The Girl in the Photo by Catherine Hokin

Today I pass back to Mandie who has a books on tour review of The Girl In The Photo by Catherine Hokin. Thanks to publisher Bookouture for the tour invite and the advance copy for review. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Netgalley
Release Date: 27 January 2023
Publisher: Bookouture

About the Book

1944. ‘I have to go away, my darling. Please, be brave, stay alive, for me.’ Her mother’s voice breaks. The little girl tries to stop the forbidden tears from falling, as the train takes her mother, and she is left alone in the camp…

Berlin, six years later. When Hanni Winter shows her new husband the heartbreaking photos she captured during the war, his reaction is unexpected. His face white, Freddy can’t take his eyes off the photo of a young girl around four years old. ‘That’s Renny,’ he whispers, ‘my sister, she was taken by the Nazis…’

Hanni remembers her perfectly – the child with the wide eyes and bitten lips, who wouldn’t let herself cry despite the chaos and cruelty all around them in the camp. Her heart had broken for the little girl as she took her picture, desperate to reveal the truth about the Nazis to the world. If that child is Renny, then they must try to find her. They must return to hell on earth.

But when Hanni arrives at the black and white arch of the camp, she comes face to face with a man she fears more than any other. Can she find the strength to fight again, or will every hope for the future be lost forever?

A heart-wrenching novel about love and courage in the face of terrible odds. Fans of The Alice Network, The Nightingale and The Tattooist of Auschwitz will need a box of tissues handy.

Mandie’s Thoughts

The Girl in the Photo is the third book in the Hanni Winter series, and she is now married to Freddy and about to embark on her first photography exhibition. Little does she know that this momentous event will have such a drastic impact on her life and will see all her hard kept secrets come to light. 

The opening chapter sees a young girl left in Theresienstadt Concentration Camp by her mother when she is forced on to a train never to return. The wife of one of the officers takes a shine to her and when the war ends and they are forced to flee she takes the girl as her own. When Freddy sees the picture of this girl in Hanni’s exhibition he immediately recognises her as his little sister Renny and he is determined to find her. In a hope to contain her past Hanni has no choice to accompany Freddy on this dangerous quest

Freddy has always felt guilty that he somehow survived the war when his family didn’t so to find out that his sister may still be alive is something he has to investigate. He is so blinkered in his quest that you can see that he has no real thought to his safety or that of Hanni. He even ignores the advice of close friends who think crossing into Russian territory is a dangerous game that could result in disaster with nothing to show for it. Although we know the reason for her reluctance to look for Renny, she is determined to support him no matter what it may cost her or how the trip back to places she had hoped to have put behind her may make her feel. 

You always know in the back of your mind that Hanni’s secrets will come back to haunt her and put her new life in jeopardy and that her father will be the cause of this. She is not the only one who wants to see her father brought to justice and it is these unknown forces that really put her in danger. Despite all her lies I still feel sorry for Hanni as her life implodes just when she and Freddy should be celebrating and moving forward. That being said I can also understand Freddy’s reaction as the wife he thought he knew turns out to be the daughter of the enemy. Only time will tell if they can ever come back from what he sees as the ultimate betrayal. 

With two headstrong and stubborn characters this is a series that is really starting to grab my attention as I now have more unanswered questions and I cant wait to see if Freddy and Hanni will reconcile and build a future and if Hanni’s father will ever answer for his past crimes.

About the Author

Catherine Hokin is the author of two World War Two inspired novels set in Berlin, her favourite city. Following a History degree at Manchester University she worked in teaching, marketing and politics, while waiting for a chance to do what she really wanted which was to write full time. Her short stories have been published by iScot, Writers Forum and Myslexia magazines and she was the winner of the 2019 Fiction 500 Short Story Competition. She is a lover of strong female leads and a quest.

Catherine now lives in Glasgow with her American husband. She has two grown-up children – one of whom lives, very conveniently, in Berlin – and a life long addiction to very loud music.

Follow the tour:

One thought on “The Girl in the Photo by Catherine Hokin

Comments are closed.