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Book Review: Resist - Moving, Engaging and Utterly Absorbing.

Updated: Sep 5, 2022

Written by: Tom Palmer

Published by: Barrington Stoke

Historical Setting: World War 2

Recommended reading age: 10+

Edda is fifteen. She’s lived a seemingly happy life, attending boarding school in England, and spending vacation time visiting with her family in the Netherlands. However, the outbreak of the Second World War changes everything, and she finds herself called home just before the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands begins. Tom Palmer’s latest, ‘Resist’, plays out the dramatic tale of a young girl set on doing everything she can to undermine the German war effort. It’s an involving and tense narrative, made all the more intriguing by the fact it’s based upon the true story of the actress Audrey Hepburn.

Throughout the novel, the brutal reality of the war’s effect on the Netherlands is presented with compassion and consideration. Audrey, her mother a Dutch baroness, while her father was of British and Austrian descent, has to be called Edda for fear of being singled out by the Nazis. It is perhaps those links that lead to the earliest shock in ‘Resist’; her mother is listed on resistance pamphlets as ‘not to be trusted’. With that in mind Edda seeks to ensure that her mother, and her family, are seen to be fighting the Nazi occupation wherever possible. This leads to Edda undertaking a series of increasingly dangerous tasks for the local resistance, hoping to keep her family safe, while fighting for her country’s liberation.

I have to admit that my broader knowledge of the Nazi occupation of Europe has the obvious UK-centric base of a British education. The length - virtually the entirety of the war from 1940 to 1945 - and the timing of the events in the Netherlands, are facts that I simply wasn’t aware of, and ‘Resist’ serves as a perfect primer for those looking to gain a further understanding of the German war machine’s impact beyond the frontlines.

It's obvious, as with his early books like ‘After the War’ and ‘Armistice Runner’, that Palmer has heavily researched the events that transpired in the Netherlands throughout this period, and every word carries the weight of authenticity with it. With historical events as a backbone, Palmer’s writing is taut and precise, maintaining an impressive sense of pace that whisks you through Edda’s story. I barely put the book down in my desire to discover the fate of her and her family.

Tom Palmer has captured the sensation of a nation’s oppression in stark relief, and while this is a book aimed at a younger audience it still presents the fear, starvation and moment-to-moment danger of the Nazi occupation with searing clarity. You can’t help but read of Edda’s exploits without your heart attempting to somersault its way out of your chest, and I regularly found myself clutching at the pages waiting for some awful event to take a further toll on her or her family. It’s moving, engaging and utterly absorbing.

‘Resist’ is a phenomenal piece of storytelling from Tom Palmer, furthering his position as one of the most vital writers in children’s literature.

A big thank you to Tom Palmer for providing us with a review copy of 'Resist'.

'Resist' will be published 4th August 2022.


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