their relationship is strictly forbidden.Josef sees the passionate determination in his young friend’s eyes. Furious with the rules of the cruel German soldiers and remembering his own heartbreak, Josef feels desperate to give Michael and Elke’s love a chance. But then tragedy strikes, and Josef is faced with an impossible choice.In the dark days of war, with danger and betrayal at every turn, no-one can be trusted. If Michael is to survive and get back to the woman he loves, it will be down to Josef – to find the hero inside himself, and do whatever it takes to keep Michael alive.Even if it means putting his own life in mortal danger.MY THOUGHTS: A View Across the Rooftops never quite drew me in and enveloped me. I found it quite superficial, sanitised, rather than heart-wrenching. It makes oblique references to the atrocities that were inflicted on the Jewish population, but the closest it gets to the real thing is a brief description of the rounding up and trucking out of the Jews from the ghetto. And even that is dealt with rather gently.This is a gentle book. A light, easy read that stirred no emotions in me whatsoever. And to be truthful, I began to lose interest in the middle. It picked up again at about 80% through, but at no point did I feel the raw emotion I have experienced with some other books dealing with the same subject.More than a story of a man surviving German occupation and sheltering a Jew in his attic for most of the duration of the war, it is more a story of a man coming to terms with himself and his past, enabled by the war, and learning to live again.My favourite quote from A View Across the Rooftops: 'It's hard for anyone to breathe in all of that, so much sadness in the air.'#AViewAcrossThe Rooftops #NetGalley***ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in the United Kingdom, Suzanne now resides in Washington State.DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of A View Across the Rooftops by Suzanne Kelman for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on my webpage sandysbookaday.wordpress.comThis review and others are also published on Amazon, Twitter and my webpage https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...
    more
  • Bharath
    January 1, 1970
    A View Across the Rooftops is a very moving book set during the period of World War II in Amsterdam. These are hard times and only love and compassion provides (some) solace.Josef Held is a professor teaching mathematics, whose life seems to hold no charm after the passing of his wife Sarah many years ago. He finds Hannah Pender at the university charming and yet cannot find the urge to take the relationship forward. The Nazi occupation and their treatment of Jews, brings more pain. His neighbor A View Across the Rooftops is a very moving book set during the period of World War II in Amsterdam. These are hard times and only love and compassion provides (some) solace.Josef Held is a professor teaching mathematics, whose life seems to hold no charm after the passing of his wife Sarah many years ago. He finds Hannah Pender at the university charming and yet cannot find the urge to take the relationship forward. The Nazi occupation and their treatment of Jews, brings more pain. His neighbor Mrs. Epstein is killed right in front of his eyes, an old lady who took pleasure in playing the piano. There is also his Jewish student Michael Blum, whose easy ways he finds difficult to relate to. And yet, Josef makes a choice – he helps Michael by hiding him. Michael is in love with Elke (who is not Jewish) and the prevailing situation separates them. There are further complications and risks with his niece Ingrid dating a high-level German officer. Josef and Michael form a bond over time – at the start without even speaking much with each other. As trust grows, they learn to share their pains and memories of better times. There are several close shaves while Michael is in hiding, and he also falls seriously ill at one time. This is not a fast paced book, and yet it is very beautiful – a sum total of the characters, their inner feelings, circumstances and the strength of the story. It is a wonderful story of courage, letting go and find purpose in the most difficult of situations. My rating: 4.5 / 5.My thanks to Bookouture, NetGalley and the author for a free electronic copy of the book for providing a review.
    more
  • ☕️Hélène⚜️
    January 1, 1970
    The cover is gorgeous it attracted me then the story plus this is a new author for me someone I plan on reading more about.The roller coaster of emotions I went through while reading is amazing from sadness, joy, hate, and anger. Rarely has a book made me actually cry /weep. For the author to make me literally cry the story is just incredible. Plus, finding out this is based on an actual true story that makes it more human. I want to thank NetGalley for this free book for a honest review and to The cover is gorgeous it attracted me then the story plus this is a new author for me someone I plan on reading more about.The roller coaster of emotions I went through while reading is amazing from sadness, joy, hate, and anger. Rarely has a book made me actually cry /weep. For the author to make me literally cry the story is just incredible. Plus, finding out this is based on an actual true story that makes it more human. I want to thank NetGalley for this free book for a honest review and to Bookouture for accepting my first ever request review.
    more
  • Ingrid
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 starsThe story tells about how during WW II ordinary people were put in situations that made them heroes, although it was the last thing on their minds. The book doesn't feel Dutch, no Dutch names were used for instance, it could have taken place anywhere except for a few Dutch characteristics thrown in for good measure. I struggled to finish it but I do appreciate what the author has tried to achieve, telling a story about a truly brave man.
    more
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    It’s 1941, Amsterdam is occupied by the Nazis. Professor Josef Held is a Mathematics Professor at the local University. Josef has never gotten over his wife Sarah dying 20 years previously but, he doesn’t let it show to others.As the war goes on, his pupils are disappearing due to being Jews. They are either captured by the Nazis and sent off to the concentration camps, killed or are in hiding. So, when he discovers one of his worst pupils that he has. That is very confident and outspoken and It’s 1941, Amsterdam is occupied by the Nazis. Professor Josef Held is a Mathematics Professor at the local University. Josef has never gotten over his wife Sarah dying 20 years previously but, he doesn’t let it show to others.As the war goes on, his pupils are disappearing due to being Jews. They are either captured by the Nazis and sent off to the concentration camps, killed or are in hiding. So, when he discovers one of his worst pupils that he has. That is very confident and outspoken and poetic Michael Blum he offers to hide him in his attic.The story also includes the story of Ingrid who is sympathetic to The Third Reich and has a relationship with a Major. She dreams of a life with Hendrich getting married and moving to Germany.Also, Hannah Pender, the receptionist at the university who ends up a member of the Resistance and helps the cause to win the war.I always enjoy reading historical novels about the WW1 and WW2 and this is no exception. This was a beautifully written story of Love, courage, self-sacrifice and determination. I loved the poems too that were linked in this story. They gave more meaning to the story. This was such an emotional story and so different to others that I have read in this subject. That I give it big fat 5 stars from me.
    more
  • Karren Sandercock
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley, Bookouture and Suzanne Kelman for my digital copy of: A View Across The Rooftops.Professor Josef Held had never recovered from the loss of his beloved wife Sarah who tragically died 20 years ago giving birth to their first child and he had no intention of ever letting anyone else into his life. He's a man stuck in a rut, after he finished teaching maths at the university, he walked home every day taking the same route, he fed his cat, ate a simple meal, opened his kitchen Thanks to NetGalley, Bookouture and Suzanne Kelman for my digital copy of: A View Across The Rooftops.Professor Josef Held had never recovered from the loss of his beloved wife Sarah who tragically died 20 years ago giving birth to their first child and he had no intention of ever letting anyone else into his life. He's a man stuck in a rut, after he finished teaching maths at the university, he walked home every day taking the same route, he fed his cat, ate a simple meal, opened his kitchen window and listened to his neighbor Mrs Florence Epstein play her piano.In 1941 the Nazi's arrive, Amsterdam was invaded, German soldiers are everywhere and it's a very dangerous place to live.When his niece Ingrid started dating Major Von Strauss, her uncle Josef was horrified and it only got worse when she started working for the Germans.Jewish people are arrested, first it's men, then the Germans started to target all Jewish people and his elderly neighbor Mrs Epstein was killed.Michael Blum attended the university where professor Held worked, he had very little interest in mathematics, he's a dreamer, he's a real character, a poet and he fell in love with a fellow student Elke. Eventually Michael was banned from attending university as he's Jewish and he had no idea how dangerous his situation was?Desperate to give Michael and Elke’s love a chance to flourish, Josef gave Michael refuge in his attic, a act of bravery and resistance that changed both of their lives. As the dark days of war continued, they faced danger and betrayal, who can be trusted and their both on edge.The Dutch people suffered terribly during the war, all radio's were confiscated, they have no contact with the outside world, medicine was in short supply, food, fire wood, clothes and shoes wore out. So you can imagine what people thought about women like Ingrid who were working and sleeping with the enemy.Soon keeping Michael safe became extremely difficult when his niece announced her engagement to Major Von Strauss and they visit him at home with no prior noticeHannah Pender lived with her mother Clara, she's a attractive young widow and she worked at the universities office. Professor Held was totally unaware that the pretty widow was interested in him and during such a troubled times was it wise to start a new relationship?A View Across The Rooftops, is a story about WW II, love, hope, friendship, courage, risk, secrets and danger.I enjoyed reading about the strong unbreakable bond formed between unlikely friends Joseph and Michael. I gave the book 4 stars, I shared my review on Goodreads, NetGalley, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Twitter and my blog.https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/
    more
  • MicheleReader
    January 1, 1970
    4.25 ratingHow many heart-wrenching WWII books can one read? Well, if they are like this book, I will keep reading them. Set in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation, we meet mathematics professor Josef Held as life is starting to change all around him. He has been living a simple life with his cat devoid of any real emotion as he has never recovered from the death of his wife twenty years earlier. Only the simple pleasure of listening to his neighbor Mrs. Epstein play her piano is all he allows 4.25 ratingHow many heart-wrenching WWII books can one read? Well, if they are like this book, I will keep reading them. Set in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation, we meet mathematics professor Josef Held as life is starting to change all around him. He has been living a simple life with his cat devoid of any real emotion as he has never recovered from the death of his wife twenty years earlier. Only the simple pleasure of listening to his neighbor Mrs. Epstein play her piano is all he allows himself. But once his Jewish neighbor is murdered right before him, everything changes. And when his student Michael, a vibrant, artistic young Jewish man, needs his help, Josef must find the strength and courage to come to his rescue putting his own life in jeopardy. Inspired by a true story, this book was beautifully written and extremely moving showing that heroes exist beyond the battlefields. Many thanks to NetGalley, Bookouture and author Suzanne Kelman for the opportunity to read this impressive book in advance of its October 25 release.
    more
  • Stina
    January 1, 1970
    As a fan of WW2 fiction, A VIEW ACROSS THE ROOFTOPS is unlike any other I have read. A touching tale of love, hope, courage and betrayal in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, it is evocative, emotional, unsettling and yet it is hauntingly beautiful. It's 1941 and the Nazi's have invaded Amsterdam, taking it over and setting up occupation in the name of the Fuhrer. There are German soldiers at every turn making the Dutch town a dangerous place to live. Radios were confiscated, food, clothes and medicine As a fan of WW2 fiction, A VIEW ACROSS THE ROOFTOPS is unlike any other I have read. A touching tale of love, hope, courage and betrayal in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, it is evocative, emotional, unsettling and yet it is hauntingly beautiful. It's 1941 and the Nazi's have invaded Amsterdam, taking it over and setting up occupation in the name of the Fuhrer. There are German soldiers at every turn making the Dutch town a dangerous place to live. Radios were confiscated, food, clothes and medicine were in short supply and with their city under complete rule of the Nazis, the people were isolated from the outside world.Professor Josef Held has never gotten over the loss of his beloved wife Sarah who died 20 years ago whilst giving birth to their first child. He has barely lived in the time since, refusing to forgive himself for letting it happen. By day he teaches advanced mathematics at the university and by night he sits at home alone with his cat, eating a plain and simple meal and listening to his neighbour play her piano. He has no intention of letting anyone else into his world...this existence in which he lives until the day he rejoins his beloved Sarah.A sympathetic and compassionate man, Josef does not think of himself as brave. He has no intention of involving himself in the war around him. He just wants his life to remain as simple as possible. And yet, one night his life is changed forever when the Nazis come for his neighbour, Mrs Epstein, who both delighted and soothed his soul every evening with her beautiful piano. She begs him to help her but is wretched from his arms by the Nazis and shot. Josef is horrified and speechless. But more than that...he feels an incredible guilt as the Nazis thanked him for his good work. He knew then that he had a hand in his neighbour's demise when he told his niece Ingrid of his Jewish neighbour who played the piano, teaching local children how to play. And now Josef must live with what he has done.Michael Blum is a young Jewish man and a student of Josef's at the university. He is a dreamer, a romantic, a poet and cares nothing for mathematics...but is following his father's aspirations to study numbers in the belief that he would make something of himself. But Michael comes up against adversity when Jews are banned from attending classes and in a final act of defiance completes his last exam with the writings of Josef's late wife's favourite poets, Rilke.Michael wants nothing more than to live a quiet life on his girlfriend Elke's houseboat, writing poetry and making love. But when his childhood friend David comes knocking frantically, the Gestapo hot on his heels, Michael then attempts to escape the city...but David is killed. With frantic promises to Elke, Michael flees to the one person he feels he can trust.When Josef hears the insistent banging on his door he worries that the Nazis have returned after shooting his neighbour in cold blood. But upon opening his door he is surprised to find his former student Michael, terrified and shaking...and a Jew on the run for his life. Without thinking twice, Josef offers Michael safe shelter in his attic for the night. But things become far too dangerous and fearing his house is under watch, Josef concedes that Michael must stay if he is to survive. This is especially true with Ingrid working with the Third Reich and dating a high level SS officer - Major Heinrich von Strauss - putting his life at an even greater risk. But after the death of his neighbour, the Major was of the firm belief that Josef was "one of the good Dutch". Indeed he was...just not in the way the Major thought.Then there is Ingrid. As Josef's niece, she was orphaned at a young age when Josef himself was still grieving the loss of his own wife and was unable to take on the care of the little girl. So she was sent to live with relatives and attend boarding school...leaving Josef feeling guilty that he should've been there for Ingrid in her younger years. Now she is an adult and excited about her new job with the Third Reich. Josef is mortified. But Ingrid is naive in her knowledge of the Nazis, believing she is on the path to a better life - a richer life - with Heinrich by her side.Meanwhile there are elements of romance throughout. While in the shadowy quiet of his secret room, Michael regales Josef with stories of his beautiful fearless girlfriend Elke, with whom he insists that not even the Nazis will come between. But Elke is a non-Jewish Dutch woman and their relationship is strictly forbidden. Furthermore, there is also Hannah Porter who works at the university where Josef teaches. Completely unaware that Hannah is interested in him, Josef surprisingly finds himself also intrigued by her but believes her to be a married woman so refuses to pay any heed to his attraction. But Hannah, who lives with her aging mother Clara, is a widow and tries in vain to capture the attentions of the somewhat aloof and indifferent professor. But given the troubled times in which they live, was it wise to embark on a new relationship?A VIEW ACROSS THE ROOFTOPS is not a fast paced tale and yet it is so beautifully told that you find yourself so immersed within the story that you devour it all too quickly. I read it in two sittings, staying up till 3.30am until I turned the final page. A haunting tale, A VIEW ACROSS THE ROOFTOPS is unlike any WW2 historical novel. Every character draws you in as you invest yourself in each of their stories, whether they be good or bad, devouring it all with baited breath. Josef's heroic actions, Michael's strength, Ingrid's naivete, Elke's fearlessness, Hannah's courage, even Heinrich's insidiousness. By the end, I was left both heartbroken and satisfied.A VIEW ACROSS THE ROOFTOPS is not just another Holocaust or WW2 story. It is something else entirely. Poignant, moving, tragic and heartbreaking but it is also inspiring, beautiful and hopeful. You will need a box of tissues for this one...but you won't regret it.I would like to thank #SuzanneKelman, #NetGalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #AViewAcrossTheRooftops in exchange for an honest review.This review appears on my blog at https://stinathebookaholic.blogspot.com/.
    more
  • Louise Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    World War ll. The Nazi's have occupied Holland. Its becoming more and more dangerous for the Jewish population. Professor Josef lives a solidarity life in Amsterdam when the Nazi occupation begins. Michael and Elke are madly in love. He is Jewish, she is Dutch. Students are disappearing as the Jewish students are being taken away. Where can they go? Who can they trust?This book is loosely based on a true story. Josef and Michael are great characters who form a special bond. There's a greatmlist World War ll. The Nazi's have occupied Holland. Its becoming more and more dangerous for the Jewish population. Professor Josef lives a solidarity life in Amsterdam when the Nazi occupation begins. Michael and Elke are madly in love. He is Jewish, she is Dutch. Students are disappearing as the Jewish students are being taken away. Where can they go? Who can they trust?This book is loosely based on a true story. Josef and Michael are great characters who form a special bond. There's a greatmlist of characters who are true to life and believable. Josef puts his life at risk whilst trying to hide Michael. Be warned, this book will mess with your emotions. You will also find it hard to put down. It's beautifully written. A story of courage shown in difficult circumstances. At the end of this book, we are told the background of which this story is based on. Just make sure you have a box of tissues handy before you start reading this marvellous story. I would like to thank NetGalley, Bookouture and the author Suzanne Kelman for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Pauline
    January 1, 1970
    A View Across The Rooftops by Suzanne Kelman is a story set in Holand during World War Two. A university professor puts his life at risk by helping a student who is in danger of being arrested and he will do anything he can to keep him alive.This is a heartbreaking story of bravery, hardship and survival.Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Robin Loves Reading
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my goodness! Evocatively unsettling yet hauntingly beautiful. That is what A View Across the Rooftops translates to me. The setting in this touching tale is that the Nazis have occupied Amsterdam. They are working feverishly at extinguishing any Jews, individually and collectively.Professor Josef Held is struggling as a math professor. On a personal level, he has never gotten over the loss of his wife. With regards to his job, it is become more and more difficult. Some of his students are Oh my goodness! Evocatively unsettling yet hauntingly beautiful. That is what A View Across the Rooftops translates to me. The setting in this touching tale is that the Nazis have occupied Amsterdam. They are working feverishly at extinguishing any Jews, individually and collectively.Professor Josef Held is struggling as a math professor. On a personal level, he has never gotten over the loss of his wife. With regards to his job, it is become more and more difficult. Some of his students are simply not interested, as the war is in full swing. Before long, any Jewish students that he was teaching are forever gone.Josef is sympathetic and compassionate. One thing that soothes his soul is the nightly piano music that he hears his elderly neighbor Mrs. Epstein play. When she loses her life to the Nazis, Josef is more than devastated and even feels partially responsible. Right after this occurs someone comes banging on his door. Josef is concerned the Nazis are back, but why? The person at the door, however, is a terrified former student, Michael Blum, a Jew on the run for his life. Josef doesn't think twice. He pulls Michael inside and offers him a place to hide. This is not just for the night either. Josef manages to hide Michael for years. Things are incredibly scary and dangerous for both Josef and Michael. This is especially so because Josef's niece Ingrid is dating a high-level SS officer and is seemingly overly concerned for her uncle's welfare.Meanwhile, the story has some romantic elements. Before Michael had to flee, he was in a passionate relationship with Elke, a young Dutch woman, and they were forced apart. Furthermore, there is Hannah Pender. She is a woman who works at the college. Josef is surprisingly drawn to her, but since he believes her to be a married woman, he fights his powerful attraction to her. When you pull in all of these characters, Josef, Michael, Elke, Hannah, Ingrid, as well has her new fiance, Heinrich, the story is incredibly powerful - and increasingly dangerous. I read this book with bated breath. I cried, I grieved and I hoped. Josef's heroic actions were so powerful, as well as Michael's strength. After all of this, I was left both heartbroken and satisfied. Suzanne Kelman is a new name to me and she has floored me with this book. Thank you to NetGalley and to Bookouture for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
    more
  • Krista
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 3.5 touching stars rounded down to 3 stars This story set in 1941 German occupied Amsterdam works on many levels. I liked Josef’s backstory that slowly unfolded and helped explain his stoicism. I liked the romance aspect between Michael and Elke who were both students in the University level math class that Josef taught. Complicating the story is the fact that Michael is a Jew. The Germans are trying to hunt him down. They want to send him to a ‘work camp’ or just kill him on the spot Rating: 3.5 touching stars rounded down to 3 stars This story set in 1941 German occupied Amsterdam works on many levels. I liked Josef’s backstory that slowly unfolded and helped explain his stoicism. I liked the romance aspect between Michael and Elke who were both students in the University level math class that Josef taught. Complicating the story is the fact that Michael is a Jew. The Germans are trying to hunt him down. They want to send him to a ‘work camp’ or just kill him on the spot when they capture him. Then there is Ingrid. She is Josef’s adult orphaned niece. She is self-centered, not too principled, and seeking an easy life. She craves approval from all the wrong places. She is a catalyst for one of the harrowing scenes told in the first third of the book. When she sees her uncle after the incident, she does not understand why he is not happy about what had just taken place.This is mainly the story of how Josef Held has to come to terms with whether or not to shelter Michael. Is it worth it to put himself at risk for the sake of another? Josef is a cautious man who has cut himself off from human touch and interaction after the death of his wife. Can he find the courage to extend himself for another? How do you weigh the value of your life against the potential of another’s life?This book is about a dark subject in world history. It is written in a gentle thoughtful style. For me, the history was a little too glossed over. It minimized some of the aspects of what the Germans did to the Jews in Amsterdam. If you like your WWII stories told with a lighter touch including some romance in addition to historical fiction, this could be just the book for you. I’d recommend it to readers who haven’t read much about WWII yet, or who don’t like to be overwhelmed with too many harrowing scenes directly involving the Holocaust and death camps. ‘Thank-You’ to NetGalley; the publisher, Bookouture; and the author, Suzanne Kelman for providing a free e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Gianna Lorandi
    January 1, 1970
    4 You are going to ask me, is this another WWII book where someone helps another by hiding them? Well yes, but this is not just ANOTHER book.There’s a lightness in the writing and in the atmosphere that - despise the horrors, the betrayals, the greed and the sorrow - gives you hope, hope of survival..hope of happiness and freedom. It reminds me of A Gentleman in Moscow, people holding on to little things in order to survive.The plot, based on a true story, is so beautiful and full of lovely 4 ⭐️ You are going to ask me, is this another WWII book where someone helps another by hiding them? Well yes, but this is not just ANOTHER book.There’s a lightness in the writing and in the atmosphere that - despise the horrors, the betrayals, the greed and the sorrow - gives you hope, hope of survival..hope of happiness and freedom. It reminds me of A Gentleman in Moscow, people holding on to little things in order to survive.The plot, based on a true story, is so beautiful and full of lovely characters who were just like you and me but did extraordinary things to protect the ones they loved.I wish the German characters were a little bit less stereotypical but other than that, this book was a delight!Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for the advanced copy.
    more
  • Bev Walkling
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to #NetGalley, #Bookouture and the author #Suzanne Kelman for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book prior to its publication on Oct. 25th, 2019. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own honest thoughts.The first thing that drew me to this book was the picture on the cover along with the text: Amsterdam, 1941: One man will risk everything to save a life. The artwork definitely reminded me of housing that I had seen while visiting the Netherlands many years Many thanks to #NetGalley, #Bookouture and the author #Suzanne Kelman for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book prior to its publication on Oct. 25th, 2019. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own honest thoughts.The first thing that drew me to this book was the picture on the cover along with the text: Amsterdam, 1941: One man will risk everything to save a life. The artwork definitely reminded me of housing that I had seen while visiting the Netherlands many years ago and stories from the Second World War are always of interest to me as my father served with the Canadian Army and spent quite some months in the Netherlands during the war.The author dedicates her book to "all the unsung heroes of Holland, who risked their lives during World War Two by hiding 30,000 Jewish people, the onderduikers, in their barns, attics, and basements. We may never know your names, but the legacy of your bravery will live on forever". Following the dedication she includes a quote from Anne Frank that references looking out "over all the roofs and on to the horizon". This set the tone for me right from the start. I doubt if there are many of my age and back ground who have not heard of Anne Frank or have not at least some familiarity with her story and hers is just one of the many stories that took place. I have visited the place where Anne hid. It was easy to imagine myself hidden away somewhere, perhaps peeking out through a small crack to see the only things in sight - the rooftops, perhaps some stars or the moon. How difficult it must have been to retain any sense of hope under such circumstances.This particular novel was inspired by a story of one individual that the author heard of, an un-named man who was willing to risk his life and health in order to save a man that he was hiding in his attic. Originally she co-wrote it as a screenplay with her friend Susannah who had first introduced her to the story. As a screenplay called "Held" it won many awards but as of now it has yet to be made into a movie. Hopefully that will change once this novel has been published. As she wrote, the question that haunted the author was "Just how far would I be willing to go to save another person's life?" as a reader, I found myself pondering this question very seriously. In many ways it is a question we should ask ourselves on a daily basis as we hear of war and devastation and genocides that still occur on an ongoing basis around the world.The main character of the story is a man called Josef Held - a university professor who loves music but somehow ended up as a math professor. After losing his wife due to complications of childbirth, Josef withdrew into himself such that his life consisted of teaching and just staying in his home where he would open the windows and hear his neighbour playing piano as she taught classes to her pupils or practiced her own compositions. When the war arrives, his life changes - first in small ways - pupils disappear from class, he is forced to give up his precious radio but life still goes on without too many drastic changes. His most infuriating student tells him that Jews will no longer be allowed to study at the University. His niece, an orphaned child that he has always felt guilty that he could not do more for, is now dating a Nazi officer. It becomes harder and harder to look away and not see the horrible things that are happening around him. When some innocent words he speaks to his niece lead to the brutal murder of Josef's neighbour, he can no longer ignore what is happening.When Michael Blum, the infuriating student who would rather write poetry than learn math suddenly appears at his home in desperation, Josef takes him in and allows him to hide in the attic. At first it was to be for one night but that quickly changes and as the months go by and Matthew continues to hide in the attic, Josef's life becomes more open and emotionally he begins to live again painful though that might be. As he struggles with guilt for perceived past sins and the beginnings of love for a co-worker, Josef has to act as if everything is just as it always was. He never knows when his niece and her Nazi boyfriend will descend on his doorstep putting his life and the life of Michael Blum at risk. This risk continues from 1941 through to 1945 when Michael is forced to leave in a hurry. As a reader it was hard for me to imagine that I could hide anyone in my home for that length of time and under such difficult circumstances.I do not want to spoil the story for readers yet to come so I will not go into further detail other than to say that the reader will also meet and gain an understanding of other characters and the things that motivated them. This is a powerful novel, extremely well written and it moved me to tears more than once. If you are interested in World War history or the psychology of what motivates people to act the way they do then I think you will find this a fascinating book. I highly recommend it.
    more
  • Susan Hampson
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my, this was another tearful book for me for all the best reason. At times there feels such a strong connection with a story that it seems to become personal and so how you feel and care about the characters affect you. This was such a book for me.Set in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam in 1941 the local people have no choice but to follow the constantly changing demands given to them. Michael Blum was a young man who had an infectious personality, challenging, sensitive and very in love with a Dutch Oh my, this was another tearful book for me for all the best reason. At times there feels such a strong connection with a story that it seems to become personal and so how you feel and care about the characters affect you. This was such a book for me.Set in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam in 1941 the local people have no choice but to follow the constantly changing demands given to them. Michael Blum was a young man who had an infectious personality, challenging, sensitive and very in love with a Dutch girl. A perfect match in every way, except for now because Michael was a Jew and she wasn't. Michael was studying advanced Math at university under Professor Josef Held and was a real thorn in his side with his teasing antics. When Michael tells the Professor that Jews will no longer be allowed to attend University Josef gives him a book. A book that will save his life.When the Nazis go to round Michael up to be taken away he escapes because of a good friend, leaving the love of his life and making her promise to make a life for herself without him. He heads for his only hope of not being caught that night, the Professor's house, the address had been in the book cover unknown to the Professor when he gave Michael the book.What begins as a one-night solution builds into a friendship that still brings tears to my eyes. There is some terrible hold your breath moments, especially as Josef's niece takes up with a high ranking Nazi. I couldn't even begin to imagine the shame and guilt that the people left behind felt when life long friends were hauled out of their homes and taken away. Whole communities and streets left baron of its occupants within hours of being raided by the Nazis while others turned their backs unable to help because they would have been killed.This story is brutal and inspirational, cruel and beautiful, the worst and the very best of humanity. So very beautifully written, so very tender at times it is how both men became the salvation for each other. I love the characters that the author created each one brought the perfect reaction from me. Do read the authors notes, which again brought floods of tears for me. Very highly recommended!I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
    more
  • J_Mc 251
    January 1, 1970
    Epic. There is no other way to describe this story. It is an incredible journey through occupied Amsterdam, from 1941 to after the war in 1947. The characters are realistic, and the author did an excellent job of creating a representative cross-section of people, from the Nazi sympathizer to the members of the Dutch Resistance. When it comes to books, I am not a crier, but I found myself tearing up several times at both the sheer beauty and the utter despair on the pages. This is one of my Epic. There is no other way to describe this story. It is an incredible journey through occupied Amsterdam, from 1941 to after the war in 1947. The characters are realistic, and the author did an excellent job of creating a representative cross-section of people, from the Nazi sympathizer to the members of the Dutch Resistance. When it comes to books, I am not a crier, but I found myself tearing up several times at both the sheer beauty and the utter despair on the pages. This is one of my favorite books I have read this year, by far. For a detailed review, please visit my blog at Fireflies and Free Kicks Fiction Reviews. Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for a complimentary, pre-release, digital ARC of the book.
    more
  • Tripfiction
    January 1, 1970
    Novel set in WW2 AMSTERDAM‘Carefully standing to the side he pressed his face flat against the wall, his gaze stretched across the red tiled rooftops than ran all the way to Muttoren, the medieval clock tower that chimed every 15 minutes. Whenever he stared toward the yellow coloured numbers he would often wonder about the people who lived in the brown and cream buildings, with their stepped gabled facade that sat in tall regimented rows between him and the tower, that seemed to mock his Novel set in WW2 AMSTERDAM‘Carefully standing to the side he pressed his face flat against the wall, his gaze stretched across the red tiled rooftops than ran all the way to Muttoren, the medieval clock tower that chimed every 15 minutes. Whenever he stared toward the yellow coloured numbers he would often wonder about the people who lived in the brown and cream buildings, with their stepped gabled facade that sat in tall regimented rows between him and the tower, that seemed to mock his captivity every ¼ of an hour. Were other people marking time with him, he wondered. He would pay particular attention to the other attic windows, did they too, hide secrets of their own.’I think this book beautifully captures a question we’ve all asked ourselves – what would you do in times of war? Be part of the active resistance? Hide those persecuted in your home? Marry the enemy?Every character in this book has a different answer to that question. At the heart of it is Josef – a maths professor who, after losing his wife many years ago, is finding it increasingly difficult to find the joy in life. He strikes up an unlikely friendship with one of his rather self-assured and reluctant students, Michael. Michael is also Jewish. After witnessing the death of his neighbour, and seeing the numbers in his classes dwindle, Josef can no longer turn a blind eye to the persecution happening in his own city. He decides to hide Michael in his attic. An incredibly difficult task, bearing in mind that Josef’s niece, Ingrid, is engaged to a Nazi officer and often arrives unexpectedly. And not only that, they have to secretly deal with life-threatening illness, bombings and lack of food.My favourite passage from this book is the one above. (It actually took me ages to find because I listened to this book on audio and I just couldn’t work out ‘Muttoren’ until I realised it’s a clock tower in Amsterdam. One of the troubles of audio – that and the American soldier’s terrible accent). I found it very moving and poignant that regardless of the atrocities going on in the city, the clock tower still struck and marked time for Michael. Also as a reader, we know that there were others in hiding like him, so it felt sad that he was isolated whilst he pondered.Overall, this is a really well written book, with some of the best characterisation I’ve read (or listened to) for a while. The unusual and interesting relationships are described wonderfully and I felt hooked right from the first chapter. I especially loved how the mundane things taken for granted now play such a huge role in the book, for example the Professor’s radio. It signifies the Nazi’s control, is a symbol of Josef and Michael’s resistance and also brings Josef together with Hannah – the university secretary who has her own story throughout.Although perhaps not a 5* location rating, there are some beautiful glimpses of Amsterdam and how the city was back then. Highly recommended – just make sure you have a tissue to hand!
    more
  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    I'm so sad that I did not like this. The summary makes it sound wonderful, the cover is gorgeous, and I'm totally here for grumpy main characters that begrudgingly do the right thing. But the writing is just not for me. Here are a few sample sentences (and I read just the first two chapters):"Cream sandals emphasized her shapely ankles..." (you'd think a man wrote this, but alas, it was a woman)"...her dropped-waist, calf-length, silk dress had been reverently tucked and folded by elderly female I'm so sad that I did not like this. The summary makes it sound wonderful, the cover is gorgeous, and I'm totally here for grumpy main characters that begrudgingly do the right thing. But the writing is just not for me. Here are a few sample sentences (and I read just the first two chapters):"Cream sandals emphasized her shapely ankles..." (you'd think a man wrote this, but alas, it was a woman)"...her dropped-waist, calf-length, silk dress had been reverently tucked and folded by elderly female relatives and young unmarried friends." (because being old and/or unmarried obviously means you have no hope in life)"...I started to fall a little bit in love with your father as I watched him reciting." (she tells her husband this!! at their wedding!!)"I'm not sure how long our love with last if you don't know how to keep love alive like that. I can't see mathematical equations making me feel quite the same way." (girl has a point about math, but girl, shouldn't you have figured this out before the wedding?)"He continued with intense romantic emphasis, "[insert mathematical equation that I don't want to retype here]." (what is this sentence!!!)"As their lovemaking fell into a gentle rhythm, all that could be heard was the soft creaking of the windmill as its sails lifted toward the darkening sunset sky." (this is a sentence that exists and it makes me want to hurl)I rest my case. Other things are writing about "expectant eyes", using Holland and the Netherlands as interchangeable terms (they aren't), using the phrase "shapeliness" several times in just a few pages, and having the grumpy professor examine a female coworker while she's speaking to him like she's a piece of meat ready for consumption. If this is all men think about, no wonder the world goes to shit. And then he goes home, and asks his cat how its day has been!! Was that supposed to make me think he was a reasonable human? After objectifying a clearly married woman? Knowing that for at least half the book (I think there is a second perspective I didn't get to) I would have to be in this patronizing asshole's head did NOT make me want to continue this story. Anyway. The story seems fine. It's what made me want to read this in the first place, and I wish I enjoyed it more. The cover is really pretty. But this book is clearly written for romance readers who feel like delving into historical fiction for a change. With that, I leave you this one last sentence that was the last straw for me: "'I am just going to lie here until you are overcome by my incredible body and beg me to make love to you again,' he informed her." (y'all are Jewish in Occupied Amsterdam, shouldn't you have bigger things to worry about?)I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Carolyn Stumpf
    January 1, 1970
    5 beautiful, fantastic, emotional stars! I loved this book! Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.Sometimes when you read a book that follows multiple perspectives, you enjoy one more than another, but I loved reading each one so much! From Josef, to Hannah, to Ingrid, and Michael- I just couldn’t choose! Ugh, I almost forgot about Eva!There’s an overwhelming theme of self-sacrifice for the ones you love and also of embracing your life and living it to the hilt.I absolutely 5 beautiful, fantastic, emotional stars! I loved this book! Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.Sometimes when you read a book that follows multiple perspectives, you enjoy one more than another, but I loved reading each one so much! From Josef, to Hannah, to Ingrid, and Michael- I just couldn’t choose! Ugh, I almost forgot about Eva!There’s an overwhelming theme of self-sacrifice for the ones you love and also of embracing your life and living it to the hilt.I absolutely enjoyed this book. From an unlikely friendship between Josef and Michael, and these mens’ journey to true love, this book is a beautifully written story centered in Amsterdam during WWII.
    more
  • Shalini
    January 1, 1970
    I don't read many historical fiction as I do not know much about history. Having got an opportunity to read this book, I would try to put words to my thoughts.1941, Amsterdam, Nazi invasion, a Professor Held, who taught advanced mathematics saw brutality occurring everywhere. His niece started dating a German soldier. Michael his pupil was banned from attending his class. In order to save his life, impulsively, the professor offered Michael a safe place to hide.My first book by Susanne Kelman, I don't read many historical fiction as I do not know much about history. Having got an opportunity to read this book, I would try to put words to my thoughts.1941, Amsterdam, Nazi invasion, a Professor Held, who taught advanced mathematics saw brutality occurring everywhere. His niece started dating a German soldier. Michael his pupil was banned from attending his class. In order to save his life, impulsively, the professor offered Michael a safe place to hide.My first book by Susanne Kelman, the book read fast. The characters soon took up all my attention, and emotions were wrenched when I read about the atrocities on humanity. The author created an aura of the World War II, and life of the people living in those times and their struggle to survive.All the characters, Professor and Michael and their love interests, told me their tale poignantly. At times, I had to tell myself to breathe as the scene would suck in all my emotions. This was a heartbreaking captivating story where sacrifice and love on the backdrop of WW2 made it a compelling read.
    more
  • Lee Husemann
    January 1, 1970
    I knew in the first couple of pages that this was going to be a really great read and it really was. This story is set in Amsterdam during World War II. Josef Held is a widowed college math professor and Michael Blum is one of his Jewish students. Add in, secretary/clerk Heather Pender and you have a great story line. There are so many things that happen in this book and the author did a brilliant job weaving the story lines together. I absolutely loved this book and I highly recommend it to I knew in the first couple of pages that this was going to be a really great read and it really was. This story is set in Amsterdam during World War II. Josef Held is a widowed college math professor and Michael Blum is one of his Jewish students. Add in, secretary/clerk Heather Pender and you have a great story line. There are so many things that happen in this book and the author did a brilliant job weaving the story lines together. I absolutely loved this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves World War II stories. The characters are all pretty much likeable and I found myself on the edge of my seat rooting for Professor Held. Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for an absolutely fantastic read in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Janice
    January 1, 1970
    There are some books for which a 5-star rating just isn’t sufficient – A View Across the Rooftops is one of those books!It’s not ‘just another war book’; not ‘just another Holocaust story’. No story about war is ever entirely one of fiction and in that respect, this book too draws heavily on fact, basing itself in Amsterdam and making use of many known incidents and individuals of that time. The story itself developed from one that was told to the author about an act of heroism that was There are some books for which a 5-star rating just isn’t sufficient – A View Across the Rooftops is one of those books!It’s not ‘just another war book’; not ‘just another Holocaust story’. No story about war is ever entirely one of fiction and in that respect, this book too draws heavily on fact, basing itself in Amsterdam and making use of many known incidents and individuals of that time. The story itself developed from one that was told to the author about an act of heroism that was committed in order to save a life. And indeed, the surname of one of the main protagonists is ‘Held’, which translated from the Dutch means ‘hero’.Josef Held is living his own quiet insular life in Amsterdam during 1941 when the Nazi’s occupy his home town. He’s a Mathematics professor at the local university and is determined to continue as he’s always done since losing his beloved wife Sarah many years before. This is not his war; it has nothing to do with him; he suffers his own pain and doesn’t need to know of anyone else’s. As the number of students attending classes start to dwindle, and as food becomes scarce, Josef reminds himself that if he keeps his head down, all will be right with his world.But this all ends abruptly when the brutality and ugliness of war arrives, literally, on his doorstep – in more ways than one – and he finds that he can no longer be a bystander to what is happening around him. Much to his surprise, he agrees to hide Michael Blum, one of his students – actually not even one of his favourite students (at all!) And so, Josef’s world that has been so dark for so long, starts to brighten … strangely during one of the darkest times of history.I can’t even begin to describe all the nuances of this book, the way that it alludes to the many types of relationships required by various people at the different stages of their lives. It also shows how utterly cruel mankind can be and how people use each other and then cast them aside as if they’re mere things.Ms Kelman’s characterisation is absolutely incredible. I could picture each and every person that she had crafted in those pages. They all came to life. Josef’s niece, Ingrid: desperate to be loved and to fit in somewhere … anywhere; the lovely, understated Hannah, together with her mother Clara, and the young Eva; the brutal, determined Heinrich with his single-minded aim to fulfil his designated task, whatever the cost. Each and every person – even Josef’s pet ‘Kat’ – was so perfectly depicted.This is a beautiful story. Yes, it’s sad and painful to read. It’s poignant and heartbreaking, moving and tragic. But it is also inspiring and hopeful, leaving readers with a huge sense of optimism and faith that there are most certainly sparks of good to be found in humanity, even in its deepest, gloomiest depths.Do yourself a favour and click on some of the research links that have been included at the end of the book for even more fascinating insights into Holland in World War II, the Resistance and other related topics.
    more
  • Helen White
    January 1, 1970
    Josef is a quiet university professor, grieving for his wife and following his routine life under German occupation. His Jewish student Michael is very much the opposite - passionate, wild, daring and in danger. As the Nazis continue to remove all Jews from Amsterdam Michael inadvertently ends up at Josef's house - and so begins Josef's quiet determination to keep Michael alive. This is so well written - the tension when people start working with the resistance, the constant worry of what will Josef is a quiet university professor, grieving for his wife and following his routine life under German occupation. His Jewish student Michael is very much the opposite - passionate, wild, daring and in danger. As the Nazis continue to remove all Jews from Amsterdam Michael inadvertently ends up at Josef's house - and so begins Josef's quiet determination to keep Michael alive. This is so well written - the tension when people start working with the resistance, the constant worry of what will happen to the characters with each step closer to discovery and Ingrid a character who seems so destined for disaster it's painful to read. Totally absorbing. Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the review copy.
    more
  • Melissa Henderson
    January 1, 1970
    If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would. From the first moment I started reading the story, I could not stop. I was captured by the story and the characters. Descriptions made me feel like I was right there and surrounded by events and people. The dust, smells, pain and emotions were felt as I turned each page. This is a story of intense dedication of people who cared deeply for others. Amidst turmoil, death and fear of the unknown, friendships and love win out. Author Suzanne If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would. From the first moment I started reading the story, I could not stop. I was captured by the story and the characters. Descriptions made me feel like I was right there and surrounded by events and people. The dust, smells, pain and emotions were felt as I turned each page. This is a story of intense dedication of people who cared deeply for others. Amidst turmoil, death and fear of the unknown, friendships and love win out. Author Suzanne Kelman has written another great story. I received a complimentary copy of the book. No review was required.
    more
  • Pam
    January 1, 1970
    This is another heartbreaking based on a true story set during the 2nd World War. This story is set in Amsterdam and I highly recommend it. Make sure to have your box of tissues at the ready while you read this beautifully told story!My thanks to Netgalley and Bookoutre for this advanced readers copy. This book is due to release in October 2019.
    more
  • Fergie
    January 1, 1970
    I couldn't put this book down. I've always been fascinated by the courage of the people of Holland during WWII; their resistance to their Nazi oppressors and, most moving, their commitment to stand by and protect when they could their Jewish neighbors. While nearly 75% of Jews from the Netherlands were murdered during the Holocaust, it was because of the bravery and moral integrity of Christians in that country that at least 25% survived. A VIEW ACROSS THE ROOFTOPS is heartfelt and truly a I couldn't put this book down. I've always been fascinated by the courage of the people of Holland during WWII; their resistance to their Nazi oppressors and, most moving, their commitment to stand by and protect when they could their Jewish neighbors. While nearly 75% of Jews from the Netherlands were murdered during the Holocaust, it was because of the bravery and moral integrity of Christians in that country that at least 25% survived. A VIEW ACROSS THE ROOFTOPS is heartfelt and truly a page-turner. No matter how many historical fiction books I've read set in WWII, I can't seem to get enough of books that capture the spirit of those who dared to risk their lives for the righteous call for dignity and freedom. This book is a wonderful read.
    more
  • Gaele
    January 1, 1970
    Just how far from the known do things have to descend to before you take a stance and find a courage you never knew you had? Such is the case for the characters in this book, from the reticent and keep to himself professor, to the administrative assistant at the university, a young Jewish student in love with a Dutch girl who could never forget him….This was not a story of people who decided to become people fighting against the Germans and the rise of despicable acts in their beloved city of Just how far from the known do things have to descend to before you take a stance and find a courage you never knew you had? Such is the case for the characters in this book, from the reticent and keep to himself professor, to the administrative assistant at the university, a young Jewish student in love with a Dutch girl who could never forget him….This was not a story of people who decided to become people fighting against the Germans and the rise of despicable acts in their beloved city of Amsterdam – but they were more poignant for their sudden decisions to take a stand, even when every instinct is screaming for self-preservation. Starting with Josef Held, a professor of mathematics who has kept himself ‘removed’ from people and interactions since his wife’s death some years earlier. Recently, with all of the changes from the occupation, he’s been intrigued by his interest in Hannah Pender – the administrative assistant at the university, and frustrated with Michael Blum, a Jewish student who is noted for being a very reluctant student, also very in love with a young Dutch girl, Elke. But the Nazis are tightening their hold – from confiscating his wireless to taking an elderly neighbor into custody to places unknown, and he’s trying simply to survive the onslaught. His only family is a niece, brought to him after her parent’s death as a child, and now involved with a Nazi officer, bringing Josef no end of worry. Hannah takes care of her infirm mother, who spends much of her time knitting caps for ‘the boys’ who will be cold in the coming months. She’s also friendly with a Jewish family, and the young daughter spends hours with her mother, learning to knit and sharing her worries. Hannah would like to hide the family away – but her position and her mother’s need for care have her in a bind. She’s also wondering why Professor Held runs so hot and cold, when she’s only tried to have conversations. The two have much in common – that they won’t see for ages – but the connection from the university will serve them both during the long years of occupation. When Michael appears at Held’s doorway after his best friend is shot, Josef decides that enough is enough – and sets him up in his attic – the only view is over the rooftops. Despite the dangers, Michael is full of life, daring and imagination – frustrated by being ‘caged’ and worried for Elke – but alive. Alive in ways that Josef has forgotten – but this connection will bring the two closer together and encourage Josef’s return to a life lived with joy. As Hannah’s story progresses, her father’s shed, where he built and repaired bicycles becomes her refuge- from healing a wounded allied soldier and seeing him smuggled away, to building bicycles and finally being a part of the resistance delivering bicycles and packages, and finding her own simple and quiet ways to resist and help those she cares for. This isn’t a story that focuses on the atrocities of the war in a general way -but more the small moments, the emotions and the events that changed Josef and Hannah, along with Michael, Elke and Josef’s niece – and gives a sold sense of the atmosphere and the changes it brought under the brutal occupation. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. Review first appeared at I am, Indeed
    more
  • Ioanna
    January 1, 1970
    1941, Amsterdam. Professor Josef is grieving the loss of his wife. Sworn to never love anyone else again, he goes on with his life as a professor quietly, while Amsterdam is being torn by the Nazis. But when the Nazis start persecuting the Jews, Josef will be presented with a hard choice: does he go about his quiet life, or does he help another human being?Josef soon decides to provide refuge to his student, Michael. And as they get to know each other better, he will need to help the young man 1941, Amsterdam. Professor Josef is grieving the loss of his wife. Sworn to never love anyone else again, he goes on with his life as a professor quietly, while Amsterdam is being torn by the Nazis. But when the Nazis start persecuting the Jews, Josef will be presented with a hard choice: does he go about his quiet life, or does he help another human being?Josef soon decides to provide refuge to his student, Michael. And as they get to know each other better, he will need to help the young man again: Michael, a Jew, is in love with a Dutch girl, something strictly forbidden by the Nazis. Can he risk his life once more to help love survive?A View Across the Rooftops is a moving story about love, heartbreak, and hope. Incredibly well-written, it has an outstanding narrative. While reading, you can't help but feel Josef's pain, and celebrate his honorable decisions. The setting is painted so well for the reader, that you can feel like you are part of the story. All in all, a very good book to read. Highly recommended for the fans of historical fiction, especially those who are interested in the WWII era.
    more
  • Katelyn Spedden
    January 1, 1970
    *I recieved a free copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* This book was really good and I couldn’t put it down. I’ve read MANY books that take place during WWII but surprisingly not one that takes place in Amsterdam. I also haven’t had many where a main character is so fully invested in the Nazi party and against their own people the way that Ingrid is. But you don’t hate her, or at least I didn’t hate her. But it shows what happens to women that sided with the Nazi’ *I recieved a free copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* This book was really good and I couldn’t put it down. I’ve read MANY books that take place during WWII but surprisingly not one that takes place in Amsterdam. I also haven’t had many where a main character is so fully invested in the Nazi party and against their own people the way that Ingrid is. But you don’t hate her, or at least I didn’t hate her. But it shows what happens to women that sided with the Nazi’s after they lost power and abandoned those women. Josef and Michael are also strong characters that grow together and form a bond that you enjoy reading about. I also like that the resistance fighter in it all was a woman while also having someone like Elke realize that even the Dutch were doing awful things like stealing art from others to profit.While Josef is the main character of the story it jumps between him, Elke, Hannah (a woman that works at the university), and Ingrid (Josef’s niece) so that the story is told by many different people. Because of this it is able to show how one man with no affixation to the resistance is willing to put his life at risk for one man. It’s a powerful part of the story and it does well being shown by different people because you also get the Nazi side of things because Ingrid works for them and truly believes everything that they say. But she’s not a character that you inherently dislike because she’s also just so naive and is mistreated.The book is a fantastic one and people should pick it up when it comes out.
    more
Write a review