Winter in Wartime


Winter in Wartime is set in the final months of the Second World War, in occupied Holland. The village where 16 year-old Michiel lives with his family is still under Nazi control.  The Nazis’ behaviour is ever more brutal and reckless. Acts of resistance frequently bring execution. Michiel’s father is the village Mayor, so he thinks his family is safer than most.  When he is asked to take care of a wounded British Spitfire pilot he doesn’t hesitate to help.

When an act of murderous revenge takes place in the village, Michiel’s life is changed forever.  He joins the secret struggle against the Nazis, working every day to end the occupation and protect those in danger from it.  But he comes to suspect that there are spies and traitors in the village, undermining the cause of the resistance.  As Michiel becomes ever more involved, he knows that one loose word could cost him his life.

This is a classic of the Second World War, now translated from the original Dutch for the first time.  The climate of fear and suspicion is rendered perfectly and the episodic style draws the reader along towards the exciting climax.

Winter in Wartime is a thrilling, powerful and inspiring adventure story, based on the author’s own experiences as a child in Nazi-occupied Holland.

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Winter in Wartime

Jan Terlouw

(Pushkin Press)

Winter in Wartime is a gripping adventure story about one boy’s experience in the secret resistance in Nazi-occupied Holland.
In the winter of 1944-45, Holland has been at war since Michiel was eleven. He’s now sixteen, and his village is under Nazi occupation. No longer at school, Michiel spends his days running urgent errands and avoiding the German occupiers. He is asked by a member of the resistance to help care for a wounded British pilot. An act of brutal revenge following the death of a German soldier makes Michiel’s life even more fraught with danger. Furthermore, Michiel suspects that there are traitors in the village.
Winter in Wartime is considered a classic in Holland. It has never been out of print since being first published 50 years ago. Now translated into English for the first time, it is highly recommended. The anguish of Michiel’s experience is never shied from and underscores the ultimate anti-war tenor of the novel.
Similar themes are explored in The Button War and The War That Saved My Life, also available in the Bookwagon shop.


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