Twenty-five years after her passing, Audrey Hepburn remains the most beloved of all Hollywood stars, known as much for her role as UNICEF ambassador as for films like Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany's. Several biographies have chronicled her stardom, but none has covered her intense experiences through five years of Nazi occupation in the Netherlands. According to her son, Luca Dotti, "The war made my mother who she was."
Audrey Hepburn's war included participation in the Dutch Resistance, working as a doctor's assistant during the "Bridge Too Far" battle of Arnhem, the brutal execution of her uncle, and the ordeal of the Hunger Winter of 1944. She also had to contend with the fact that her father was a Nazi agent and her mother was pro-Nazi for the first two years of the occupation. But the war years also brought triumphs as Audrey became Arnhem's most famous young ballerina.
Audrey's own reminiscences, new interviews with people who knew her in the war, wartime diaries, and research in classified Dutch archives shed light on the riveting, untold story of Audrey Hepburn under fire in World War II.
Also included is a section of color and black-and-white photos. Many of these images are from Audrey's personal collection and are published here for the first time.
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About the Author
Robert Matzen is the award-winning author of Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe, Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3, and five other books. He has appeared on national broadcast programs and his byline has appeared in the Wall Street Journal among other publications. Luca Dotti is the younger son of Audrey Hepburn and New York Times bestselling author of Audrey at Home. He is a former graphic designer and now chairs the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund. Created by Audrey's family in 1994, the Fund helps children in need around the world.
Read an Excerpt
Baroness Ella van Heemstra stood in the office of Adolf Hitler and offered her hand to the most famous man in the world, the man whose name was on simply everyone's lips. Hitler's deep blue eyes could have bored through her, such was their power. He was so pale, so composed as he smiled that enigmatic smile, full of humility, the one seen so often in newsreels flickering on screens around the world. He reached out his hand and accepted hers lightly. Then, with a gesture born of generations and centuries of European tradition, he bowed and touched his lips to her skin. Ella had often heard the touch of this man described as an electric shock, yet here she was, standing in the Fuhrer's office in National Socialist German Workers Party headquarters, better known as the Braunes Haus, in Munich, Germany. She had dropped off her two sons and little daughter in the Dutch resort village of Oosterbeek so that she and her husband could come here for what promised to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
How many women would have signed away their lives for this moment, their very lives, but the baroness had earned this audience thanks to a column she had written in The Blackshirt, the weekly newspaper of the British Union of Fascists, extolling the virtues of Hitler and his British disciple in National Socialism, Sir Oswald Mosley.
It didn't hurt that Ella's dear friends in her English social class also admired the great man. British journalist Micky Burn of the Gloucester Citizen had fallen under the Fuhrer's spell — the Fuhrer signed a copy of his book Mein Kampf for a breathless Burn. Unity Mitford of the Swinbrook Mitfords was mad for Hitler and had become his latest pet. Unity had introduced her elegant sister Diana, and now both women were smitten. A third Mitford, Pamela, was now running in the pack, but she just seemed bemused by the whole business.
Of course, Hitler had his reasons for courting the English and sought to embrace Britain's subjects at every opportunity. Unity told of a time when the British national anthem came up, and the Fuhrer "whistled it all the way through." So yes, he admired all things English, including women, and embracing the charming Mitfords, the so-called "scandal sisters," was no chore for the great man. What did he see in Ella van Heemstra now? A way inside the upper strata of Dutch society? Perhaps, but it didn't matter, because Ella was here and determined to enjoy this moment to the fullest. She hoped His Excellency didn't mind her lip rouge and powder — he was notorious for loathing women who wore them — but he paid no notice of the paints and powders on his foreign guests at this moment. He aimed a pleasantry at Ella, and she responded in flawless German.
Ella's husband, Joseph Ruston, and Unity Mitford were standing at her side; Ella's hand was in Hitler's. The Fuhrer was so gallant and so pleasant, with those arresting blue eyes and such a nice face. Dear God, how heady these times were, Germany reborn and lighting the way for all of Europe after the devastation of the worldwide Great Depression. Fascism held the answer for mankind. Fascism shone the light for those wise enough to see. Fascism had brought Germany back to full employment in a matter of a few years, proving its ideals more powerful and unstoppable than economic cataclysm. Blood-red flags with the fascist crest flew everywhere in Munich; banners of fire hung from every building and crosspiece. The narrow streets of the ancient city pulsed with energy as if arteries in a stirring beast.
The enchantment of all she saw and everyone she met beckoned Ella back to Germany from her home in Belgium later that year in September; once more she parked her children in Oosterbeek so she could attend the annual Nazi Party Congress, the Reichsparteitag, in Nuremberg. She had seen images from the 1934 event shining in glorious silver thanks to Leni Riefenstahl's 1935 film Triumph des Willen, and now Ella vowed to witness it in person. Imagine a city already at a half million bulging with as many guests. Hotels filled too quickly, and all those that could not find indoor rooms or accommodations in the nine open-air tent camps were placed in commandeered factories, churches, and schools. Here the infatuated Ella became immersed in a full week of Fascist activities, from the pealing of the city's church bells to a performance of Richard Wagner's Die Meistersinger to meeting after meeting and speech after speech. She witnessed the Fuhrer's review of his Hitler Youth at sprawling Zeppelin Field, the Nuremberg stadium, as he addressed 60,000 perfectly uniformed, precisely aligned young men. He told them, his voice booming from speakers: "You must learn to suffer privation without crumbling once. Whatever we create today, whatever we do, we will die, but Germany will live on in you. When there is nothing left of us, then you must hold in your fists the flags that we hoisted out of nothing. I know this cannot be otherwise because you are the flesh of our flesh, and the blood of our blood. In your young heads burns the same spirit that rules us."
This 1935 gathering was the Party Congress of Freedom, as in freedom from the restrictions of the horrendous Treaty of Versailles that had ended the Great War sixteen years earlier — and stripped Germany of its wealth, military might, and much of its territory. The Fuhrer paraded his Wehrmacht, his magnificent army, before the quarter million assembled at the stadium. Overhead, German war planes flew so thick that they seemed to blot out the sun, and demonstrations of anti-aircraft fire from cannon manned by calm and able crews boomed in response.
The Reichstag had passed the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor, which forbade marriages and intercourse between Germans and Jews and the employment of German females under the age of forty-five in Jewish households. The Reich Citizenship Law declared that only those of German or related blood were eligible to be Reich citizens; the remainder — including Jews, especially Jews — were classed as state subjects without citizenship rights. Ella had many Jewish friends in Belgium and elsewhere, but Diana Mitford summed it up beautifully quoting her dear friend Putzi Hanfstaengl: "If the Jews don't like it, they can get out. They have relations and money all over the world. Let them leave Germany to us Germans." It was the only instance Ella had for pause in an otherwise positive story, and it was easily reasoned out.
Back in the stadium, Hitler heard the affirmations of his labor force and consecrated those of the party killed in the 1923 armed Nazi uprising known as the Beer Hall Putsch, when sixteen party members were gunned down on a Munich street. It was a moving display of love, remembrance, and most of all, power. Ella felt deep in her bones that in the not-too-distant future, she would be part of a Europe united under Adolf Hitler, the man who had generated all this out of the force of his will and ended the hopelessness of Germany in the decade and a half after the Great War.
On the final day of the Reichsparteitag, Zeppelin Field bulged with more than 300,000 people, with hundreds of flags rippling in the breeze, planes flying over, tanks rolling through, drums pounding, and bands playing; the seats seemed to vibrate from the high black boots of the Fuhrer's massed troops as they goose-stepped past. The banners, black and white swastikas inset in red, streamed past as if a river of blood. So red it hurt the eyes. The tinkling of Schellenbaum, the belltree staff carried in front of some army units, sent pure silver tones soaring high above the dull thuds of the drums and boots.
Finally, Hitler spoke and laid his soul bare speaking about his love for Germany and his hopes and dreams for the future. He pointed outthat the world's problems centered around the Jews who had manipulated nations into the Great War, which had culminated in the defeat of Germany and then the Great Depression. The Parteitag concluded with a tattoo, a stirring, masculine presentation by the drum corps, and then Hitler climbed into a touring car and was driven all the way around the inside of the stadium to be worshiped by the throngs.
With the Party Congress concluded, Ella ventured back to Munich to bask in Hitler's presence at, among other places, his favorite restaurant, the Osteria Bavaria, and passed her time with Unity Mitford, Unity's SS boyfriend Erich Widmann, and Citizen reporter Micky Burn. Unity was so incredibly territorial over Hitler that she kept the others at bay so she could have the Fuhrer all to herself, but Ella didn't need the great man's attention; she had already met him, and she returned home to Belgium where she took pen in hand.
Wrote Ella: "What struck me most forcibly among the million and one impressions I received there were: (a) the wonderful fitness of every man and woman one saw, on parades or in the street; and (b) the refreshing atmosphere around one, the absolute freedom from any form of mental pressure or depression."
Ella's words would boom in Sir Oswald's National Socialist newsletter, Action, as she concluded: "Well may Adolf Hitler be proud of the rebirth of this great country and of the rejuvenation of the German spirit. The Germany of today is a most present country, and the Germans, under Nazi rule, a splendid example to the white races of the world — a mighty people, upright and proud, as indeed, they have every right to be." And to these stirring words she affixed the Belgian version of her name, Baroness Ella de Heemstra, Brussels.CHAPTER 2
The Blood of Frisia
Audrey Kathleen van Heemstra Ruston, future shining Hollywood star, entered the world under a different kind of star, a dark one, on 4 May 1929. Her mother, Ella, Baroness van Heemstra, was a strong-willed, plain-speaking, high-spirited colt of a woman who at age twenty-eight still felt the need to sow wild oats, despite the fact she was now the mother of three, counting sons Alexander and Ian from her first marriage. In Ella's veins — in the veins of all the van Heemstras — raced Frisian blood. Frisia, known as Friesland to the Dutch, is a unique province in the far north of the Netherlands. Even today many Frisians bristle at being referred to as Dutch at all — they're too unique and independent for such a common classification.
That Audrey Hepburn should one day become an accomplished personage known around the world isn't surprising considering her bloodlines among Frisian nobility. The first Frisian van Heemstra found in records came long before William of Orange, under whose reign the Netherlands coalesced. Van Heemstras were recognized as nobility from the beginning, from the Middle Ages, and the title of baron was granted officially in 1814 to Willem Hendrik van Heemstra, whose son Schelto, Baron van Heemstra, represented Friesland in the Dutch House of Representatives before becoming prime minister of the Netherlands in 1861. Another son, Frans, Baron van Heemstra, also served in the House of Representatives. Frans' son W.H.J., Baron van Heemstra, had two sons, one of whom was Aarnoud Jan Anne Aleid — or A.J.A.A., Baron van Heemstra — father of Ella along with four other daughters and a son. This baron was Audrey's grandfather, or opa, as the position is known in Dutch.
By 1900 van Heemstra had become a family name of national honor in Holland. The path to wealth for Dutchmen cut through the East Indies, but Aarnoud went his own way and obtained a doctorate of law in 1896, the same year he married Elbrig Willemina Henriette, Baroness van Asbeck. Aarnoud set up practice as a prosecuting attorney and then became a judge in the prosperous city of Arnhem on the Rhine, capital of the province of Gelderland, forty miles west of the German border. As he pursued his practice, the Baroness van Asbeck produced babies — Wilhelmina Cornelia (1897), Geraldine Caroline (1898), Ella (1900), Marianne Jacqueline (1903), Willem Hendrik (1907), and Arnoudina Johanna (1911). By now the father of six had become burgemeester, or mayor, of Arnhem, a position he held for ten years until 1920. The family lived in a beautiful villa beside the Lauwersgracht, a lake that was all that remained of a moat that once encircled the ancient walled city of Arnhem. Now the lake belonged to the Park Musis Sacrum in the city center, the most picturesque spot in all of Arnhem. The van Heemstra home was one of three in the "Paadje van Bleckmann," villas owned by a wealthy local family named Bleckmann. Another of these villas, known as de Nijenburgh, was occupied by Cornelia, Countess van Limburg Stirum. The baron's daughter Wilhelmina married the countess's nephew, Otto Ernst Gelder, Count van Limburg Stirum, in 1918, meaning that the van Heemstra family presence was both strong and close in Arnhem Centraal, overlooking the Rhine. In another twenty-six years these three grand villas of the van Heemstra and van Limburg Stirum families would be soaked in blood and destroyed in the most romanticized battle of the Second World War.
Under Burgemeester van Heemstra's direction, Arnhem prospered. The land development association Nederlandsche Heidemaatschappij chose the city for its headquarters, the soon-to-be-famous Openlucht Museum and Burgers' Zoo were established, and affordable housing became prevalent.
In March 1920 Aarnoud gave his daughter Ella's hand in marriage to Hendrik Gustaaf Adolf Quarles van Ufford of Oosterbeek, the next town over. Hendrik was a former horse cavalryman and now an oil executive assigned to the Dutch East Indies. After the nuptials the couple set sail for the Far East to begin a new life together. Later that same year Burgemeester van Heemstra, who was something of a penny-pincher, suddenly relinquished his office in a squabble with the city over money. He stated that "the meager salary does not allow me to continue to do my job properly." He returned to law but not for long. The Netherlands' Queen Wilhelmina of the House of Oranje appointed Aarnoud to be governor of the Dutch territory of Suriname on the northeast coast of South America, so the baron, baroness, and three of the van Heemstra children set sail for what would become a tumultuous eight years in the far-flung Suriname capital, Paramaribo.
Aarnoud was a charismatic aristocrat. Ella described her father as "about the most handsome man I ever saw. They say he is brilliantly clever. He forms his witty remarks in a French way. On Sundays he looks subdued but bubbling over with mischief. His teeth look very white behind a small black moustache."
The new governor of Suriname had spent his life among northern Europeans and now had to deal with a South American melting pot that included native Indians and escaped slaves, called Maroons, who had formed their own independent villages in the abundant rain forests of the interior. Administering this wild area meant keeping bauxite mines producing aluminum and also ensuring the stability of rice and banana crops, and all three required lots of muscle from either free men or indentured servants. Prior governors had been figureheads, but not Governor van Heemstra, who undertook several expeditions deep into the interior — places where white Europeans rarely were seen. He took an active interest because the baron was a visionary who saw the economic potential of Suriname. He pushed hard for financial independence at the expense of a Netherlands government that he correctly labeled as disinterested in this "unimportant" piece of real estate — the real money was to be made in thriving Dutch East Indies enterprises that produced coffee, tea, cacao, tobacco, and rubber.
Governor van Heemstra remained a progressive who worked tirelessly on behalf of his colony. His work ethic would be seen a generation later in his young granddaughter. In 1922 van Heemstra welcomed the Aluminum Company of America, better known as Alcoa, into the Moengo forest to mine bauxite. But the honeymoon between the governor and Alcoa was short-lived: He realized almost at once that danger lurked in this U.S. company monopolizing Suriname resources.
In 1924 he traveled to Germany to negotiate with the Stinnes group, a powerful mining conglomerate. His goal was to interest the Germans in bauxite mining in the colony, figuring a second company on hand would check the aggressive Americans. But the Dutch government feared that once the equally bold and enterprising Germans got in, they might try a total takeover, and so van Heemstra was ordered to break off contact.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Dutch Girl"
Copyright © 2019 Robert Matzen.
Excerpted by permission of Paladin Communications.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part I Cauldron
1 Rapture 1
2 The Blood of Frisia 6
3 Exile 18
4 Edda 27
5 The Unthinkable 43
6 Dancer 48
Part II Long Live Oranje!
7 Pencil Scratches 61
8 Unacceptable 65
9 Born For the Spotlight 74
10 Death Candidate 83
11 Paranoid 97
12 The Secret 105
Part III Resistance
13 Soul Sister 119
14 Just Dutchmen 126
15 Warmest Praise 131
16 Black Evenings 143
17 Het Vaderland 150
18 If, If, If 156
19 The Hun on the Run 159
Part IV The Liberators
20 The Netherlands in Five Days 165
21 Ultimatum 169
22 The Devil's Picnic 175
23 Cakewalk 184
24 Aflame 193
25 Champagne For One 201
Part V Toys
26 The Princess 217
27 Hunters 221
28 The Magic Stamp 227
29 Streaking Evil 236
30 Peace on Earth. Yeah, Right. 243
Part VI Pursued
31 A Tree 253
32 The Race 257
33 Gates of Hell 268
34 First Cigarette 277
35 Sorting 283
36 Crossroads 289
37 Completely Nuts 297
38 Peace 304
Chapter Notes 321
Selected Bibliography 362
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am a history buff and love old Hollywood, so I enjoyed this book. The research that was done to put this book together was extensive. It is very detailed and so very interesting. Audrey Hepburn was shaped by the events of her childhood and WWII. As a teen in German occupied Netherlands, she learns the greatest of life lessons that she carries with her throughout her life. As her son points out in the foreword, this is the Audrey Hepburn he knew growing up. She lived with this as her guide rather than allowing Hollywood to change her. *I was provided a copy of this book by NetGalley for an honest review. All thoughts on this book are my own*
Heart breaking story about a beautiful girl growing up in the Netherlands during Nazi occupation. The perseverance of the Dutch is truly remarkable. Makes me appreciate the USA & freedom.
What a beautiful story about a super great lady
At its most basic, the Dutch Girl is the story of a Belgium born, girl named Adriaantje, later she would become Audrey Hepburn. The book recounts the events which shaped Audrey Hepburn's life during her formative years. From her early childhood in Belgium to her education in England then to the Netherlands where Audrey continued her education but found that it was dance that most interested her and she excelled in it. She took lessons not far from her home in the Velp - Arnhem area where she lived with her brothers and mother, Ella. She began to perform at various venues through-out her neighboring communities. The bulk of this book, however, is WWII . Ella was a Nazi sympathizer and somewhat infatuated with Hitler. When Nazi personnel work their way into the Netherlands, Ella welcomes them with open arms but things soon turn sour when the Velp - Arnhem region becomes their main area of command. If the reader is not familiar with the the affects of WWII in this area, he or she will find this book enlighteining as well as horrifying . Also of interest, of course, was the lasting impact the war had on Audrey. She was struck by the imprisonment and assasination of her Uncle and the diary of a young girl, very similar to her in age, named Anne Frank. Author, Matzen has written a wonderful portrayal of a much loved actress. Many readers who have enjoyed her as an actress may not have known just how much she had lived through during the years of World War II. Thank you NetGalley, Good Knight Publishing and the author for an Advance e-ARC of this book.
"Dutch girl" is an untold true war story of the cinematic icon Audrey Hepburn. This is a definite biography result of an intense research by the author Robert Matzen: it covers Audrey's family history (wealthy van Heemstra) and its involvement with the fascism/nazism in Europe, from her complicated childhood to becoming the famous actress, fashion icon and humanitarians that she is popularly known. Born in Belgium, raised in England and being a Dutch girl, Audrey struggled a lot with her identity. Then you follow her ballerina career and her constant conflicts while emerging as a Hollywood success but at the same time, in the middle of politics of war (WWII). Through a dense writing, the author shows us actual facts beyond her superficial glamour: I found utterly interesting her special bond with Frank's family, her devoted life as a UNICEF ambassador to help those in need in war-torn territories and her active role in the Dutch Resistance. There are rich and detailed facts that you discover from Audrey Hepburn and it was engaging reading her life (and feelings) during the war. In addition, never-before-seen photographs and documents are provided in this title to illustrate this biography. I found the many names quite confusing in some parts of the book, however they are essential to comprehend Audrey's relatives origin. "Dutch girl" is a deep look into Audrey Hepburn's life and it is a biography to digest even after reading it. [I received an ARC from GoodKnight Books in exchange for an honest review]
I gave this book 5 stars. I have admired Audrey Hepburn since I was a young girl. She was a great humanitarian and outstanding actress. Her life story was tragic, but had moments of great joy. She had a will of iron and the ability to focus on the important events she was confronted with.
Fascinating subject about a horrible time in history. An easy read but a horror story. Audrey Hepburn was a remarkable woman and The Dutch Girl gives the reader an incite into the terrible times that shaped her character for the rest of her beautiful life. A must read for history buffs and Hepburn fans alike.
People probably like this book will probably be more interested in World War II than Audrey Hepburn. Audrey Hepburn lived through and experienced major episodes of World War II which ended when she was fifteen. However, the book needed to make a better connection Audrey Hepburn's childhood and her adult. Also, the book has a more information about Holland and World War II than is strictly needed for a book that is mainly about Audrey Hepburn. Audrey Hepburn lived through some of the major incidents of World War II. Both her parents were early supporters of Hitler and Fascism (her mother continue to support the Germans two years into Germany's occupation of Holland). Her father left her when she was a small child. Audrey Hepburn's mother brought Audrey Hepburn back to Holland at the beginning of World War II believing that Holland would be safe from the Germans. Some of Audrey Hepburn's early education in ballet and theatre was helped because her mother was friendly with the Germans. In about 1942, two years into the German Occupation of Holland, Audrey Hepburn's mother seems to have changed and at least not actively helped the Germans. Audrey Hepburn had an uncle that was shot by the Germans. Her family lived in Velp which saw some of the most intense fighting during the war. The area also experienced severe hunger. Audrey Hepburn and her family helped both the British and the Dutch resistance. The area had many hidden Jews.. The book barely touches on Audrey Hepburn's later life. One would be interested to find a more direct connection between Audrey Hepburn's later life and her war experiences. The more interesting parts of the book are about Audrey Hepburn's mother worked with the Nazi’s until 1942. Her mother was on some Dutch watch lists for being pro-Nazi. My mother fled Nazi Germany so I know that anyone who had what appeared to be voluntary Nazi sympathies could be intensely hated by victims of the Nazis. Audrey Hepburn's mother seem to have a talent for being able to reinvent herself and could hide her Nazi past. Audrey Hepburn seems to have taken some care to hide her mother's Nazi sympathies. Also, Audrey Hepburn herself had to keep quiet that some of her performances that she when she was ten to twelve were done with German sponsorship when she gave talked about her childhood in Holland. It would have been helpful to know how Audrey Hepburn's war experiences affected her adult life. The author seems to assume that people have in depth knowledge about Audrey Hepburn’s later acting career and about her humanitarian activities which many people nowadays don’t have. Again, this book more a book about people interested in World War II than Audrey Hepburn the movie star. I received a free copy of this book from Negalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book is about Hepburn’s early years in Europe during the war. It has a foreword by her youngest son Luca Dotta. She had always been very introverted, a quiet, shy girl. Probably more so after her parents split and her father wasn’t around anymore. but the ballet lessons she loved so much finally helped her become more expressive outwardly. Her mother, Baroness Ella Van Heemstra was very pro-German before the war began and had met Hitler a couple of times during their many travels. But then Audrey’s father had walked out when she was 6. They were both taking it hard but Audrey was really worried about her mother. Elle put Audrey in a school and found her some ballet classes in London, but when war became imminent her mother had her brought to the always previously neutral Netherlands to live. It was hard for Audrey because she didn’t speak the language there and so didn’t understand a word of what they were saying at school. The only thing that made it bearable for her was that her mother was able to get her into ballet classes again. She grew up as Adriaantje (little Audrey) Van Heemstra, but after the Germans moved in she became known as the English-sounding Audrey Hepburn-Ruston. Ella is good at organizing events, especially if it will be something that will offer a chance to show her daughter’s talent. But she’s lacking in showing warm feelings to Audrey, who is so needing them. Audrey can’t understand why Ella is still friendly with the Germans, who are being so cruel to their Jewish friends. Though, as time goes on and her mother can no longer ignore what’s going on, she does stop socializing with them, etc. But this will cause problems for Audrey throughout the rest of her life. About halfway through the book, near the end of the war, it begins speaking from Audrey’s later perspective, done in italics, where she returns to the Netherlands and reminisces about the war, married and a star. This appears off and on through the book. It’s well researched and reads well. This is for those interested in the old star biographies, and WWII.
Audrey Hepburn has always been one of my favorite actress of all time, so I was very eager to read this biographical account of her life after the German invasion and the subsequent course of Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during WWll. She was ten when the war began and 15 when it ended. Her son Luca Dotti wrote the Foreword to this book thanking the author for writing the book. The book is well researched and gives a vivid insight into the personal tragic experiences, near starvation and other horrors she and her family went through during the war. Yet, they were resilient and courageous and were involved with the Dutch Resistance. Audrey became very involved in dance and ballet. She participated in ballet performances in order to help raise money for the Dutch resistance. I highly recommend this book.
war-is-hell, world-war-ll, The Netherlands, ballerina, UNESCO ***** Who knows more about children's troubles living in a country visited by war than a girl who lived in England and then was summarily moved to the Netherlands not long before it was occupied by the Nazis. Her later accomplishments allowed her to make a difference through UNESCO, but that frightened girl remained inside her forever. This biographer had some real advantages in being vetted by Audrey's son and also being able to have someone able to access classified documents in the Netherlands. At first the book spends an inordinate amount of time lauding her mother and later details some aspects of the War in Europe in excruciating military detail. However, even if the reader only reads half the book and skims whatever doesn't suit, it is worth the full retail price. I requested and received a free ebook copy from Smith Publicity via NetGalley. Thank you!
One of the best biographies I've read in a long time. This beautifully researched and written book chronicles the early life of actress/dancer Audrey Hepburn in the Netherlands in World War II. Though she spent some of her early years in England, she returned to Velp and Arnhem in the Netherlands right before the German occupation. Towards the end of the war, Audrey and three relatives took refuge in the cellar as one of the last major battles of the war raged right above them. "Dutch Girl," in one sense, is a tale of one small Dutch town's experiences during the Nazi occupation. Historians and those who enjoy historical case studies will find this book riveting. The fact that the "main character" of the book turns out to be an A-list Hollywood actress is almost an aside. Nevertheless, the book insightfully shows how war affects children and young people for the rest of their lives - emotionally, psychologically, and physically.
While this book give in depth details of Audrey Hepburn during World War 2 it also tells of the Netherlands during the invasion of the Germans and Nazi Rule. Interesting to read how Audrey was influenced by the war. Well researched and documented about a sad part of history. I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the publisher and am voluntarily reviewing it.
Minka Kent brings us an interesting and exciting tale told in the first person, alternating chapters, by 34-year-old Nicolette, wife of photographic artist Brant Gideon, and Wren, oldest of three girls being raised in upstate New York off the grid and in very primitive conditions by a single mother. Time is pretty modern, Wren is 20, Sage 18, and Evie is 9. None of the girls can remember even going to town. Their whole world is the homestead they inhabit, the goats and chickens that provide them with eggs, milk, butter and cheese, and the unseen man who meets their mother in the woods with the occasional order of supplies. Until Evie becomes dangerously ill with a soaring temperature and difficulty breathing. Mama bundles her up and heads into the late night woods, looking for help. Sixty-three days later, Mama and Evie have still not returned. Food is running out, the chickens are dying and winter is just weeks away. And with the first light snow comes a strange man looking for their mother. His is big, mean, and dangerous - that man Mama has always warned them about, wandering in from that wicked world she has always protected them from. Wren sprinkles ground up sleeping herbs on his serving of the baby goat he killed and made her cook, and while he is passed out she and Sage take his well-equipped backpack and escape. The only problem is where can they escape too? Neither can ever remember leaving the clearing the cabin is centered in. Luckily the first place they come across is that of Nicolette. And Nicolette, motherless since an emergency hysterectomy when she was 25 and home alone since her husband is off on a photo shoot in South America, has been getting set up to become a foster parent to needy kids. Wren and Sage in their threadbare homemade nightgowns and hunger-induced thinness with no knowledge of electricity or indoor plumbing or kitchen appliances very much qualify as needy. All three of them very much need each other. But where is their mother? And where can Evie be? I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Minka Kent, and Thomas & Mercer. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have voluntarily read and reviewed this novel. This is my honest opinion of this work. pub date April 9, 2019, are a lot of us Americans who think we know poverty, we understand hunger, appreciate that life is hard and sometimes barren. Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II is a reality check for even those of us with memories of a rough childhood. Most history's and historical novels don't more than touch on the effects of the Second World War on Holland. This biography by Robert Matzen brings to life the world of young wartorn Audrey, that remarkable actress of Sabrina and Breakfast at Tiffany's fame, that gamine face on the big screen that we feel like we know and love. After you finish this book, you will have to watch those old films again and know that you really do love that pretty smile and honor the memory of that girl. I received a free electronic copy of this biography from Netgalley. Robert Matzen, and GoodKnight Books. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have voluntarily read and reviewed this book. This is my honest opinion of this work.