06 February 2015

The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff, Book review

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin MIRA (August 26, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778315964
  • Also available in KINDLE format


A stirring novel of first love in a time of war and the unbearable choices that could tear sisters apart, from the celebrated author of The Kommandant's Girl 

Life is a constant struggle for the eighteen-year-old Nowak twins as they raise their three younger siblings in rural Poland under the shadow of the Nazi occupation. The constant threat of arrest has made everyone in their village a spy, and turned neighbor against neighbor. Though rugged, independent Helena and pretty, gentle Ruth couldn't be more different, they are staunch allies in protecting their family from the threats the war brings closer to their doorstep with each passing day. 

Then Helena discovers an American paratrooper stranded outside their small mountain village, wounded, but alive. Risking the safety of herself and her family, she hides Sam—a Jew—but Helena's concern for the American grows into something much deeper. Defying the perils that render a future together all but impossible, Sam and Helena make plans for the family to flee. But Helena is forced to contend with the jealousy her choices have sparked in Ruth, culminating in a singular act of betrayal that endangers them all—and setting in motion a chain of events that will reverberate across continents and decades. 

My thoughts:

Pam Jenoff's name has been added to my (ever growing) list of preferred authors with her literary contribution in Grand Central: Original Stories of Post War Love and Reunion

This latest title brought once more what I like best in any author's work: sensitivity, historical facts, entertainment and most of all the feeling I have met a kindred spirit. 

I tend to like a WW 2 plot but I look for the hope such difficult moments in life highlights behind the tale (Do you ever wonder what you would do in such circumstances?) and as she has proven in the past Jenoff is a very good storyteller. 

The Winter Guest has all the necessary elements for a story to be remembered long after the last page has been turned, the sort you like to advise a loved one or a good friend to try for themselves in fact. 

Clearly written with elegance and much empathy, here is a story about the many facets of love and the difficulties many dealt with during the second World War. Her characters are finely defined and you have the satisfaction to see a well resolved ending (I do not like those endings that leaves you hanging!).

5 Stars!

Meet the Author:

Pam Jenoff

Pam Jenoff is the author of several novels, including The Kommandant's Girl, which received widespread acclaim, earned her a nomination for the Quill Awards and became an international bestseller. 
She previously served as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. State Department in Europe, as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army at the Pentagon and as a practicing attorney at a large firm and in-house. 
She received her juris doctor from the University of Pennsylvania, her masters degree in history from Cambridge University and her bachelors degree in international affairs from The George Washington University. 
In addition to writing, she teaches law school.

For more information visit her website (HERE)

Note: This was a library loan and any opinion is mine only!


  1. I have not read anything by this author but I will be ordering her books from the library. Not just for me but for the customers I see as an outreach library associate.

    1. What a lovely idea Sherry and thank you for sharing!
      God bless,

  2. I've read a short story by this author. This is one I must track down.


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